Retro is a word we use in today’s society to describe something that is old and no longer part of today’s standard but is still considered cool. Video gaming is one of those categories that consider the oldies as still very much goodies. Perhaps the most iconic video game system that has ever graced our geeky childhoods was none other than the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES for short.
Before the NES was created, video game systems were hard to obtain due to cost and the graphics were…well…basically your character was like a dot. The colors were flat and so was the gameplay. The game art on the box made every game look epic, even circus Atari. This, however, was not the case for every game (no pun intended). The NES greatly improved on the limited graphics of systems like Atari 2600 or Intellivision, making a more entertaining, fluid, and visually appealing game. The NES started on solid ground with one of my all-time favorite video games, and a game that has not only stood the test of time, but has launched a franchise that still lives to this day, Super Mario Bros. If it weren’t for the Super Mario Bros. and the NES, I am almost positive video games would have never made it this long and I would not be sitting here talking to the masses about being a gaming geek.
It was 1988, my first Christmas, when my family purchased the NES. The massive box came with the NES, two controllers, a gun, a run mat, and a cartridge containing the games Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and World-Class Track Meet. My earliest memories playing the NES were with my older brother in the basement playing Mario Bros. 3 and being afraid of the ghosts that chased you. The castle in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade also freaked me out. It was lucky my brother was there to complete these parts of the games or else it would have been game over for me. The NES not only provided some great games, it also brought my brother and I together. It bridged the 10 year gap between us and we always joked that we were the Mario Bros.
Since the NES’ time, gaming has made amazing strides that I still can’t believe. The realness of a video game was only a pipe dream (yet another unintended pun) back in the early 90’s. Gaming has changed for the better, and worse. For the pluses more and more people are getting into video gaming because of the entertainment value they provide and the realness makes you feel like you are participating in a movie. The one downside of today’s gaming that really gets me is that my brother who I look up to still to this day, and showed me the way of video gaming, can no longer play them because of headaches related with motion sickness. This is perhaps why the NES will always hold a special place for me. It was the first system that I ever played and it was one of only 3 that I was able to play with my brother where we were on an equal gaming level.
Once a week I will be picking one iconic video game from gaming’s history and doing a personal review on it both on the front of gameplay and entertainment value. I will be starting with my favorite NES games. Some titles to look forward to are Super Mario Bros 1, 2, and 3, The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, Metroid, and many others.