Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Video Game Memories Pt. 1: Third Generation (8 bit Era)


The NES is the only system I owned during the third gen, and atlhough I did play some SEGA Master System at a friend's house a few times, my only real memories of that are some shitty 3D games (with the old school red and blue glasses) and some hidden game built into the system memory.

Anyways, the Nintendo Entertainment System, aka NES, was released in North America in February 1986. My brother and I received our on Christmas, a day I still fondly recall. The NES has provided me with innumerable memories, some of which I will detail here.

So, the memories:

Playing My First Video Game

The screen that launched a lifelong hobby. What more can be said? My first video game ended up being one of the best damn games ever made, and the joy I felt upon immersing myself in that colourful world is something that I'll never be able to replicate in my gaming life ever again (although playing the demo for Ninja Gaiden on the xbox was a damn close second).

The moment that spawned a lifetime of enjoyment.

My 1st Murder Simulator

Forget Manhunt, what about Duck Hunt? This shit was brutal. Just look at that poor duck! Here I am, 5 years old, and I'm wielding a gun, shooting at shit. I was corrupted, never to be the same.

Spending All Damn Weekend Playing Double Dragon III With My Bro


We spent a year playing this shit, all damn weekend. Think we ever beat it? Nope. Came damn close, but never could finish it. Damn hard game. Still an all time favourite. The spin kick and hair toss/guillotine throw are still the two most innovative moves in a beat em up (given the time) and the game is hard as fuck.

Pure badass.

Learning Life Lessons from Blades of Steel?

Here's the scoop: in Blades of Steel, when a fight breaks out, or rather, comes to an end, it's not both players that are sent to the penalty box. Oh no. The loser gets sent to the penalty box, while the winner gets to skate onward, now in possession of the puck.

What the fuck?

The game warped my fragile little mind, but taught me a valuable lesson:

Life is not fair.

Awesome. One of the best hockey games of all time (yes, to this day) and it teaches life lessons as well. How awesome is a game that kicks ass and waxes philosophical at the same time? How many of your newfangled FPS games can make that claim?

The Birth of a Passion


You knew this was going to be on here.

The thing is though, while my passion started with Ninja Gaiden, as one would expect, I actually spent most of my initial Ninja Gaiden time due to a screwup on the part of my well meaning (yes, they were nice at one point in time....even my mother, but let's not go there) parents.

Still though, the passion did begin with the original.

This is how it all went down:

One fateful day, our cousins from out of town came down and they brought a few NES games to our house. They brought some cool horizontal shmup which had you piloting a red helicopter (the name of which escpaes me atm but I think it was Iron something....I am actually going to google that when I am done writing this, but I digress) and a little ol' game entitled Ninja Gaiden.


You were a badass ninja who could climb, jump between, and cling to walls, the music and graphics were badass, there were freaking cutscenes (not that I knew they were called that), you had magic powers, and the game was HARD AS NAILS but not due to control issues like so many other games at the time. It controlled AMAZINGLY. I was blown away, and I knew I had to have it. So, after much effort on our part, over an extended period of time, my brother and I finally managed to convince my parents that we needed Ninja Gaiden.

And what happened?

Well, Ninja Gaiden we got. It just wasn't what we had expected....

Accidentally Receiving the Wrong Game As a Present
Which ended up becoming my favourite NES game.

Ya, that's right, TWO pictures. This game deserves it.
Ya, that's right, THREE pictures. Complain and I'll post a fourth!!

So, my parents ventured forth one fateful day while we youngsters were away at school, with visions of shurikens dancing in our heads. To the store they went, and money they spent, in the quest to please their two children. Ninja Gaiden they repeated (is that Gay-den or Guy-den, they wondered), making sure they got the right game. And so, upon spotting the name on the boxart, they picked up the game, finished the transaction, and brought home the new toy, which sat out, awaiting its new owners to arrive home from school. And, much to their delight, when they picked it up and read the name on the cover, the words Ninja Gaiden sat there, staring back at them, delighting them with the promise of devilish fun mixed with insane challenge.

But wait!!

What's this? A II? A II? But.....OH NOES! This is the sequel!

Wait, there's a sequel?!!

"Well, that's coo-but, I mea-.....mayb- it- ya but it'- aahhh....nnoooo....."

Two despairing children were addressed by their probably insulted parents. Just play your game, little ones, comes to the command. And so, with a mixture of excitement and sorrow, we popped in Ninja Gaiden II (which should have been one, damn it!!!) and started it up.....

What can I say that I already haven't said previously?

The game is magic. Absolutely fucking magic. Amazing. Ridiculous. Anything beyond that would just be repeating what I have said elsewhere, so suffice it to say, this was the BEST GIFT RELATED FUCK UP OF ALL TIME.

Starman: Pink and Deadly

Six words: Somersault Kick and Flying Cross Chop.
Tengen Breaks the Law

Tengen is a now defunct video game development studio that is infamous for being very, very bad.

From wikipedia:

Tengen unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with Nintendo for a less restrictive license. Nintendo refused, so in December 1987 Tengen agreed to the standard licensing terms. Meanwhile, Tengen secretly worked to bypass Nintendo's lock-out chip called 10NES that gave it control over which games were published for the NES..........

Tengen turned to the United States Copyright Office. Its lawyers contacted the government office to request a copy of the Nintendo lock-out program, claiming that the company needed it for potential litigation against Nintendo. Once obtained, it used the program to create its own chip that would unlock the NES. When Tengen launched the unlicensed versions of its games, Nintendo immediately sued Tengen for copyright and patent infringement.

Bad, bad, bad, right?


More like good, good, good!

You see, Tegen's bad behaviour gave my brother and I the opportunity to play home versions of the arcade hits Shinobi and After Burner. Sure, they didn't quite compare, but we didn't know that at the time. All we knew was we had two sweet games to play, both of which I occasionally play to this day.

The End 

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