Weekend of April 22, 2022
So how do you follow up a weekend of playing through 17 Atari 2600 games, well by playing through 20 NES games of course. As you probably know from following me on Facebook I’ve been doing a massive effort to get the “Basement” cleaned and organized for my video game collecting as well as some of my other hobbies. Its been a lot of work, but just getting my games re-organized and properly stored has re-invigorated my interest in classic gaming. To be honest the mess and disorganization of my games over the past free years has detracted from my interest in the hobby so I’m happy to be doing this even if it isn’t the most fun.
I decided to leave my original NES set aside for this gaming run, and wanted to use the Retron 5 as that would allow me to play both my NES backlog, and SNES backlog. I’m still having system update issues with the Retron 5 though, which is an interesting this to have happen on a completely offline system. So instead I decided to try out the retro AVS I received as a prize from Rob, the co-host of the Retro Game Club podcast. To say the least the AVS really impressed me, and unlike the Retron 5 I had no emulation issues with this one.
To start off I had 33 NES games in my backlog, but on further review of what I had in my backlog “queue” bin, it turned out I had 34 games, as one snuck through being logged into my backlog spreadsheet. My goal for this weekend was to push through a minimum of 10 NES games, or a maximum of about 15 or nearly half the games in the backlog. Surprisingly, I got through 20 games by Sunday afternoon, but it was no easy task.
One of the biggest reasons I would run behind a bit, was because my youngest son, and occasionally oldest would jump in to play or take over the games, sometimes even with each other. I’m not complaining, actually the contrary, as when I started collecting years ago I did so to help expose my sons to past games, and gaming systems. To see them jump in and play has made it worth it, especially as some of the games were originally made for kids their age to play, not an adult in his 40’s trying to get in touch with his past. It’s made me remember that I need to make the systems and games more accessible to them, so they game enjoy them as much as I do.
So let’s talk about this weekend plays:
This is a kids horror themed game that probably would have made more money and notoriety if it has been labeled as an RL Stien game. It’s fun and keeps you coming back for a challenge, but can also go the opposite way and get old after a while. My oldest picked it up and despite his frustration, had a hard time putting it down. It’s weird but fun.
This was the MGC VIG game and badge for the late 2021 show. Its a modern take on the Mario platformer with a kiddy drawn twist, and even a kids level. It’s a fun little game and my youngest had been waiting to play this one since I bought it home from MGC last year. To say the least once I got the AVS plugged in he was Johnny on the spot, game in hand, to play it. To say the least he loved it and I’m keeping it set aside for him.
Basic simple strategy game set in WWII North Africa. Fun but very simple, although I wasn’t exactly in the mood to play it. Perhaps it will be a “chill and play” thing later down the line.
Fun platformer based on, you guessed it, the Disney film The Rocketeer. Nice styling, and the mood fits with the film nicely. Like with most movie video games, it has a lot of stuff in it that was never in the movie, but you’ve got to fill the game in with something. Great looking game with the AVS’s HD upscaling.
This is an obscure title I picked up at Midwest Gaming Classic. I never heard of it before but had to have. Glad I grabbed it, as it’s a fun and unique puzzle game. You move your little guy around the floor picking up stars and avoiding enemies you can get rid of by crashing into walls.
What a classic, I loved it on the Atari 5200 and just as much on the NES. Classic through and through. Looked just like the arcade with the HD upscaling.
Yes, what better way to celebrate this April 22nd Earth Day, than with the symbol of Earth Day itself, Captain Planet in video game form. From what I’ve played so far it’s a colorful big sprite SHMUP, it’s kid perfect. My youngest and oldest both took a crack at this one, they only got so far but had a blast taking turns playing it.
Another arcade classic that’s great on the NES. Both my sons played two player on this and had a blast. although it did kick up a bit of rivalry.
This is the one that started the Dragon Quest franchise. It was also the RPG that introduced fighting “Slimes” to grind up experience points, with slimes now being a common base enemy for grinding in a lot of other RPG as well as quest type animes and mangas. Game wise it’s very similar to the Legend of Zelda franchise on NES, with the top down view, overworlds, and dungeon levels. The feel however, is different enough from Zelda to give you some idea as to why this launched a franchise. I myself would have played this one and put it to the side, but my youngest son jumped in and began playing, and was at it for a few hours after. So obviously this game does have appeal, especially to those who are in the same age grouping as the originally targeted audience.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this game, but damn it’s hard to get into especially if you have a headache. I’ve also heard this is a good one to play if you plan on having something you want to just chill and play all night. Sadly, I’m not in that mindset today. My youngest again took an interest, and played it for a while although often going in circles. I will remark that it’s a very forgiving game and if you do something wrong you can get back to where you made your mistake fairly easily, or even restart at after dying. I can see this one will be a long play though, and require a few walkthroughs.
This is part of the Skate or Die series which was ported from arcade to numerous consoles like the NES. It’s fun and pretty intuitive to play, but better skateboarding games existed at the time, and this one is a rather simple in comparison to those. I have some of the other titles in this franchise I’m playing next.
Skate or Die
As I was just saying. This is one of the skating games better than 720, and more complex in gameplay and replayability. If you just want a skating game you can jump into right away 720 is still it, but Skate or Die takes it to another level, however it lacks 720 simple intuitiveness in control. Overall, I think the lack of intuitiveness made this game harder to play than 720, better in content, but harder to play.
Ski or Die
The snow addition to the franchise is actually pretty fun. It’s semi -ntuitive which is an improvement on Skate or Die. It has a lot of fun levels like the snow tubing, and snow ball fight, and just seemed more light and easy to use. Great game for kids, especially for winter time themed fun.
You know me, I love my aviation games…even if they are…incredibly cartoony. Sky Kid is a fun traditional arcade game, the NES port even keeps the games quarter munching dynamic with blowing through three lives in several tries as a new player. But, it is fun and worth playing at least once if you never have. Looks great with the HD upscaling. They should have rebranded this one as a Snoopy vs Red Baron game though, since it has that look and feel to it. I played this one with my youngest in two players, and had a lot of fun.
Donkey Kong Jr
This NES port seems to be on target with the actual arcade game. It’s also still just as hard, and like Sky Kid above you can see this game’s quarter munching roots which Nintendo kept in place for the port. Great port and looks good upscaled for HD, and is a black box classic.
Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
Although the previous two games had an excuse for being hard due to being arcade ports this one can’t say that. It’s a fun game and it’s in my return to list, but it’s got a lot of stupid deaths and is a bit harder than I had expected for a Disney kids game. Great looking upscaled though, and it looks like it had crisp graphics to begin with. Very intuitive game play as well.
This was a bonus game, and I don’t mean like I’m trying to fit an extra game in this weekend as I mean finding this game in my NES queue and not seeing in my game tracking app or my check in spreadsheet. This one I was actually really interested in once I played, and it was kind of my idea of a chill game. Traveling sector by sector through space, finding enemy’s and moving on, I liked it. I’m going to have to look a bit more to see how the game fully functions, as I felt like I missed a few things, and a manual would have helped. The controls were fairly intuitive though and it was enjoyable play. Graphics wise HD don’t really help, but the larger screen did. I’m going to return to this one.
G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor
G.I. Joe meets the NES, in a Contra style game by Konami, how much more 80’s boyhood can you get. This is another hard one, but then again Contra with no codes was a bitch too. I think I love this one mostly for the nostalgia of it. Looks good on HD, and is intuitively controlled.
This is a very unique space suit horizontal SHMUP. Your sprite can shoot forward, up, down, and behind which is very unique in SHMUPs. Otherwise it’s very basic in all other elements. It’s not really one HD can’t help look any better, but the graphics are still nice but again basic. Game play, once you get used to the sprites movements is also fairly intuitive. Overall it’s a pretty good game.
Techmo Super Bowl
Yes, this game lived up to everything I’d heard about, and I can see why it’s still played competitively nowadays. The game was ahead of its time, and despite being 8-bit has the feel of a modern Madden game. Playing as the Bears though it was fun to see all the old names from the team back in 91’ when the game came out. The game looks good, but probably had a little help from the HD boost. I also found the game to be pretty intuitive (that is with a familiarity with football, and football video games), and it was easy to jump into and even succeed at. Glad I got this one, but wish I had played it sooner.