If you’re an 80’s kid like myself the chances are your first gaming experiences happened on the Nintendo Entertainment System. A simple console with 8-bit gameplay that created many childhood memories and shaped us into the gamers we are today. Let’s take a look back at what made the Nintendo Entertainment System so great.
The Box Art
The year was 1993 and I was at the local convenient store renting a few games for the weekend. I stared at the shelves in wonder, never seeing so many games in one place. Back then a gamer couldn’t just whip out his smartphone and Google the reviews for games so there was really only one thing to go by: the box art. The game that struck my attention that weekend was Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos. I had no idea how to even pronounce the title of the game, but I couldn’t resist a cover with a jacked ninja un-sheathing his sword. The NES had many amazing box arts almost like covers for badass 80’s action movies. Whether it’s Double Dragon, Contra, Double Dragon II, or the Megaman series, every gamer has memories of those classic boxes.
With hundreds of titles released on the Nintendo Entertainment System gamers had a wide variety to choose from side scrolling adventure games like the Super Mario Bros. and Kirby’s Adventures, to classic beat em ups like Battletoads and River City Ransom. The games were not only extremely entertaining, but challenging as well. There were no YouTube videos to assist a gamer if they get stuck on a level or Internet walkthroughs; it was all trial and error (and maybe a little help from the Game Genie). Beating an NES game could take weeks of memorizing every level, enemy, or even timing on jump to a platform. When it was all said and done you felt a sense of accomplishment, something today’s games cannot match.
The Nintendo Entertainment System was a very simple console. There was no system updates, game patches, or accounts to be made. Just simply blow on the cartridge, pop it in the tray, and within 10 seconds you were playing Blades of Steel with a buddy. As console generations advance they try to incorporate social media as much as possible into the gameplay experience, but whatever happened to keeping it simple?
The NES has been responsible for many memories. It introduced us to a chubby Italian plumber with a knack for stomping turtles, a young hero of Hyrule, and many others who became iconic symbols for the Nintendo brand. It shaped childhoods and challenged gamers, forcing them to get addicted. Every time we see a game cartridge we can’t help but go back to the days when we had to blow on our games to make them work, and that’s all because of the NES. Here’s to you Nintendo Entertainment System, thanks for the memories.