Monday, January 5, 2009


Much to the benefit of my family (and social) life, I have never been a big Video Game Guy. My first love was the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1987, and it has remained so since. It is the only system I have ever owned, and I still have one to this day. The controls are simple, the graphics rule, and you really can't beat the music. 'Nuff said.
Bearing that in mind, I present you with this, my list of TOP 5 FAVORITE 8-BIT NINTENDO GAMES of all time. These games changed my life. Maybe they changed yours a little, too.


To drive home their explicit "anti-drug" message, Williams released this awesome game, in which the protagonists cleaned up the streets by literally blowing away junkies and drug dealers. To get an idea of how rad this game was to a 9-year-old kid, just take a gander at the picture above. How fucking SWEET are those red and blue dudes? Motorcycle helmets, M-16s, AND a Porsche? Goodbye Crockett and Tubbs, hello dudes from NARC!

The best part about this one, though, is that the antagonistic drug dealers you battled against would chuck hypodermic needles at you. You could take a good dozen rigs to the chest before your character "died". Even a little kid could do the math on that one. Your guy was HIGH AS SHIT, running around killing dudes with a machine gun and a rocket launcher. I actually blame NARC for most of the trouble I got into in high school. That game made it seem really fun to run around getting super wasted and committing random acts of violence.


A video game adaptation of the wildly popular anime flick of the same name, "Fist Of The North Star" was actually a pretty boring game. But it had one super awesome redeeming quality. Like the guy in the movie, you could unleash a rapid-punch attack on your enemies that would cause their heads to swell and then FUCKING EXPLODE IN AN ORGY OF BLOOD AND BRAINS! There is absolutely no way this could ever get old for anyone between the ages of 6 and 13. Not particularly challenging or interesting, this one makes the list for its simple gore factor. Exploding heads RULE.

Below: I'm pretty sure this is an ACTUAL image from the ACTUAL game.


Duke Togo (aka Golgo 13), a silent assassin with a 100% kill rate, stars in this "Top Secret Episode", an episode SO secret it was available to only about 100% of the public. This game was extra cool because it changed by level from a first-person shooter to a run-to-the-right-and-shoot game to a helicopter game, and also had sweet animated sequences.

Below: Golgo 13 prepares to pop a fat cap in some chump's white ass.

As an added bonus for mischievous 10-year-olds, Golgo 13 featured all sorts of inappropriate themes. G-Man was a major pimp, and sexual intercourse was implied (see examples) at one point in the game. He was also a smoker, and picking up a pack of smokes would ironically improve his health score in the game. In one level, blood would come out of your enemies' heads as you shot them.

"Golgo 13", like "Fist Of The North Star", somehow snuck under the Nintendo censors' radar, and awesomeness was the result. Apparently, they DID catch the fact that the original bad guys in this game were Nazis, and made the Vic Tokai Company change them to a mysterious organization called DREK for the U.S. release. Bummer.


One game that DID sneak in a Nazi was the arcade crossover classic "Bionic Commando". This was one game that I actually managed to beat, and the main boss at the end of the game was none other than the infamous Zombie Cyborg Hitler. Who saw that coming?
B.C. was a great game because instead of "run-to-the-right-and-jump", you got "run-to-the-right-and-swing-over-things-using-a-huge-bionic-claw", a unique take on a time-tested classic. You could also upgrade your weapons (a la Contra or Metal Gear), and the bigger ones were majorly kick-ass. I guess more recent gaming systems remade this game, hence shitting all over another classic legacy from my youth.


Above: Oh, how wrong you are, Zombie Cyborg Hitler!


Let's see... Ninjas battling giant, ED 209-esque robots in a post-apocalyptic future?

Yeah, I guess that's pretty cool.

Conceptually, "Ninja Crusaders" was far beyond any other game, but, unlike competing ninja games like "Ninja Gaiden" and "The Legend of Kage", it was actually PLAYABLE. One could actually progress through levels at a fairly rapid rate, a rare trait for late 80's ninja-themed video games. Plus, the ninjas wore super stealthy neon pajamas and got cool weapons like throwing stars and chain whips.

The Ninja Crusaders got to face off with tons of evil robots and even a giant SCORPION, formidable foes who perished with dignified, mechanical honor at the hands of their human superiors. This game is an obscure gem from an obscure company (Sammy?) that deserves to sit high atop this mighty list. Post-apocalyptic ninjas, man!!!

Honorable mention: Excitebike, Tecmo Bowl, TMNT III: The Manhattan Project, Contra, Contra II

PS: Does anyone else remember the Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back Nintendo games? I used to rent them at Video Connection in Eureka but never saw them anywhere else. Those games were fucking awesome, why weren't they insanely popular like everything else remotely Star Wars related? Hmmm...

1 comment:

Aesop said...

Free. No Downloading.