Nostalgia #3: HappiNES – Gems on Nintendo Consoles You Must Play
Whew, it’s been a while, but welcome readers to another article in the Nostalgia series! Here, I’ve listed outstanding video games that are good fun to walk down memory lane with. In “PS We Love You”, it was all Playstation, and in “the X-Files” it was all Xbox—but this time, as you undoubtedly have guessed from the title, it’s Nintendo!! Oh yeah, now we’re really going back to the origins of video gaming.
Anyone else ever play Mario on the NES? I know you know that theme song. I bet you’re humming it right now. Or now. Now? Hmm. Well get ready to have your memory jogged! Or you could go download the simulator and ROMs to see what in the hell I’m talking about over here. I’m kidding don’t do that. It may be illegal. Up to you.
1.) Star Fox – SNES
Well I’m sure plenty of you know who this guy is. I remember being four and playing this until I was sick. And you better believe I came back for more after I was all better. This is a game about a Fox in space, as you may have imagined, although the original title was adjusted because Europe had another game of the same name over there. Unless you’re in Europe reading this, in which case I mean over here.
Anyways, Fox McCloud, Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare, and Falco Lombardi are a team of pilots whom you explore space with to stop a mad scientist who’s declared war on a peaceful planet after being banished. It’s actually so simple it’s great, and instead of three different difficulties on the same adventure, there’s three completely different adventures with their own paths and difficulty level. It supported awesome replay value, and helped trailblaze the use of 3-D graphics. Also, that Arwing jet still kicks ass.
2.) Jurassic Park – SNES
Okay, I’m the biggest JurassicPark fan. Dinosaurs were definitely my thing, and I was one of very few my age who could pronounce all their names correctly. I know the movie backwards line for line, and let me tell you—this game was not that movie. But it was still great fun! You can find footage of it being played on YouTube.
It’s basically about Alan Grant escaping the island, going around collecting stuff and destroying velociraptors with an electric prod. …yeah, I know. Anyways, it’s pretty straightforward, but it’s an absolutely addicting mix of overhead and 1st-person adventure. I’d call it survival horror, but it’s no Dino Crisis, I guess.
3.) Mario Kart 64 – N64
When the super-sized-Spartan mod came around in Halo 4, the very first thing anyone did with it was make Mario Kart tracks for their mongoose. And those tracks are remarkably accurate and entertaining, despite the lack of a Race variant. This kind of legacy has to be mentioned! Including Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, kart games are plenty of fun and remain a fantastic and evermore fruitful variant on racing games.
They were also a huge part of the story in Wreck-It Ralph. I mean this battle-style racing genre has shown its face just about everywhere in the industry, and if you go back and play this original game, everything you want is still there. The core of the concept was almost fully utilized and explored in its very first shot, and not only is that impressive, but definitely worth a look back to.
4.) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – N64
Oh you didn’t think you’d get through this article without reading about a Zelda game, did you? Silly rabbit. Tricks are for kids. Wait, I didn’t set myself up for that right, did I? Well here’s to saving yet another princess. I could picture Link and Mario hanging out at a bar like HISHE’s superheroes and complaining about their only goal in life is saving a helpless damsel in distress.
Anyways, Zelda is a fantastic storyline and always has been since its very first game, although this particular game was extremely well received and as always has a high-concept plot that is way more difficult to follow than Mario’s side-sliding adventures. Games about Zelda continue to release and elaborate even more on the forever-expanding established universe. You only need to play one game to get the jist of the style, and I know you’ll love it the same way I did.
5.) Super Smash Bros. Melee – Gamecube
Okay, well everyone mentions this one in any list like mine they’ll make, but it’s for a reason! Maybe you didn’t know, but this was the best-selling game on the Gamecube, which for me just seemed to come and go, far overshadowed by the systems competing with it. Still, there’s no question about it—this is a game for the ages.
It always has been, and there’ve been a number of variations and improvements since the original. With double the playable roster of characters than its predecessor, and trophies, and all manner of different add-ons to make a more unique experience, this game sustains with age quite nicely.
6.) Pokemon Emerald – Game Boy Advance
What’s this? I didn’t choose the originals, starring the protagonist above cleverly named Ketch-em? Well, the truth is, the first and second generations were considerably similar and it wasn’t until the third came around that everything truly felt like a fresh take once again. Pokemon was huge in the 90s with the television show, cards, and games, and it was easy to get wrapped up in all that.
This new generation of gamers didn’t end up with the classic feel, and I strongly believe that the best performance of the Pokemon games were the third-gen thanks to a substantial amount of activities to have fun with in addition to the straightforward plot one can only play once. All of this series’ games were filled with replay thanks to level-grinding, all at once the best and worst feature.
Aside from the animal cruelty and enslavement message everyone jokes about, it’s actually a superb piece of video game history that anyone would be insane to ignore, even haters of what was no less than a movement.
7.) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island – GBA/SNES
Yeah, it’s tough to avoid mentioning one too many Mario games in a nostalgia article about Nintendo, but this game in particular deserves a mention anywhere. I was utterly fascinated with this game, especially for giving so much attention to Yoshi. Come on, everybody loves Yoshi! I smell a sitcom. No but really, who doesn’t like him?
Some of the best action sequences in film of all time consist of holding on to an object, such as Matrix: Reloaded’s highway, for example. In this respect, Yoshi’s Island is definitely a unique spin on Mario with its own feel through music and artwork. Yoshi must protect baby Mario across his island, and every time he’s damaged, Baby Mario begins to float away. You’ve got a limited time to catch him.
Yoshi can swallow and stamp and lay eggs to toss. All the different colors of Yoshi have their own unique abilities which can be explored—it’s fantastic to traverse this world this way, and functions just as great on the GBA as its original SNES system.
8.) Frogger – Game Boy/ Color
This is one of a very few games that has felt truly authentic to another era of video games in which simplicity, difficulty, and strong concept were all that was necessary to create a universally memorable and longlasting game. Games used to be a lot tougher believe it or not. This is an arcade game about a frog trying to cross the street, and these days in LA, I’m pretty sure I’m living the live-action RPG in real life. There’s not much to say, because this one definitely speaks for itself. Anyone and everyone can be a Frogger fan.
9.) The Incredibles – Game Boy Advance
First of all, the movie right off the bat is an incredible—see what I did there?—riff on the Fantastic Four with plenty of wit and charm to go around. Not all animated films are really for all ages, but this one I think hits the mark, and with all the superhero films floating around these days, it is actually quite impressive and holds up among them.
If anything, it’d be great if the new Fantastic Four movie functioned in a similar way. But when I first saw the movie I instantly knew there’d be a game with terrific replay value to be made, and sure enough, this challenging game has great flow and everything you’d want out of a superhero game—more than most superhero games out there, even today. But those black bubble things. Damn them!
10.) MK4 – Game Boy Color
Well, this game didn’t have particularly good music, or graphics, but I personally am very nostalgic about it. Maybe I shouldn’t close with that, but I supposed that’s what makes memory lane so great anyways, and hopefully there’s at least one other person out there who grew up with Mortal Kombat and ended up enjoying this one.
Sub-Zero’s spinal removal fatality, much like a Predator, was probably the best thing ever. But I was absolutely hooked on this game, and played it almost non-stop. It was pretty challenging for me, back then at least, and it took me quite some time before I could conquer the “Master” level tower.
It’s a good fix for fans of Mortal Kombat, despite MK2 for GB, and I think the cheese of the production value is what makes it so neat to remember. The movements weren’t glitchy, there were just enough special moves, and the fatalities get away with a decent amount of blood for a T-rated game. Which was a pleasant middle finger to those screwy ratings people, haha.
And that’s that! I hope you enjoyed this remembrance of some popular and more obscure video game releases that charged our childhoods and are worth only a fraction of what we paid for them back then. See you next time, folks.