5th January 2012


Roll up, roll up for the very first Retrosection NES January Classic. Well it sounds fun doesn’t it ? Random NES games will be put through their paces (briefly) as RetroBear gives some love to a console he hasn’t had a lot of time for in the past….


A mighty beast and built to last - if it was a cooler colour it would be AWESOME


You know when you have been a bit harsh on something in the past and as a result of that you tend to form an opinion that stays with you forever ? Hmmmm me too. I have always harboured ill feelings towards the NES for some reason. I don’t know why but for some reason it doesn’t give me the same feeling as I get from the SNES, N64, Gamecube and Game Boy. It’s kind of daft really as if it wasn’t for the success of the NES rising from the ashes after the Video Games Crash of 1983, we might not be talking about consoles in quite the same vein and computer games might be something completely different.


Of course that is like saying the world would be no more different if Hitler had won World War II – everyone wearing more brown, lots of marching and people mysteriously accidentally falling out of windows. I digress. The triumph of the NES over time showed to one and all that, yes, it was possible to have a successful video games console and market if everything was done correctly, controlled and monitored. Restoring that faith in the consumer paved the way for where we are now.


So rather than neglect and ignore the NES I thought I’d whizz through a few games and see how much fun I could have. I am taking these totally at random and therefore the games haven’t been selected for any reason other than they were on the list I was going through and I thought “Ooo that might be fun” or “Oh I have heard about that but never really played it”. So here we go – a quick trip through some NES games :


TECMO SUPER BOWL – With the NFL playoffs looming and my brain still in holiday mode following Christmas, I thought I’d plump for this rather than load up a more recent version of Madden. What a refreshing change to play an American Football game where you don’t need to scour through tonnes of play options. You have just 4 choices on offense and defense and the game moves on at a breakneck speed. Its all very simple in terms of presentation, graphics, sound and gameplay but boy was it fun. I returned my opening kick off for a touchdown which had me wearing the biggest smile. Tecmo Super Bowl is well known and, a favourite amongst NFL fans and I urge you to give it a go.


FINAL FANTASY – Now if I could make a New Years Resolution it would probably be to be even nicer to RPG games as well as being nicer to the NES. These sorts of games just simply do not appeal to me. I have no interest in walking round vast areas, talking to passers-by, buying things in shops that might be of use and then get ting into a random turn-based fight with some imps. I played Final Fantasy for about an hour and after finally getting beaten up by some zombies I lost interest. I guess these games need someone with more patience than I have. Still, I have inherited a couple of the later Final Fantasy games on PS2 to play, so my soul may yet be saved. As for now – sorry and all that but these games really leave me feeling a bit “shrugs shoulders” to be honest.


1943 – My obsession with all things 1940’s continues (see my last article for references to L A Noire and trilby hats) as I load up this old arcade favourite. Piloting your biplane against hordes of enemy planes, aircraft, submarines and aircraft carriers, simply keep clearing the skies without getting hit. That’s easier said than done because this series of games from the mid 1980’s were about as hard as they come. Mind you, games like this, where you get a little further each time or know if you were a little bit further to the right next time you might get a bit further on, keep you coming back for more. 1943 is one of those games which will have you pulling your hair out and punching the air with delight in one sitting, if not at the same time.


BALLOON FIGHT – Now this is one fun piece of software. Floating round the screen, pop the balloons of your enemy players whilst avoiding getting yours popped at the same time. Simple. Like 1943 this is one game that will frustrate and delight at the same time. It’s basic to look at but you will honestly lose a lot of time playing this. It comes from an era where the gaming concepts were simpler but where the trickyness was ramped up so you kept coming back for more. Personally I really enjoyed playing it and shall definitely go back for a sneaky play a bit later.


BUCKY O’HARE – Now if you are about the same age as me you will remember this cartoon from your childhood. After all a talking green rabbit defending his planet from an army of evil invading toads, taking place against one of the coolest theme tunes known to man, is going to stay with you. So imagine my absolute disappointment when once again something with a decent premise is turned into a run of the mill platform game – complete with “ice level” which has the slippery platforms. You know the ones that really pee you off because you keep sliding off them. Needless to say I shan’t be going back to this one any time soon. Though the music throughout is all kinds of awesome……


CONTRA – I remember seeing Contra on the NES when I was a lad and being impressed by just what the NES could do and how wonderful it looked compared to my wooden Atari. Truth be told I have never played Contra until now, and my goodness what a beast it is. It’s toughness is legendary and having played it for around an hour and still being unable to get off the first level I admitted defeat. However this is not absolute defeat, oh no. It is until we meet again defeat. Round 2 shall beckon sometime in the near future and I will be successful. Oh yes, it will be mine. Ooops almost forgot – Contra is a great game with colourful graphics, massive sprites and that cool look with lots of explosions and shooting people with ever increasing sizes of weapons.


ADVENTURES IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM – Geez OK, I was intrigued by the title. I didn’t know this was going to be as lame as it was. Walking around the Disney Theme Park looking for keys is not the best premise for a game. All you need to have with you is a good knowledge of Disney films as you will be constantly asked questions about them. The idea is to collect the keys, go to each various amusement, engage Mickey Mouse in conversation, partake in some sub games etc. I must admit I got bored after the first task, and there does appear to be a lot more to it as you have to take part in levels where zombies are trying to kill you. Wow are you sure this is a Disney game and not a kids games aimed at kids for kids made by big kids working for the biggest kid of them all ?


You might have gathered from the above that I seemed at some point to have started at A and was going to work my way through. Well done if you spotted that. If you didn’t spot that, well done as well and I am glad you weren’t fooled by that attempt to put you off the scent (coughs). I’ll post the next batch of games shortly……..


Making toast has never been such fun