Old School Gaming

Nintendo Entertainment System Turns 25 Today

Image via Flickr 25 years ago today, the parents of many lucky children were purchasing the new Nintendo Entertainment System from NY FAO Schwartz, in all of its 8-bit glory. The games available during this launch such as Duck Hunt, Kung Fu, Excitebike, and Baseball turned out to be some of the strongest titles available during a launch. Then one year after that, the console was released to the rest of the nation.

Rad air

Three years down the road, my brothers and I went out and purchased the Action Set bundle. Which came with the Zapper, Power Pad, and the Super Mario/Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet cartridge. I remember playing until my fingers blistered. The Power Pad was challenging but short lived, once you figured out just to just your hands instead of trying to run

in place. After that we got the epic movie The Wizard, which introduced Super Mario 3 and solidified a lasting impression of the NES throughout my childhood. I can still tell you the exact blowing, clicking, and reset techniques to get the game cartridges to work. Thank you Nintendo and have a happy birthday! First image via Flickr

  • and we're still trying to outwit that damn dog.

  • Sadly, I never had an NES. My wife mocks me mercilessly as I try to fumble my way through Super Mario 3 on the Wii (we downloaded the old school one). I don't know all the secrets, and she long ago got rid of the book. However, I did play occasionally on my friend's NES, and we had an NES in our dorm room in college and spent many hours playing Legend of Zelda and Mike Tyson's Punch Out.

    Because of that, I understand and desire this tshirt:

    <img src="http://www.uncrate.com/men/images/blow-me-tee.jpg"&gt;

    • P161911

      I too had a childhood deprived of NES. My video gaming history went from Atari 2600 to Commodore 64 (this filled the 8-bit NES gap for me) to the 16-bit Sega Genisis.

  • <img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CFTAPmd9GRA/Ry_JoM7ukFI/AAAAAAAAADU/pEuoPbdx3Fc/s400/power_glove.jpg"&gt;

    I had a Nintender growin' up, and I loved it. My parents would be outside doing yard work in the blazing heat of the summer, and I would be kickin' it, playing Super Mario, straight drinkin' a Coke.

    My kids are going to be the ones outside doing yard work while I play Super Mario. The circle will be complete.

    • Baron Von Danger

      That pic reminded me of someone who described using the power glove was "like trying to eat a salad by taping a fork to your forearm".

      • I'll never forget when we returned to school after Xmas break, and everyone in class took turns telling the class what they got for Christmas. A lot of the usual: a couple puppies, some Rambo toys, books, R/C cars, the usual boring crap, relayed in a monotone that meant they shine had worn off the toys and the puppies shat entirely too much.

        When turn finally passed to one of my friends, he got up and blurted (and I can still hear it today), "I GOT THE POWA GLUV!!!" THe laughter and derision was immediate and thorough. I felt bad for him on one hand, especially since he quickly learned (but refused to admit) it was essentially useless.

        Oh well. At least he took the fall and my own train set didn't seem quite as dorky in comparison.

        • Train set? Awesome!

          Yeah, the POWA GLUV was much like the Virtual Boy: neither seemed to be what the market wanted, but they were totally cool for those few short days.

        • Loved my trainset! looking for one that withstand the abuse/destructive forces of a one year old and three year boys. I have a feeling they could derail a for realz GE engine.

          • If they're that young, you still can't go wrong with vintage Lionel and (to an extent) modern Lionel and K-Line O and O-27 scale. But the new stuff is *ridiculously* overpriced… shop around at secondhand shops and swap meets. This is the time of year for train shows as well, so keep an eye out for one in your area. Just be warned, if your progeny have a tendency to throw things, those old die-cast locomotives can do some *serious* damage. Heh!

            I have a small assortment of 3-rail O-scale I set up around the festivus tree, and my girls have loved it since they were born (now 5 and 2). Just pure joy and fun. "Santa" loads up the hoppers, flats, and gons with candy and treats and they have a blast running it and making the loads fly off…

            My permanent layout is HO. Modern HO sets have come a long, long way from the horrible days of Tyco and Life-Life, etc in the 70's/80's. A new Atlas, Athearn or Bachmann set is a great value and a superb runner. But probably way too fragile for little hands. HO is getting crazy expensive otherwise too, but if you're not a rivet counter there's tons of good quality affordable stuff out there, even old stuff is great (once you know what junk to avoid).

            (if you're interested, my layout is here: http://goingincirclez.com/STC/layout )

  • fisheater

    I grew up with Sega systems in my household starting with the master system. It came out shortly after the NES was released. I was the only kid on the play ground with out a NES and no one would believe me that Sega was just as fun.
    <img src="http://www.pugo.org/media/collection/console/SEGA-MasterSystem.jpg&quot; width="500">

    • Ah, I rember that console… the only one that could pass as Design by Bertone.

      The built-in snail maze game was almost more addicting (in a maddening sense) than the games you could buy for it.

    • TechieInHell

      I can remember years of Sega vs Nintendo flame wars. If we'd had the Internets, it probably would have been as bad as Mac vs PC. Ironic that Sega is out of the console market and makes games for Nintendo.

      Hey MPAA/RIAA, see above for successful company that knows how to read the writing on the wall and stays successful by changing a failing falied business model.

  • So you're basically East Coast Me, right?

    Got that exact system when I was like 6 and kept it up until about 6th grade, when it was replaced with a Genesis (never had an SNES).

    SMB 3 was a pretty incredible game, actually. Gave the early 16 bit games a run for their money.

    Other favorites:
    Marble Madness
    Battle Toads

    Anyone remember 3D World Runner?

    • Baron Von Danger

      Played the hell out of Rampage and Marble Madness, along with some Castlevania. I still play some of those games in snes9X on my Wii.

      I had the SNES and the Genesis. I also had the 32X for the Genesis so I could play Virtua Racing, which was amazingly realistic for the time. The rest of my time was used playing Street Fighter II, on the console and in the arcade.

    • Ah, I still have vivid dreams about Battle Toads. Shit, that game was wicked tough.

      I also jumped the good ship Nintendo for a Genesis. My next door neighbor had a SNES that he only let me play when his mom made him do chores when I was over.

      • I distinctly remember my brother and I getting in a fight while playing Battle Toads b/c it allowed 'friendly fire" and we kept accidentally hitting each other.

        • "I distinctly remember my brother and I getting in a fight while playing Battle Toads b/c it allowed friendly fire and we kept "accidentally" hitting each other."

          Fixed that one for you…

    • TechieInHell

      Deartháir and I used to steal credits from a Rampage machine at the local pool hall/hangout/secret-twentysomethings-after-hours-club back in the day. We never got tired of eating the naked chick in the bathtub.

      Wait, hold on, that came out wrong.