from Wolfshirt Dan
My parents cleaned out their basement a couple months ago and brought over a load of my junk, including my old Nintendo Entertainment System and a few of my old games. I fired it up, played a little Super Mario Brothers and Zelda, while a tear of nostalgia welled up in my eye. I was saddened that my Super Nintendo was nowhere to be find, however. So this past week I splurged and picked up a used SNES from one of my local video game haunts. I also picked up Super Mario World and NBA Jams. So right now, in addition to all the new releases coming this month (Super November, to say the least) I’m also on somewhat of a nostalgia trip as well.
One’s gaming experience, or as I like to call it, “gaming pedigree,” is often a source of pride for us old-school gamers. We use it to give creedence to our opinions and it gives us a sense of superiority over the casual gamer. So before I spout off any more gaming knowledge, I thought I’d share my gaming pedigree. I’ll list a handful of my favorite games here but look forward to top five lists in the future.
Atari 2600 – This is where it started for most of us. I still remember that frigid Christmas morning, seeing the wood-trimmed piece of hardware, thinking I ruled the world. I played the heck out of my 2600. Favorite games included Space Invaders, Missile Command, Pitfall, and many others. I think my favorite 2600 game was Kaboom! I played that game at every chance I got.
NES – Definitely a big change for me. Christmas of ’86 brought me the cherished Nintendo Entertainment System. I played my NES past “Nintendo Thumb”. It was more like Nintendo Raw, Cracked, Blistered Thumb. I don’t think I could imagine what path I was taking as I played countless Nintendo games. If you would have told me twenty years from then I would still be playing video games I would have said you’re nuts. But here I am, playing away on a my Gamecube.
Trying to choose favorite games would be foolish, there are so many, but a few of my favorites were Baseball Stars, Rygar, Bionic Commando, Contra, any Super Mario Brothers, many many more.
PC’s – While PC gaming has always taken a backseat to console gaming I still take time to get in as much PC gaming as I can. I started out on a whimpy 286, playing Sierra adventure games on my 4-color CGA monitor, but I also played my share of Commodore 64 (even though I never owned a C64), Apple IIe, TSR 80, and others. I played most of the D&D Forgotten Realms and DragonLance games. I played Doom before it was released, when all you could play was the first level, with no weapons or monsters. My favorite genre of PC games is either RPGs or RTS games. I love Blizzard games, played the Age of Empires series to death, and currently play Neocron. While MMORPG appeal to the most basic needs to me, I don’t play them as much as I wish I did.
Game Boy – While I owned the Classic Game Boy I didn’t play it much. I played Tetris on the crapper a lot but I would much rather play on the TV so Game Boy didn’t have much of an impact on my gaming repertoire until much later in life. Tetris still logged hundreds of hours and my mom still plays my original Game Boy.
Super NES – Like many people, I consider the SNES to be the pinnacle of gaming. I hold dear my memories of playing my SNES. I actually remember when my friend rented an imported Super Famicom months before the SNES was released on the masses. We played F-Zero and Mode-7 owned me. I had a crap-load of SNES games. Some of my favorites included Act Raiser, the Final Fantasies, Final Fight, Street Fighter 2, NBA Jams, Super Mario World, the list goes on. Man I loved that machine. I am still waiting to find a good deal on a used SNES with a handful of games on eBay to relive those days. (Update: I purchased a SNES this past November, along with Super Mario World and NBA Jams SE. I am always on the look out for games to add to my collection)
I lived in Spain for two years as a Mormon Missionary, effectively cutting me off from gaming from May 1994 to May 1996. I did get a chance to play a Playstation in one area I lived in, but I didn’t do much gaming from 1994-1996.
Nintendo 64 – I was first in line to get my gaming on after returning from Spain. I got my N64 the day it was released, along with Mario 64, easily one of the greatest games ever. Words don’t do that game justice. I played a handful of games on my N64, but my interest sort of waned as my interest in a certain lady-friend grew. I paid more attention to her and less to the N64, and we were married in August ’97. The N64 came along for the ride down to Columbus but only got pulled out occasionally to play Killer Instinct. I missed out on most of the seminal N64 games, like Perfect Dark, Ocarina of Time, Goldeneye (I played this a couple times) and others. I spent most of this time on the PC but my interest was sparked by the release of the Gamecube. My N64 was sacrificed as a trade for my Gamecube. I will own another N64 and go through some of the games I missed.
Gamecube – Ahhh, the Nintendo Gamecube. I hold the Gamecube near and dear to my heart. It was what made console gaming relevant for me again, easing me back into the gaming scene. So many good games for the little black box. My favorite Gamecube game is easily The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker. I think there is so much detail and beauty in that game that gets overlooked by the A.D.D.-generation. Scenes in the underwater Castle are breathtaking. Easily my number one game, EVER. Metroid Prime is top ten, as well. NCAA 2004 has consumed many hours of my time (I am a HUGE college football fan). There are countless others: Viewtiful Joe, Prince of Persia, NFS:Underground. The list goes on.
Game Boy Advanced SP – I don’t know why I waited so long to pick one of these up, but the GBA-SP is an amazing piece of hardware. I have a back log of good games, so it will take me a while to catch up but I am currently playing classics like Advance Wars and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Doom on the GBA takes me back to my old PC Doom days.
2004 and beyond
Don’t get the idea that I have only played Nintendo Systems. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve played all the Sega Systems (Man I was jealous of Altered Beast when the Genesis came out), I have played PS1/2, they don’t do much for me. I played the ill-fated Turbo-Grafx 16, the Neo-Geo, sheesh, I could go on but you get the point.
Who knows where I go from here. I am still contemplating the XBox angle. (Update: I picked up an XBox and have played the heck out of Halo 2. I also played the very disappointing Fable but traded that away a while ago because it SUCKED SO BAD. I’ve got other XBox games, I’ve just got so many games that I need to play) There are a handful of games that look good that I want to play and I can’t deny the allure of Halo 2. I’ve never been drawn to the PS2, I don’t know why, but I doubt I’ll ever pick one up. But if I can convince Greta of that XBox, mmhhmhmmm.