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Our NES Memories: 30 Years of Famicom

Justin Baker, NWR Reviews Editor

by Justin Baker - July 16, 2013, 7:21 am PDT

A childhood fueled by Kung Fu and Godzilla.

Kung Fu Heroes

My brother and me would spend countless hours playing this game, and it grew into a love for terribly translated Kung Fu movies that I still hold to this day. You had to fight your way through waves of enemies in each level until a portal leading to the next stage opened. It was one of the few games we owned that features simultaneous multiplayer, and I have very vivid memories of my (old, more-skilled) brother standing in the portal yelling for me to hurry up.


I didn’t learn until much later that this was actually a port of an arcade game of the same name. Growing up I loved Godzilla movies, and the opportunity to mercilessly rampage around a Pac-Man-like maze eating things was not something I was ever going to pass up. Looking back now the game really wasn’t very good, but that didn’t stop it from sitting in our NES for many hours.

Milon’s Secret Castle

This was often remembered as a game that was nigh impossible to beat without Nintendo Power, and I take no shame in saying that, even to this day, I’ve never come close. This game holds a special place in my heart because of all the hours I sat and watched my brother play it (without Nintendo Power), and the many nights of frustration and controller throwing that it gave us. Of course, we were too young to know that the problem was the game itself, not our lackluster gaming skills.

Bad Dudes

Yes, even more mediocre ports have made their way on to my list! The NES port of Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja was another one of the rare games that supported simultaneous multiplayer, and the fact that it featured nunchucks (the coolest weapon ever) made me love it despite its flaws. While there's no disputing that it was a very technically flawed game, the interesting bosses and awesome music still bring back great memories.


I don’t care what anyone says: this is my favorite Castlevania of all time. It’s the first game I remember my mother purchasing for me at the pawnshop down the street from my house. The game cost a whopping $40, and I loved everything about it. As a child I wasn’t nearly skilled enough to beat it, but many weekends were spent passing around the controller and fighting our way as far into the Dracula’s domain as we could. We would leave the NES running for days with Castlevania loaded up at some new area we had made it to, and, inevitably, our mother would bump the system while cleaning and cause it to freeze. Never were two children filled with more rage than when the vacuum cleaner caught our controller cord and jerked the system when we were just moments from facing Dracula himself.


CericJuly 16, 2013

I played To the Earth with the Zapper Headset that you spoke to activate.

StrawHousePigJuly 16, 2013

I heard he was a total Star Wars nerd.

A nerd! :o

ejamerJuly 16, 2013

I remember buying To the Earth due some confusion. We were supposed to buy Solar Jetman, but hey, the games are probably almost the same right? Both involve... well, space.

After the initial disappointment, I sat down and started playing To the Earth. Eventually we could get through the first 3 or 4 levels, which seemed pretty substantial. Even though the game was tough, it was really quite enjoyable once you had enough practice. I liked how you were forced to be accurate with your shots since every miss was costly and would reduce your fuel level. The one downside is that Duck Hunt became almost unplayable - the pace was just so slow.

Have thought about reacquiring this game now... but not sure my adult self would have the persistence (or time) required to build up the skill and memory required to get through each level.

Quote from: StrawHousePig

I heard he was a total Star Wars nerd.

A nerd! :Q

This is another true statement. But that didn't happen until 1994! I send out a big "Thank you" to USA (the TV channel) for having marathons of the movies around Independence day back then!

You know, apparently The Lone Ranger also used the zapper in the first person areas, but we could never get the thing to work properly.

xcwarriorJuly 19, 2013

Top 4 all worthy selections. Never played Darkwing Duck. But the omission of Legend of Zelda/Final Fantasy/Tetris/Baseball Stars 2/Duck Hunt/Mega Man 2/MM3/Double Dragon II and probably others is sacriligious!

So many good NES titles.... I normally am for NES games being on Wii U VC and not 3DSVC, but I would pay $5 in a heart beat for Baseball Stars 2 on 3DSVC.

Ian SaneJuly 19, 2013

I like Brian Davis' story about the parental network in the neighbourhood making sure that their kids each had a distinct library of games between them.  In the NES days I figured that in regards to videogames parents fell into two categories:

A: parents that thought videogames were evil.
B: parents that would buy their kids games but had a knack for zeroing in on the worst game in the store 99% of the time.

With videogames it seemed like us vs. parents.  So Brian's story was refreshing, showing that that wasn't the case every time.

TheFleeceJuly 21, 2013

Justin, our stories are so very similar it's almost scary! I always think about that event almost everyday, it's one of my favorite memories. These stories are awesome, I've enjoyed them all.

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