developed by ASCII for Nintendo, the Advantage was an NES status symbol
that separated Power Players from mere button-mashers. Besides the large
joystick and buttons, the Advantage also introduced two features -- turbo
and slow motion -- that were indispensable tools for the would-be game
master. How could anyone dare to dispense Nintendo advice to his fellow
schoolkids without one? He'd be laughed straight off the playground. The
NES Advantage, along with the regular controller, basically defined the
control setup of consoles for the next ten years. Recent system's controllers
might have more buttons and feedback features, but us old-timers don't
need that high-tech fiddlefaddlery -- with the greatest NES joystick ever
at our disposal, no 8-Bit challenge is too great for us.
light gun games were all the rage back in 1985, so Nintendo wisely released
its Zapper peripheral and several arcade shooting ports for the fledgling
NES. Most gamers fondly recall zapping away at Duck Hunt; the game and
gun were both included with two hardware configurations -- the NES Deluxe
Set and the NES Action Set. The Zapper began its life as a somewhat realistic
sleek gray gun, but later models were formed of bright neon orange plastic.
A long cord allowed you to back away from the TV for maximum challenge.
Sadly, most players soon realized that these games of skill were far easier
if you positioned the gun closer to the screen.
released this affordable crescent-shaped controller around the same time
as the NES Advantage. It features separate turbo buttons for A and B, a
more ergonomic shape than the standard rectangular NES controller, and
a neat disc directional pad. The disc is really quite strange, allowing
fast 360-degree motion and extremely precise control. Although it may not
have seemed small at the time, the Max is positively infinitesimal when
compared to modern monstrosities such as the N64 controller.
never had the chance to enjoy the first Goonies NES game (since it was
released only in Japan), the movie certainly proved memorable for the lives
of many children of the '80s. From its catchy Cyndi Lauper theme, which
is well represented even in this cartridge version, to the tale of a young
explorer venturing to find the ultimate treasure beneath his pastoral town,
The Goonies made us all daydream about adventure. Goonies II took the constituent
elements of the film and melded them to create an impressive exploration/platformer
ethos. As Mikey, the young hero of the movie, you'll have to explore the
house of the Fratelli brothers (a gang of common thugs) and the dungeons
that lie beneath. You'll encounter bats, snakes and the aforementioned
thugs, and dispatch them with your trusty yo-yo while searching for captured
Goonies hidden in rooms littered throughout the landscape. Utilizing a
complicated system of interlocking adventure-game style rooms to tie the
world together, this non-linear and complex game is the spiritual predecessor
to PlayStation's classic Castlevania:
Symphony of the Night.
Tales provided much entertainment for children in the late '80s as they
followed the tales of the adventurous and mind-bogglingly rich Scrooge
McDuck and Huey, Dewey and Louie. The game, crafted by genre masters Capcom,
involved strange play mechanics -- like hopping around on Scrooge's cane
-- that somehow worked. It was comprised of a collection of great levels,
and even if many of us felt sheepish playing a game based on a kid's cartoon,
we didn't let that stop us. With a variety of exotic locales and money-grubbing
opportunities, this game quickly became of a favorite among platformer
Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may seem pretty silly in retrospect, but they
were just the absolute coolest at the time. Like all profitable franchises,
the series spawned their own platform game full of Foot Clan-stomping action
from the gurus at Konami. The game casts you as the four amphibious heroes,
fighting to breach the fortresses and fastnesses of the evil Shredder and
Krang. Each turtle comes with their trademark weaponry, incredible jumping
skills, and a mission to crush the evil ninjas and their various mutant
lackeys. With the expert guidance of Splinter the Rat ("Leonardo got caught.
Who fights next?") you'll be sure to make your way through this extremely
difficult but enjoyable adventure.