Table of Contents:
Best Peripheral

NES Advantage

Originally 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. 

Runners up:

NES Zapper

Arcade 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. 


Nintendo 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. 

Best TV/Movie Licensed Game

The Goonies II

While Americans 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

Runners up:

Duck Tales

Duck 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 fans. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The 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.

14 of 26
The Goofiest NES Accessory:
Homework First, a lock system that clamped to the bottom of the console to help parents keep their kids away from the boob tube.

Copyright © 1995-2000 / GX Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Disclaimer