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NES (Games) Classic Games (Games) Nintendo Games

Nintendo Entertainment System Turns 25 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the mine-still-works dept.
harrymcc writes "On October 18th 1985, Nintendo launched its NES console in the US, reviving a near-dead video game industry and establishing Nintendo as a leader in home consoles. We've celebrated with a roundup of some of the stranger spinoffs that the NES has inspired over the last quarter century, from odd controllers to a lock parents could use to disable the console to do-it-yourself projects like an NES built into a Super Mario cartridge."
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Nintendo Entertainment System Turns 25

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  • Crazy... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:47PM (#33938424) Homepage Journal

    I remember going to parties, getting pissed and stoned out of my tree, and playing NES with my buddies.

    Now we play some of the same old games on the Big Ass Emulation Disc for XBOX with the family. Minus the booze and drugs, of course. That's pretty impressive staying power for those games.
    • Re:Crazy... (Score:5, Informative)

      by PatHMV (701344) <post@patrickmartin.com> on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:54PM (#33938524) Homepage

      God, I'm old. This was 5 months after I graduated high school.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Krau Ming (1620473)
        I never knew how old NES was... I was ~4 years old when my Dad came home with an NES and mario/duck hunt one day, and given my birthyear of '81, he must have bought it within the first year of release. I'm pretty sure that qualifies him as an old school tech geek...
        • Re:Crazy... (Score:5, Informative)

          by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:14PM (#33938856) Journal

          NES is actually older than the Summary suggests.

          The NES is simply the US version of the Famicom, which was released to Japan in 1983. Same hardware and specs; different plastic package. So it's really 27 years old now..... almost as old as a Commodore 64 or Atari 5200/Supersystem or Colecovision (1982).

          • by Hylandr (813770)
            Oh FU you all geting old and all that.

            I was 13 when it came out. Blearg...

            - Dan.
      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        I remember that Nintendo was much better than the Fairchild gaming system I had at the time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aquina (1923974)
      Yeah, but I disliked NES and rather chose SNES games like Terranigma, Zelda (3), Secret Of Mana, Secret Of Evermore, Illusion of Time and... oh yeah Battletoads in Battlemaniacs. ;-) Give Terranigma a try (http://www.romnation.net/srv/roms/43226/snes/Terranigma-G.html)!
    • Maybe I'm Crazy...

      Or High...

      But how did Super Mario Bros turn 25 before the NES Turned 25?

      • by lgw (121541)

        I played Super Mario Bros as a coin-op arcade game long before I saw it on a console. Wasted a ton of quarters on it. I remember thinking it was far better than Mario Bros, which seemed like a particularly lame Donkey Kong sequel.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I remember going to parties, getting pissed and stoned out of my tree, and playing NES with my buddies.

      I remember going to parties, getting pissed and stoned out of my tree, and having SEX with strangers.

      Unlike you, I can't really re-live those times with my family.

  • b a select start
    • by deviceb (958415)
      oops forgot the left-right(s)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, I think it's law or something-- Konami law, if you will, that any time one recites the Konami code, it will inevitably be *wrong*

      • Not only that, but "select, start" isn't really part of the code. The full code is just up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A - once you've done that, you can press anything you want and you'll still get 30 lives once you start.

        "select" switches to 2-player mode (not necessary - the code works in either 1- or 2- player mode), "start" starts the game"

  • wireless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by snookerhog (1835110) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:53PM (#33938498)
    according to the Nintendo store in NYC, the NES was originally designed to have wireless (IR?) controllers. They have the prototype on display.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Thanks to a lack of shielding in the original NES, I remember my friend's NES being played by remote from the basement. It's kind of disheartening, here you're trying to play a game of SMB and Mario keeps getting suicidally depressed and jumps into the nearest pit.
  • by mirix (1649853) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:53PM (#33938508)

    I remember getting my NES for christmas when I was a child.

    Most of my favourite games are still from that era. New games seem to be missing some sort of soul... mind you, there were a lot of truly horrible games for NES too!

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:21PM (#33938932)
      The thing is, games for the NES and that era were -made- to be abstract, when we got to the N64/PS1 era, developers started releasing "realistic" games which end up looking like crap when the next generation of games come out.

      Graphics were secondary to making an entertaining game, the game was developed with the concept first then the graphics followed and the graphics were what made sense. For example, the look of Mario wasn't developed to look like a specific person, but rather to compensate for the lack of advanced hardware. Today, developers take graphics first, take a storyline first, then let the game fill in the cracks.
      • Graphics were secondary to making an entertaining game, the game was developed with the concept first then the graphics followed and the graphics were what made sense. For example, the look of Mario wasn't developed to look like a specific person, but rather to compensate for the lack of advanced hardware. Today, developers take graphics first, take a storyline first, then let the game fill in the cracks.

        I think you're falling into the trap of comparing the classics worth remembering to the average game released today. Sure, any of the Super Marios for the NES were more fun than "Wii shovelware game #3406," but for my money, Super mario Galaxy is much better than even Super Mario Bros 3, and that's not just because it has better graphics and an extra dimension. Contra was fun back in the day, and I know this is even more blasphemous, but I actually prefer Halo 3 to it. Again, not just graphically. I'm s

      • by Narishma (822073)

        You're remembering things incorrectly. Graphics have always been a big deal in video games. I remember when the SNES first came out people were calling it's graphics revolutionary and realistic... It's not something new.

    • This claim seems strange to me. What games back then do you think had soul? And what new games have you played that you felt lacked soul? It's a sort of nebulous concept, so I could benefit from some examples. Maybe some explanation of what gave those examples soul.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Captain Spam (66120)

        This claim seems strange to me. What games back then do you think had soul? And what new games have you played that you felt lacked soul? It's a sort of nebulous concept, so I could benefit from some examples. Maybe some explanation of what gave those examples soul.

        I can explain it in two words: "Nostalgia filter".

        To add more words, there's really the same proportion of good games to bad games nowadays. That didn't change. But when you look at the past through the rose-tinted glasses of your own nostalgia, back to your memories of the carefree days of your youth with NES games right alongside them, it looks a lot better than your more recent memories of the cynical, stressed-out days of your adulthood with more modern games right alongside them.

        So, give it about ten

        • Well, yes, this is exactly what I thought was going on, too, but I figured I'd give him the opportunity to surprise me with a point of view I didn't anticipate :)
        • by moortak (1273582)
          There is an aspect of gaming from that era that is missing now. There's no unified whole. At the height of the NES era everyone had the same system, got most of their game news from the same magazine, and shared a pretty similar experience. With three major systems, tons of magazines, and countless websites there really isn't that shared culture occurring.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I can explain it in two words: "Nostalgia filter".

          Or three: blue remembered hills.

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          I can explain it in two words: "Nostalgia filter".

          It's the same for movie buffs that compare Citizen Kane to Biodome, forgetting that comparisons could also be made between Spielberg and Ed Wood.

      • by mirix (1649853)

        Well for me I think it was the fact that games could be very entertaining, while being horribly ugly and fitting in 64k of ROM. Brute and simplistic, yet I can't seem to put the controller down.

        Some of the games were truly epic, although they looked horrible, they kept you engrossed for weeks (dragon warrior was one for me). Others were ridiculously simple, but you could play them forever (tetris, dr. mario). Others were great for multiplayer compared to older systems (jackal, contra, etc.. lots of konami s

  • Did anyone ever beat Mach Rider? I think that game just went on forever with increasing difficulty at each stage. And what was with the random super powers?
  • The robot was the only thing I remember from the early TV advertisements. No mention of it in TFA.

    Then I moved to Thailand and it was all Famicom... which seemed a lot sleeker at the time... smaller carts and integrated controller holsters. But Nintendo America knew their market wouldn't go for anything that didn't remind them of a VCR.

  • U-Force. God, that thing was useless.

    Also - no power glove?

    Maybe I'm just confusing "strange" with "bad".

  • I never had any interest in the Mario Bros. game(s)... Everyone else seemed to though. I was perhaps the only one of my friends who really liked Duck Hunt. I LOVED that game! I only wish that you could have shot the dog when he laughed at you for missing.
    • Duck hunt was fun... till you eventually realized you could just shoot at a lightbulb and hit every single time.
      • by Dwedit (232252)

        Duck Hunt does not work that way. If you watch carefully, the game displays a black screen for one frame before the white target appears. The zapper must see both the black screen as well as the white target.

        The zapper is constantly sending light information to the game regardless of whether the trigger is pulled or not. It's looking at the screens that happen after you pull the trigger, and the game processes that. Pulling the trigger does not send a "Hit" or "No hit" to the game.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:13PM (#33938836)
    The mark of good games is when you can still pick up and play them 5, 10, 15 or even 25 years from now and they are just as good as the first time you picked them up.

    I can't say that many Xbox or PS1 games can say that. On the other hand, almost the entire NES library seems to be filled with examples that are just as fun today as they were back in the day without having to put on rose-tinted glasses of saying that this game was fun for its time.
    • by CronoCloud (590650) <.cronocloudauron. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:44PM (#33939228)

      That's nostalgia talking, there was plenty of crap on the NES, and plenty of great games on the PSone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by grumbel (592662)

        The problem with the PSone, as well as most other 3D consoles, is that their graphics age extremely badly. NES still look quite ok, SNES games can even look pretty good, PSone games on the other side just look really ugly. Same goes for the controls, there is only so much you can do wrong in 2D with a Dpad, but in 3D things have improved a lot over the years and many PSone titles are borderline unplayable by todays standard, even the good ones.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fallingcow (213461)

        There are around 1000 NES games playable in English, counting fan-translation ROM patches. Maybe 1100.

        I just finished sorting through mine to weed out the ones that suck or that I'm otherwise not interested in (by which I mean I favorited the good ones and set my emulator manager to only show favorites--the things are so small that there's no sense in deleting any).

        Even being pretty aggressive in removing games--cutting the ones that were and are good on the system, but which exist in a better form on anot

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by syphyre (783379)
      I sense exaggeration. There are what, perhaps 20-25 games that could still be considered just as good today (if that many)? There were what, just under 800 games published in the US for the NES? Small sample selection. Same thing goes for the Xbox, PS2, SNES, etc. Huge libraries, few games that will last and last and last.
      • About 100, actually. See my post upthread--I just finished digging through my NES rom library to weed out the crap, and couldn't get it under 130. Even if you had damn high standards (and I didn't tolerate the mediocre, mind you, nor games that are better on another platform) there's no way you're getting that number under 50, and even that would be tough.

        • by eharvill (991859)
          Care to share your final list? I'd love to see it and possibly go back and play some that I might have missed. I have a gazillion ROMs, but only go back and play 15 or so personal "classics" from time to time.
          • Sure. Mind you, I'm still slowly weeding some out, as I hadn't played a few of them before, so I judged them based on a minute or two of play and what I could find about them online. Some on the list are also personal favorites, and likely not to be everyone's idea of a good game--I'll mark those with an asterisk. There are (IIRC) two light gun games that won't work very well unless you've got some sort of gun-like pointer for your PC, or if you play them on a real NES hooked up to a CRT television, usin

            • by eharvill (991859)
              ROFL. Thank you for the list, there are many of my personal favorites on there; will definitely have to check some of these out that I've never played. Sorry you had such a pain posting them. :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QJimbo (779370)

      There are plenty of PS1 games that are still very fun to play now. Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Tomb Raider are just some examples.

      • I have to agree that Spyro was probably the best game series made for the PS1. The colors and textures pretty much blew everything else out of the water.
    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      I can't say that many Xbox or PS1 games can say that.

      Oh, I don't know. I just played through the first couple of Resident Evil games on the PSX. I suppose that's "not many" though.

    • by Draek (916851)

      On the other hand, almost the entire NES library seems to be filled with examples that are just as fun today as they were back in the day without having to put on rose-tinted glasses of saying that this game was fun for its time.

      True, but only because for most NES games "as fun as they were back in the day" means "not at all". I'll give the NES that one at least: all its horrid trash were at least readily recognizable as such, there were no Crysis back then that turned into generic crap only around the halfway mark.

  • That's awesome. Someone gave the NES a chastity belt!

  • They didn't do the full US release until Feb/Mar of 86. (Before that they only place you could get it was NYC or LA.) Also back then no internet so no going on the web and having one shipped to you.
  • Did the NES have Manic Miner or Jet Set Willy ported across to it? It was on just about every 8-bit computer platform.

    I'd probably hedge my bets on "Elite" being ported to more platforms than any other game, though it was strictly a non-console game due to the number of command keys needed.

    I'm scratching my head to think of any titles that appeared on the consoles & computers as well - maybe Bobble Bubble or New Zealand Story?

    • Don't forget also that there were a large number of 8-bit computer platforms, many with tiny user bases - ZX Spectrum, Commodore Vic-20 & C-64, BBC Micro & Electron, Oric 1 & Atmos, Dragon 16 & 32, Texas Intruments TI-99, Camputers Lynx, and possibly a couple more that escape me for the moment.

    • >>>"Elite" being ported to more platforms than any other game, though it was strictly a non-console game due to the number of command keys needed.

      "Strictly" a non-console game?
      Elite does exist on the NES console.

      As for most-ported game it's probably "Ms. Pac-Man" which exists on all 3 Atari consoles, possibly Jaguar too?, Intellivision, Colecovision, all the 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit computers of the 1980s, plus the NES, PS1, N64, PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox.

    • by Dwedit (232252)

      Elite was ported to the NES, but it was only compatible with the PAL NES, since that had more draw time than the NTSC NES. In order to work on a US system, the bottom 50 scanlines would need to be blanked out to get the same amount of draw time. (approximate)

  • The articles is split across fourteen pages.

    Seriously, who thinks that's a good idea?

  • My NES was the first thing that I can really remember saving up my money for. Allowance money, xmas cash. At my 7th birthday I so happy to be able to tell everyone that I had finally saved enough to get the box....only to get a bunch more cash from relatives that knew I was saving for it. So in a way it kinda muted the whole idea of saving in the first place, but with the extra cash I was able to get the add on Power pad too.

    I never should have sold that set. Or Zelda, 1943, Pinball, Donkey Kong jr, or any

    • Hahaha, same here--with the regretting selling, I mean, not with the saving to buy it on my own.

      I've considered picking up a new one--probably a toploader, an upgrade from what I had--but I'm not sure it would be the same. The worst part is the controllers, since I just know any I'd get now wouldn't quite feel right, and my Zapper was a known-good one, while any I'd buy used would be likely to have calibration issues.

      I even forgot to copy my best High Speed score that I wrote on the top of the machine, fro

      • The worst part is the controllers, since I just know any I'd get now wouldn't quite feel right...

        You fool! You sold the controllers? My well-maintained NES MAX [wikipedia.org] is my oldest possession, and I have every plan to be buried with it. Having lost everything else in a fire, I have managed to preserve the controller.

        In truth, its touch is as comforting as an old friend's voice, and I am considering shelling out for a NES-USB adapter. After all, we seem to be in the dark age of video game controllers, when the d-pad

        • After all, we seem to be in the dark age of video game controllers, when the d-pad has become forgotten technology from a golden age.

          There are Wii Classic Controller to USB adapters. I haven't used the old style classic controller (the one that looks like an SNES controller) but the new model is possibly the best controller Nintendo's ever produced. It's that good. Excellent D-pad.

          It's a shame it isn't the Wii's default input device, or at least more common and capable of attaching to the Wiimote so it c

          • I purchased the classic controller, and was dismayed to find that, on many Virtual Console titles, the A and B buttons are mapped in alphabetical order, rather than the classic "b to the left of a" layout, as seen on the authentic NES controller*. How Nintendo could have screwed this up is a question that keeps me awake nights... of course they provide no option to remap the buttons, either.

            End result: Even after I pay the nintendo tax (buy the Classic controller, re-purchase Super Mario Bros. 3), I still g

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