My friend the NES

A short history of my good childhood friend, the NES
May 14, 2008
When I was a kid (in the late 80s and early 90s) I would consider my Nintendo Entertainment System to be my best friend (sad, I know, but it's not like I wasn't friends with other kids, and I enjoyed playing endless make-believe games with them (Star Wars, Fighter Pilots, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, etc)) but still... I spent the majority of my childhood with my good friend NES. I distinctly remember the Christmas when I was four years old when I received my NES, I opened the present, and had absolutely no clue what this box was, so I said "Wow!!! It's just what I always wanted!!!" I had no clue how honest this statement was. There exists, a video of that Christmas (it was my little sister's first Christmas) where, even while my father is talking to my sister, you can hear in the background, the distinct sound of Mario dying in Super Mario Bros. In the same video, you can see me with an NES Light Gun pressed against the TV screen, even though I still miss about half of the shots that I'm taking somehow. Since then, I learned to love my NES and video gaming in general. Before that I played my uncle's Intellivision and TI-99/4A (about which I will write an article in the future) at my grandparents' house, so I was acclimated to the joys of playing video games, but once I received my very own NES, I was plunged into a world of video games which I didn't know ever existed at the time. In this article I will discuss a few of the games which I loved to play as a child which aren't the most common NES games (Contra, Mario One/Two/Three, Metroid, Zelda, etc) because there are plenty of great articles discussing those games, so here it goes:

Pinball Quest

Pinball Quest... I don't recall where I got this game exactly, but I enjoyed playing it immensely. This game was really interesting because it could be played like a conventional pinball game (like NES Pinball) but it had 3 different "Pinball Tables" to play on, with each having a fun mini-game which you could play on that table...

such as in that picture where the mini-game was similar to pool/billiards, but the real draw for Pinball Quest came with it's other game mode, RPG. In RPG mode, there were multiple pinball tables which melded together with a storyline similar to a normal RPG game. Even though I never surpassed the third level or so as a kid, I still loved playing this mode. Also, you could "buy" powerups between levels, which was a really fun and cool powerup!

Mickey Mousecapade

I come from a family that is a HUGE fan of all things Disney, so it seems natural that someone would have bought me this game... Mickey Mousecapade. This game is interesting because it's one of the first NES games where you have to play as two characters (the biggest obviously being Binary Land.) So in Mickey Mousecapade, you play as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the first level is the "Fun House" but it's easy to skip to future levels (it even tells you the cheat to use, how to skip to any level in the game in the instruction manual which comes with the game) so you can skip to "Ocean," "Pirate Ship," or even "Castle" where you have to fight Maleficent (from Snow White) to beat the game. This is a game that I still love to play today, and is still a fun challenge for me, even though it came out 20 years ago.

Legend of Kage

Legend of Kage... One of the biggest reasons that I loved playing the NES so much, and one of the best memories of childhood that I have, is this game, the Legend of Kage. After I got my NES, both of my parents liked to play various games (my Mother loves Tetris, and my Father loved to play a great number of games (he still owns a NES, and a SNES and a GameCube to this day and plays the games which me and my sister loved to play with him as children.)) This game was given to me by a friend of my father, whom he knew from work (this guy loved to play Nintendo, I remember how my father told me of how he went to his buddy's house and played Super Mario Bros. where Mario was about one foot tall on the large screen TV.) So anyways... This guy gave me this "Legend of Kage" game and either me or my father would play this for hours on end, and the other one would watch/give advice for gameplay. This is another game that we had never beaten, but we still loved to play anyways.
Little Nemo: Dream Quest

I loved playing Little Nemo: Dream Quest as a kid. This game was absolutely awesome because you could feed candy to various animals and then ride them around (complete with special abilities.) I don't really remember my father or sister playing this game, but I still played it a lot myself. I don't think (to this day) that I've made it beyond the fourth level or so because it's such a challenge in this game. In the second level you meet the cutest thing that you've ever seen in a video game...

I don't know why, but I remember thinking that the character on the right side of that picture was the cutest character that I'd ever seen. I also remember seeing a movie based on this game on the Disney Channel (I think) sometime around 1997 and I absolutely loved it because it was based on this game. This movie was decent though, and it taught kids the meaning the "dirigible," which for some reason, I thought was a very important point at the time.

Fester's Quest

Fester's Quest... Both me and my father loved this game equally , but he was better at it. This game took place in the universe of the Addams Family with the main character being Uncle Fester. Throughout the game, your task was to shoot up aliens who would sometimes give you powerups (Gun, Whip, Health, etc.) My father gave my some good advice "Powerup to the best gun right at the beginning of the game,) this would make it easier to advance in the game. Also, interspersed in this game were these 3D levels where you would have to walk around a house until you found the main Boss of the level.

Al Unser Jr. Turbo Racing

As a fan of car racing, I was excited to buy this game where I could race as Al Unser Jr. Although I was a bigger fan of NASCAR and Stock Car Racing, I still found it extremely fun to play as a rising star in the Indy Car League. Also, the music in this game was very good, and the realism was great for the NES era too, on longer races you would have to make pit stops to replace tires and fill up your fuel on longer races.

All in all, I loved these above mentioned games, as well as Super Mario Bros. One, Two, and Three, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and a few other games throughout my young childhood. I hope that you enjoy the descriptions of these rarer games from my childhood and perhaps you even remember yourself playing a few of these as a childhood yourself.
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