Originally this article was going to be my personal reflection on 90's but when I started talking about the SNES and the console war, my memories steered my in a different direction. I may still complete that article, but for now the SNES is on my mind and that's what I'll discuss. To this day, the Super Nintendo remains my favorite game console of all time. I've never had more fun or more excitement playing video games then I did with Nintendo's 2nd console and I doubt I ever will. (Although I have to admit the PS2 is probably 2nd runner up and my Wii U has some serious potential if Nintendo keeps up their current momentum.) The 16-bit years were the golden age of gaming as far as I'm concerned. And though Sega and Nintendo were fierce rivals at the time, there was no console war to me. Sure, the Genesis had some cool stuff and I enjoyed playing it at my cousin's house...but I always thought SNES was superior and those who disagreed were mistaken and that's all there was to it.(And I'm sure you Sega fans felt the same way about the SNES back then so don't give me no grief about in the comments section. ;) I must admit, however, that even though I still prefer the SNES, the Genesis has garnered a lot of respect from over the years and I no longer look down my nose at it like I used to.
Anyway, once I got my Super Nintendo, I rented games fairly often. It got to a point where my dad took us out to dinner every other Friday when he got paid, and then took us to rent a movie/game afterwards. Our local rental store was Major Video, located on Main Street in Hesperia, CA. This is where we rented our original NES games from. Then it got bought out by Blockbuster, and that's where I rented all my 16-bit games from. Eventually we got a Hollywood video as well, but by that time the N64 and PS1 where the consoles of choice. But nothing will ever beat Blockbuster and renting games for my Super Nintendo. It was an amazing time and I treasure those memories.I know this is movie and not a game case, but there was still nothing like bringing home one of these as a kid.
This is a challenge for me. As I began to write down what I remember renting, the list grew longer and longer. Could I also manage to write a little anecdote for each game? I believe I can, and I sincerely hope you enjoy this multi-part series of articles as much I will enjoy writing them. I may even write an article about games I almost rented but never did, but we shall see. So without further ado(and in no particular order), let the journey down memory lane begin.
I think Aladdin may have actually been the very first SNES game we rented. I saw it in a store window a little before getting the console and I was amazed. Up to that point I had no idea that a Super NES version of Aladdin even existed. All I knew was that the Genesis had the game, that it looked just like a cartoon, and it was awesome. Not too long after I getting the SNES, I think it was my mom who suggested one morning that we go out and rent Aladdin. We went down to Blockbuster when it opened and found a copy. When we got home, I all but slammed it into the console because I was so excited to play it. At first I kept making comparisons to the Genesis version, but eventually I gave that up and enjoyed the game for what it was. And it was pretty cool.
I played it so much that I think actually beat it before my dad came home from work that same day. Did that stop me from playing it over and over? Of course not. I was thrilled that the SNES version had a genie's lamp stage like the Genesis and I still remember the password for it. (Genie, Jafar, Aladdin, Abu.) And in the end, I don't think one version is better than the other. I think both games represented the gameplay their consoles were known for quite well and either version is a lot of fun and well worth your time. I do think the SNES had a better final boss fight though. The Genesis game had you chucking apples at just the head of Jafar's snake form, whereas the SNES had you standing on the snakes body while trying to jump on it's head as it tried to strike at you.
It was great and an excellent first rental.
My dad picked this up after returning Aladdin which makes this the 2nd SNES game I ever rented. (They're not in chronological order after this, I swear.) I was a huge fan of Marvin the Martian and Daffy Duck's Duck Dodgers cartoons. I believe Sunsoft made most of the Looney Toons games for the SNES but this was only one of two that I ever played. It was platformer/shooter with Daffy Duck going to different planets to thwart whatever scheme that Marvin had concocted. It was a fun game, but my gosh was it tough. The controls, while not terrible, were slippery. Daffy also bounced backward a little whenever he fired his gun. This was a huge pain when attacking enemies while standing on a cliff. Each planet had theme (Water, desert,..etc.) and Marvin was the boss at the end.
I think we only ever made it to 3rd stage, but just barely. My dad was better at it then I was but even then he could only make it to the 2nd planet. When I finally beat the 1st planet, I also managed a miraculous defeat of the 2nd planet as well. When I got to Marvin, I had saved up 3 of Daffy's special move( Daffy's trademark jumping around and going "Woohoo, woohoo, woohoo!") and it resulted in Marvin's defeat. I think I only got to play the 3rd world a few minutes before the game had to be returned though. Oh well. It was fun but not the best Looney Toons game out there. It's a good memory nonetheless.
While Capcom is known for doing great things with the Disney License, Goof Troop is a game that not a lot of people seem to have played. And that's a shame, because this a great title that holds it's own with games like Ducktales and Mickey Mouse: The Magical Quest.
It was played entirely in overhead perspective through 5 stages. The plot was that Pete and his son are on an island when they are captured by pirates who mistake Pete for their long-lost captain. Goofy and Max come to their rescue. Playing solo, you could choose between the two. Max was faster, but he was weaker. Goofy was slower but much stronger. I played this game with my dad and it was a blast. You had to pick up objects like barrels and bombs to throw at enemies to defeat them. You also had to pick up things like grappling guns, keys, shovels, and planks to make bridges, dig up treasure and cross chasms.
There also puzzles to solve by kicking tiles into certain positions. These could be pretty challenging to complete but thankfully leaving and reentering the screen would reset everything for another attempt.
The games stages were the beach, the jungle, a haunted castle, a cave, and finally the pirates ship. My dad and I got to the final boss (the real pirate captain) but I don't think he was beaten until I played through the game on my own. I rented this one a couple times and I can say that if you're a SNES fan who missed out on this underappreciated game, it's worth tracking down or emulating.
Not much can be said about Magical Quest that hasn't been said before. It's a great game and a true Capcom classic. Since it's been talked about before here, I don't want to spend a lot of time on it. I will say though that my dad finished the game before I did and watching him complete Pete's castle was amazing.
My favorite suit Mickey wore was the Fire Suit, but I think the magic suit was much more useful overall. The mountain climbing suit was my least favorite. I actually beat the bird boss in stage 4 for the first time with the fire suit instead of the intended climbing suit if you can believe it.
I was really excited about Mickey Mania when I first heard about it. I've been a Disney fan my entire life so playing through classic Mickey cartoons was an awesome thing for me. I thought the black and white Steamboat Willy stage was brilliant at the time. What I was not prepared for though was how tough this game was. Seriously, Mickey Mania is no joke. Ducking and jumping over obstacles on the gurney in the Mad Doctor stage, and running from the Moose in Moose Hunters successfully took me many, many attempts.
I finished the game during the three days we had it, but it was only after dying over and over again. Fighting Pete in the final Prince and the Pauper battle was cool because you had to smack him with a big old guillotine blade multiple times. I don't think it's held up as well as Magical Quest, but renting it was a great history lesson that helped set me up for Epic Mickey many years later.
Before renting this game, I had talked with some kids at school about it who had played it. I was warned that it was incredibly difficult so when I finally rented it, I was prepared to die. While I wouldn't say it's easy game, once I learned the stages and boss patterns, I found it to be a fair challenge. I was especially excited when I defeated a stone giant boss only to discover I had beaten the game.
I couldn't wait to tell my classmates the following Monday and see their amazed looks at my gaming prowess. This ended in disappointment, as nobody seemed very impressed. Something that I thought was very cool though was the games' ending. My grandfather had an Atari so I had played both Pitfall and Pitfall 2: The Lost Caverns. Therefore I totally appreciated that when Pitfall Harry Jr rescues his father at the end of the game, the original Pitfall Harry is shown chained to a stone in all his blocky and pixelated glory.
I'm not gonna say much about Mega Man X because my experience with this game is going to be a future article on it's own. I rented it a few times and eventually came to own it. During that period, Mega Man X found ways to keep on giving to me and eventually I'll tell how. In the meantime, just know I rented it and loved it.
I mentioned in a previous article that I was really stoked about Mega Man X2. When the day came that I finally saw it among the rows of games in Blockbuster, I snatched it up with a ecstatic glee. Therefore it might surprise you to hear that to this day I have a severe like/hate relationship with this game. Notice I said "like." At my best, I can't say that I love this game. In fact, the day after I rented it, I actually wanted to return it because I was so disappointed. Why, you ask? To be honest I'm not really sure. In many ways it improves upon the original X, with things like a much higher difficulty level and more carefully hidden secrets. However, I just didn't enjoy the level design as much, and thought the game's music was sub-par, especially for a Capcom game.
And as much as I like the boss designs, I didn't enjoy fighting them as much as in the first X. That said, I do enjoy playing the game when I have occasion to play it. The bike in Overdrive Ostrich's stage is insanely cool and the mechs with the jetpacks and spiked hands are a blast to use. But there's still just something about X2 that rubs me the wrong way and I just didn't take to it like the first one. And in case anyone's wondering, I never rented X3. I don't recall ever seeing it in Blockbuster. I played through it via emulation a few years ago and I enjoyed it more than X2. I rented and eventually owned X4 on the ps1, and that's the last I've played of the X series.
The Lion King film was released on my sister's birthday and after watching it, I couldn't wait to give the game a try. When I finally rented it, I wasn't disappointed. The game's animation echoed the films pretty well, for it's time anyway, and the level design was mostly solid. Avoiding the wildebeasts in the stampede stage was epic to me at the time. I thought the game was hard though and it took me hours before I finally reach Simba's adult stages. Even then, the first time I rented the game, I never got past the lava cave. I tried over and over again to beat that stage but never could.
Sometime later, my cousin Brent spent the night and I rented the game again because he had never played it before. We rotated playing and eventually reached the final battle with Scar. We handed the controller off between us many times before the triumph and as Simba began to roar triumphantly, we couldn't wait to watch the fruits of our labor. Simba roared...and then it rained. That was it. We looked at each other and then we laughed. We couldn't believe we'd spent the last few hours just to watch some 16-bit rain. Years later, I played through the game with my wife watching and had completely forgotten about the ending and was disappointed all over again. Yes, I know it rained at the end of the movie, but it was dramatic and powerful in the film. Crappy ending aside, Lion King is still one my favorite Disney games and great rental memory.
Izzy was a game that I almost
rented several times before I finally brought it home. I believe its release coincided with an anniversary of the Olympics but I'm not entirely sure. Not that it matters much. I remember looking through the instruction booklet on the way home, and though I didn't think the game looked bad, I couldn't help but start to wish I had rented something else instead. When I got home and played it, that feeling didn't go away.
It was a typical 16-bit platformer, with nothing much to distinguish it from the crowd except for some humorous character animation. Izzy could also get power-ups like wielding a baseball bat and turning into a hang-glider. I don't remember getting very far in it, and I don't remember enjoying it all that much either. But since I had rented it, I decided to keep playing the game while I had it. Needless to say, Izzy and his quest for Olympic rings doesn't hold a special place in my memory. It's not a terrible game, but it's certainly a mediocre one.
And I'll stop there for now. Just to let you all know, I've got a total of 59 games on my list so I can crank out at least another 5 articles easy. So while I get started on part 2, let me all know in the comments section if you want me to keep this up. Most of the big-name games like Donkey Kong Country, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Link to the Past...etc were games I either borrowed or just bought so my list of rentals has a lot of less talked about stuff on it and I'd like to share the experience I had playing them. So let me know what you all think. Until next time, stay retro folks. Thanks for reading.