"And on the 6th day, God created..
Although I, John Matrix, am a lover of all things cinematic, there is one other thing that matches that level of devotion, video games. Upon receiving the greatest gift in my life, the Nintendo Entertainment System from my grandma on Christmas day in 1987, my eyes were opened to the wonders of video games. Because I was born in 1980, no one, outside of my older cousin Josh, I knew owned an Atari, and I would only see him on Thanksgiving. Even back then the graphics were subpar in my eyes, thanks to the hours and hours of Saturday morning cartoons my eyeballs absorbed on a weekly basis. Not until I first plugged in that godlike grey box, did I realize what awesomeness video games could provide. Below is a collection of lists that outlines my love affair with that 8 bit deity I spent thousands of hours praying to.
The First Five Games I Owned(outside of Super Mario and Duck Hunt)
or Why do my parents keep buying me sport games
1. Soccer-As a child, the only sport available at my parochial school to kids below fifth grade was soccer, which in fact I was absolutely awful at playing. I played for four years, 1st grade through 4th grade, and I attempted 1 goal, 1 friggin goal, during my entire career. Which of course I proceeded to kick about 10 feet above the cross bar. Needless to say as soon as Basketball became available to join in 5th grade, I left skid marks running to the sign up sheet. Back to the game though, my parents had this preconceived notion that I would love the soccer cartridge as well. If not for the fact that I had beaten Super Mario a few times already, and was extremely bored at Duck Hunt( ie started holding the gun up to the screen) I doubt I would have ever played this game, I didnt think that my parents choice for video games for me could get worse but I was wrong.
Four years of my life wasted
2.Slalom-The funny thing is as I was composing this article, I had completely blocked out any memory of this game based on how much I hated it, but as an 8 year old I really didn't have a clue as to what games were available, and so couldn't stop poor purchasing(This would change when I began subscribing to Nintendo Power, of which I still had the 1st issue with the clay Super Mario 2 cover, until about 7 years ago). When I finally remembered I got this game, I got the same feeling Jason Bourne felt, when he realized he had set up the hit on Wombosi in Bourne Identity, just a disgusting pain in my stomach, and I hadn't been shot multiple times and left for dead in the Mediterranean. The one actually gameplay memory of the game I retained; those stupid snowmen. God I hated them.
I hope you saved the receipt for that crappy game
3.Golf-Seeing a pattern here? I think my parents were heavily invested in the original NES sports series, because 3 of the first five games I got were from that blasted series. To be fair though, this game was purchased in the hopes that my father and I could play this game together, which happened approximately twice, after he kept putting shot after shot into the water, as Id destroy him by 3 strokes per hole. Good times.
How does it feel to be beaten by an 8 year old?
4.Legend of Zelda-Bless my parents, as they finally bought me an awesome game, they even bought me that slightly small gold guidebook that had all the maps inside. On top of that, the night we picked it up from Toys R Us, my buddy John slept over and we each got our own pizza from Little Ceasars along with a 2 liter of soda. That night happened 22 years ago and it still remains emblazoned on my brain. See there are somethings countless keg stands cant wash away, except for most of my college education, whoops.
5.Excitebike-Ah the only NES Sports Series game I still play. It had an awesome track editor, although if I remember correctly I only used two different platforms, and all the hardcore Excitebike heads know which ones I'm talking about, along with the ramp that would shoot you onto them. Also it always looked like your biker was flying back to his bike after you wiped out, strange huh.
I hope you like this ramp, because there are 20 more ahead
Top Five Multiplayer Games
or Why I wished I had a younger brother instead of an older sister
1.River City Ransom-I didn't discover this game until the midway point of my NES lifetime, but once I did there was no turning back. Me and the aforementioned John would stay up late playing this, just beating the same guys over and over collecting money to buy the best stuff from Merlins secret shop in the tunnel. There was this trick where if your partner was dying you could run of screen and save all of his money, and once I made him cry by maniacally staying on screen as he yelled for me to leave the area. Our friendship was nearly destroyed that, but I still relish the moment.
Get off the screen! Get off the screen! Dammit!
2. Tecmo Super Bowl-All my life, my favorite sport as a fan was and still is football, but until this game came out, there wasn't a game that completely covered everything I loved about it. Sure there were only eight plays to choose from , but you could change your playbook,. It had all the teams and 99.9 percent of the players(QB Bears comes to mind from that .01 percent) It measured stats, and you could have multiple player run teams going throughout the season. If not for the punching, kicking, and throwing factors of my number one game, this would have been an easy victor.
Can I have your autograph Mr. Eagles?
3. California Games- You want diverse game play you got. Six different events were yours for the choosing including my personal favorite the BMX portion. On a completely embarrassing side note, I remember playing this game when I was enamored with the New Mickey Mouse Club, and I would enter all the cast members names in for the players, and my favorite cast member wasn't even a girl. I d rather not reveal his name. I looked it up and he doesn't even have a wiki page. Hell if I keep writing articles Ill end up with one. I will now gargle some gasoline in shame.
4. Blades of Steel-One of the first must have NES sports games, BoS didn t disappoint. Although most times kids would just play for the fighting aspect of it. See what happened before Street Fighter II blew up?
Wait...You can play hockey too?
5.Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers-I know some of you are thinking, What the hell is that doing on here? Well if you ever had a chance to play it two player youd know what im talking about. Created by those genius s at Capcom, CDRR followed in the ass kicking, Disney transformed goodness of Ducktales, and through in a two player mode to boot. A game that I still play to this day.
Sidenote: I was going to put Contra on here, but that's pretty much a given, I figured Id give some some other games some time in the sun. If it was on here, It would be an easy #3, possibly even #2
Top 3 Kids Games
Or Games I hide when I have dates over
Or Why I wanted to work at Capcom as a child
1.DuckTales-Great show that led to a great game. Who could forget bouncing around on that cane/pogo stick while exploring Draculas castle, or the moon. I must have beaten this game 20 times as a child, and I can still remember all the secret areas of the levels. Although going to the moon to recover a piece of cheese perplexed me even as a child.
2.Chip n Dales Rescue Rangers-The first game that made two lists, in addition to the awesome co-op aspect, the sweet level selections, and awesome boss battles can still draw me in as a 29 year old. I remember thinking Gadget was hot for a short period of time as a child. It could have been worse, I could have had a thing for Monterey Jack, although he was rocking that sweet Freddy Mercury mustache.
Either thats one small robot dog, or those flowers are huge!
3.Little Nemo, the Dream Master-When I saw this game for sale at Kmart with its undeniable awesome Capcom box design, I knew I had to play it. When I got around to renting it from US Video(the mom n pop video store down the street from me, that of course was murdered by Blockbuster in the early nineties) I was not disappointed. Bribeable giant animals? Check. An eight year old running around in pajamas? Check. A giant evil crowned penguin that I couldn't beat until four years ago? Check.
That's it for part 1. I will now say 12 Hail Marys, for thinking about Gadget again.