Games of My Youth I -- NES

Part one of my miniseries takes a look at the first console I ever had -- the NES.
October 24, 2007
Games of My Youth: Part I – NES

Series Introduction:

A bit of a preface here: I decided it would be best to convert this article of mine into a little miniseries. It’ll keep them more bearable in length.

During “Games of my Youth,” I’ll chronicle my favorite games of my childhood, with each edition featuring a new console. I want to point out that this isn't necessarily a "the best games of each system" list; I missed out on playing a handful of great games, simply due to the fact that I never heard about them.

To try and make this unique, I'm going to add a little snippit called "Random Memory" to each game entry. The thing that makes nostalgia so neat is that you have unique memories to everything; I think by adding these in there, it'll personalize this a little bit.

To get things started out, I’ll take a look at the Nintendo Entertainment System, the first video game console I ever had.


I was sitting in our basement one night, probably around 1991 or so. This would have made me five years old. I specifically remember my dad coming downstairs with a brown cardboard box in his arms. What was inside would change my life forever. My eyes lit up as I gazed upon this school-book-sized toy known as a “video game system.” Its name was the “Nintendo Entertainment System.”

My dad was in his late 20’s at the time. One of his lifelong friends had picked up this Nintendo, along with numerous games. He had decided it wasn’t for him, and he ended up selling it (and all of the games) to my dad, who, in turn, gave it to me.

As a result of this being pre-owned, it came with a handful of games. These included The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link, Iron Tank, Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, Casino Kid and Top Gun.

Memorable Games:
Super Mario Brothers
Who doesn’t remember this game!? One of the first games I ever played still remains one of my favorites of all-time. The theme song is catchy as anything you’ll ever hear. How could I possibly forget my days of ramming through a level by means of Pluckers (firepower), or that Michael Jackson-esque Moon Walking of level 4-2?

Random Memory:
My buddy also had an NES. Despite his best efforts, he was never able to beat the game. One day, at his mother’s request, I came over and beat it for the two of them, so they could finally see what the Princess actually looked like.

Super Mario Brothers 3
Super Mario Brothers 3 is about as good as platform gaming gets. It took the first Mario game to a whole new level – giving you some freedom with regards of where you wanted to go next, adding awesome power-up’s, and beefing up the graphics. How cool were those alternative costumes? A frog?! A ride-able boot? The ability to fly? This game was flat-out awesome.

Random Memory:
The location of the first few flutes in the game are very well-known. I can remember always grabbing those, and warping immediately to the world that had the giant enemies. I loved that place!

Iron Tank
Iron Tank was an action game where you took control of a tank and blew your way through enemy lines. It featured an aerial/overhead view, similar to many jet games of the time. It was awesome – but it was as hard as it was fun. I don’t think I made it further than the second level of this game.

Random Memory:
Every once in a while you'd get this sound that indicated that you had in incoming transmission on your tank's radio. At least one of the times, the message would tell you that you needed to rescue some prisoners of war. You'd blow open these buildings and these cute little guys would pop out, looking for safety. They were freakin' awesome!

The Legend of Zelda
Zelda is clearly one of the most successful Nintendo franchises; Link has been popular since he made his debut in this game, all the way back in 1987. I was able to acquire at best four pieces of the Triforce. This was an open-ended game that really rewarded you for your exploration.

Random Memory:
I remember one of my crowning achievements in this game being the time I found one of those hidden doors to the random dude who tells you that you’ll have to pay for the damage you’d done to his wall. Although puzzled, I was ecstatic, thinking I had stumbled upon an epic Easter Egg.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Growing up, I was a gigantic Turtles fan. Unsurprisingly, its video game counterpart turned out to be one of my favorites. This game, like most NES games, was quite difficult compared to the games of today. It wasn’t especially great, but it featured Turtles, so what more could a kid ask for!?

Random Memory:
I think everyone can relate to this one: one of the early levels of the game requires you to dive underwater and diffuse bombs; it’s a timed level, and you’re required to maneuver out of the way of electric coral reef. Its really quite challenging (and frustrating, as well).

Closing thoughts:

The NES was an awesome system. Its basic controller made it a good first console for the young kid that I was. It introduced me to some great games, and I had a load of fun with it. Although not my favorite console, the NES provided me with hours and hours of childhood fun.
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