Posted on January 25, 2020
8-bit glitches, blowing in cartridges, coming up with methods to make the game work on the first press of Nintendo switches. We had some patience. With a “I” was how you pronounced Ryu, Mario’s rival was king koopa, the damsel was princess toadstool. N.B.A. jamming before the 2k, spending time playing live and creating M.J. A link to the past, throughout the video game’s evolution, we have been the constant classic. Playing faithfully today as we did then, all in from the first level to the games’ end. Refusing to put down the controller, just because we’re a little older. Truth is, pure innocent fun is ageless, therefore this one is for the retro gamers.
25cents to play
A quarter gave me a couple of options. I could buy a few pieces of candy or play a round on the arcade machine. Most of my contact with the arcades was at grocery stores. Certain crowds were more charged than others, depending on the time of day. The after school crowd was always the most amped. There was a candy store by my school that my friends and I would go to at the time that had a few games. The combination of the sugar rush, the energy from those playing the game and on-lookers seemed to intensify those huddles. It was never a dangerous situation but you had to be a bit exertive to assure you got your turn.
On special occasions when I did go to the actual arcade, it was like being in a different world. The sights and sounds from the machines with the reactions from other children created an exciting atmosphere parallel to an amusement park. The arcade machine was a head turner.The artwork that decked its cabinets with its pregame presentation and demo; stopped us in our tracks and had us begging our parents for a quarter. The games were amazing. A machine with a good sound system-you could feel the vibration in the explosions and hear the crunch in the hits. This is probably what inspired home systems to go into the 16-bit era. Still, there were some home versions tittles that paled in comparison to the arcade.
Despite the fact that I beat close to none of the games that I played; the joy I got from playing them far outweighed any disappointment of losing. It was an experience that is today a treasured memory.
(The machines that cost 50cents to play was too steep for my pockets back then)
The video rental store was the gamers’ library. Though not as powerful as thumbing through the pages of a book, there was something special in the experience. The process of renting a game was just as memorable as playing it.
My excitement started the moment I was giving permission to rent a game. As soon as I was given the money, I would hot-tail it to the video store just around the corner from where I lived. I would go there often mostly to browse, so I was pretty familiar with what was on the shelves. As I made my way to get a rental, I would make a list in my mind of which game to look for. That would add a pep to my step as I wanted to have my pick at the best selections.
The new releases, the games that had the advertisements and was #1 at the arcade, were the top choices but the hardest to get. When the preferred titles were unavailable that meant taking a bit of time sorting through what was left. This selection was made up of duds and under the radar classics. Since these videos games didn’t have the hype, they had to sell themselves by sight. A glimpse of the cover from front to back would either spark interest or be considered not worth the time. Snapshots found on the back of the game cover provided the only preview. Of course there was no YouTube video to refer to. For my friends and I, video games and the internet meant finding cheat codes. I like many of the gamers at the time just had to chance it. Not knowing what to fully expect was both an advantage for those particular games and what added to the fun in renting them.
I preferred getting my rental on Friday. The store had a 3-day rental policy, They were closed on Sundays; renting on Friday gave me an extra day. Fun Times!
(I swore there were people stealing games. I remember many new releases being on the shelves one day and just never return)
You Had To Be There (Player vs.)
Playing Live is to the gaming world what Facebook is to the internet. You go online and play against others who are logged on in different locations-a headset allows you to communicate with them. It seems like a fun experience; so I won’t say that I will never try it. Personally, I favor the original way of playing with a second player. Not because I’m stuck in the old ways, I enjoy the interaction that comes with playing alongside a friend. There’s an energy that is bounced between players who are in the same room. Our back and forth created vibes that matched the game being played and gave us a little extra to play for.
In one-on-one gaming its player’s wit against another. Trash talking turned these sessions into chess matches. As soon as the game starts, the more vocal player goes right in-throwing out his best vocal jabs to get his opponent off of his game. The more reserved gamer says little. He holds on to every word of his taunter and waits for his chance and he gets it. He now throws out a little slick talk of his own as he’s just tipped the game in his favor. The tone has changed, the intensity has picked up. The mouthy gamer has quieted down. He’s now trying to take the game a bit more serious. It’s too late, his opponent is in the zone. Before he knows it…its game over! The taunted is the winner. The extra satisfaction was in responding to his friends talking with a win. All in good fun of course.
You Had To Be There (Co-op Campaign)
Co-op gaming is the opposite, it about combining our wit to beat the game. In our minds, we were taking part in a mission that we would enjoy but we really wanted to win. That little extra is what makes us care a bit more. Throughout the course of the game we thorolly covered each other. If one of our games ended early that player still gave aid and acted as an extra pair of eyes. In defeat, we came up with strategies. Timing and patterns of the enemy were memorized; from that we developed ways to get through a level. It was like cracking a code to finally get through an area that had us stuck-we shared in the enjoyment of the accomplishment. We had survival down to a science. Little measures like keeping taps of in-game lives along with giving power ups to the player that needed it were also taken; to assure we would get as far as possible. It was OK to complete the game alone but after all of that, it was more satisfying reaching the end together as intended.
While the one-uping and strategizing was taken place so was bonding. Video games may have allowed us to escape the reality of society but not the reality of our friendships. I’m glad it allows that element. The conversations-trash talking included, combined with the joking were as important to the moment as the games were. As I write this I smile thinking of when I paused a game due to laughing with friends.
(Sore Losers. My cousin would enjoy the game when he was winning, then hate it when he was losing. Took away all the fun)
I’ve shared a part of my past that I hold dear; a glimpse into something that added to a great childhood. I would like to think regardless of how old we get from time-to-time we think back on our fondest memories. I think back to the energy of the crowd at the arcade, sorting through games at the video store and when I was playing side by side with friends. We may not remember every event exactly as it happened but we do remember how we felt at that time. It’s at that moment that we feel a portion of the happiness and excitement that we felt back then as children. That’s powerful and why many of us still play video game. Innocent fun is ageless.
I hope fond memories from yesterday can contribute something to today. I originally dedicated this article to the gamers of my generation. I extend this dedication to younger gamers. It’s cool when two generations have a few common interests. I hope they get the same enjoyment that I got and still get from playing video games. I look forward to playing alongside my children as I did with friends. May that joy keep us a little younger. Play On Players!!
Posted on September 18, 2018
What are the most wanted video games? Is it the same sports game year after year? Is it s 1st-person shooter or a fighting game? Ask a few gamers this question and I’m sure that they’ll say yes to all the above and other genres. Ask me the same question and I’ll say, the games that I would like to see are just as wanted but have not been made. They would give us the match ups that we’ve wanted for years. They would be the anticipated sequels that advance classic game titles.
As proof that I am not alone in wanting these games, I will point out fan-made artwork and videos that could serve as covers and trailers to some of these games. After making my point I will give my answer, the dream games are among the most wanted video games.
Did the bit war take a bit away?
Nintendo vs. Sega, if you grew up in the 90, you knew of this rivalry. Honestly, what I remember is children being split between the two consoles. I don’t think there war ever a real winner. Did the bit war take something away from the gamers? Did competion between the two companies prevent something that could’ve been bigger than we remember from the video game landscape back then?
Being overly competitive in a way robs the fans. Being overly competitive maybe the reason why there has never been a real WWF vs. WCW showdown. Perhaps a bit a competition was in the core or Marvel and DC’s 1996 collaboration. Why else would this merging only be a 4-comic book series and not a campaign that really stood out? Companies that are so focused on out doing each other prevent certain collaborations the fans would love to see. Throughout the 90s NES (later becoming SNES) and Sega, were neck in neck in their war for dominance of the gaming world. Looking back, I didn’t understand the need for a “war” for one main reason, the executives of each company seemed to be clueless to the fact that…despite which console the gamer favored, we loved the games and didn’t care to see the other company put out of business. Truth is a gamer could favor Nintendo but still like games on Sega and vice versa. If the executives had accepted that fact, it could have possibly resulted in a collaboration that would’ve given us video games that brought our favorite game franchises and characters together.
The fans will tell you what they want.
The Last ghostbusters movie- in which all women were cast as the ghostbusters, flopped with many fans. It was reported that sexism could’ve been at the core of this reaction, that was a borderline insult to the fans. What went ignored was the fact that many of us grew up with the franchise, from the movies, the cartoons and toys. Fans had long awaited for a follow up ghostbuster movie since the second edition, which came out in 1989. What went ignored was disappointment was at the core of the fan’s reaction not sexism. It was simply not the movie the fans wanted.
Former wrestler, Sean Waltman (X-pac) said in an interview, “The fans will tell you what they want; all you have to do is listen”. I am not suggesting that video game companies should take everything we say or suggest and use it. I am simply saying, there should be elements from what the gamer is asking for that is applied to the development of certain games. The gaming industry should satisfy a certain want; it has been great at satisfying the wants of the current video game, it’s also satisfying the craving for the classic video games and I’m sure it is developing what the video game will become. However, the industry is making the same mistake it has been making, by not creating the video game that gamer’s have wished for.
A Consumer’s Perspective
Actor Sylvester Stallone, has been successful in bringing back two of his biggest films (Rambo and Rocky/Creed). In my opinion, the key to Stallone’s current success is that he leaves in the essence that has made his movies a success in the first place and adds new elements that satisfies audiences of all ages. As a fan of the Rocky and Rambo films myself, I can say that Stallone is in tune with his audience. No matter how long the gap is between the previous film and the current addition, you walk away feeling that the wait was worth it.
These dream video games would have to follow the formula Sylvester Stallone has used. They would have to be true to their essence and add new elements that appeal to young gamers while amazing older gamers. These games should answer the, what ifs and exceed expectations. The end result should be the gamer feeling, the wait was worth it. What would make these games special is they wouldn’t often happen; their release should come as a surprise to the gamer. I’m sure that these games would not only be a big financial success but they would also add more depth to the video game landscape.
My Wish List
Shenmue 3 – This game has been anticipated since it’s second edition was released in 2002. It was reported that developers of the game did acknowledge that there were fans of the franchise but did not see it as a financial success and therefore, were not in a hurry to make a third installment. Taking actions into their own hands, fans started a kick starter campaign to raise funds for the game’s creation. The results was a record making 6.3 million dollars raised by 700,000 backers. After seeing this, I came across a supposed date release date for Shenmue 3 set for Aug of 2019. Until I see that it’s official, this remains a dream game.
Mario Vs. Sonic – Promote it as the last stand-off between Nintendo and Sega, with the two biggest names in the video game Industry! Sonic and Mario were pitted against each other in an Olympic style game years ago but gamers who have been fans of these iconic characters should get a real head-to-head adventure at least once. I have seen enough fan-made art and videos to suggest that Mario vs. Sonic would set the game world on fire.
Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter – These games were not only the headliners of the fighting genre but also among the best-selling video games of the 90s. Of course there was a bit of a rivalry between the two. I can remember there being some comparisons on which was the better of the two. Game developers had managed to pit Street Fighter against the Marvel universe and Takken; while merging Mortal Kombat with not only DC but also a few horror movie icons. How did we not get this game yet?
Marvel vs. DC – The gaming industry has a chance to do what the movie industry has yet to do and what the comic industry did not do in greater detail, give us a real battle between the Marvel and DC universes. The two companies did collaborate in 1996 for a 4-part comic series, in which fans were able to vote for each match ups outcome. Today, that method would probably pale in comparison to letting gamers dictate every detail of the action. With the love for these characters that stems from the comic books and cartoons combined with the new popularity due to the current movie titles, there’s no way this game can lose.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong – There has always been a bit of a rivalry between these characters, nothing major but enough to build on. The two debuted together in the classic Donkey Kong game (1981). Since then Donkey Kong was featured on a few Mario based titles such as: Mario Kart (SNES, N64). Mario Party (N64) and the multi-character game Smash Bros(N64). There were a few Donkey Kong vs Mario games released on the Gameboy advance and the Nintendo D.S. These games seemed to be upgrades to the game-play style of the original game, keeping the characters in a puzzle adventure platform. To make this title stand out, developers should base the game in an action adventure. A combination of an in-depth story line, advance game -play and an ending that gives us a clear winner, could result in a bigger classic than the debut of these iconic characters.
I am not a video game developer nor am I suggesting that I know more than the professionals of the industry. What I am saying is, that gamers have invested a lot. Add the money that our parents spent to the money that we now spend, we have made the gaming industry very wealthy. We have invested in playing video games until the difficulty is no longer challenging. A few video games and characters have been able to cross over into the movie industry due to our support. Perhaps support like that should be rewarded once in a while, in the form of a video game that is based on the essence of what gamers have been wanting and asking for.
In closing, I say to the video game industry, these dream games would be a great way to say, thank you to the fans; for supporting our products. In return, we will respond as we always have, with our money.
Posted on August 3, 2018
I’ve played video game for most of my life and I’ve seen the evolution…from the bits era to the games that now look and feel like a movie. Even with all the good things the games of today have going on…there are time when I still crave the classic video games The classic video games were simple and they had us hooked.
What was it about that simple form of entertainment that had us so hooked, we still look back on it fondly? Yes it is a video game but our reaction to them is real. Feelings that strong can’t be overlooked.
Is it just a game?
The it…that I feel is missing from todays’ video games, are filled by the memories of the video games that I played as a child. When, think of those video games. I think of the fun times of my child hood. The vibes of those games didn’t clash with my happy feelings…they added to them. They added to the bond of my friendships and family. We sat next to each other, we joked, we laughed, we played and enjoyed the moment. Those games were light, upbeat, nothing serious and satisfying.
These games were what they were supposed to be…a means to innocent fun and not a reflection of the times.
What made the video games of yesterday great, was they took you away from reality. I think many of the popular games today are…too real. They put the player in real life situations, real life locations and contain real life content – hints the rating system. The video games of the past were the complete opposite. They allowed children to play out their imagination on screen, rather than putting them in violent scenarios that reflect society.
Recently there’s been a new interest in the classic video games. These games are being re-released not on the current consoles, but in their original format. Seems, I’m not alone in my feelings.
What’s interesting is that…today, the video game industry brings in more money than the movie industry. Even with that kind of success, it was decided to bring back those games of yesterday. The embracing of those games from gamers young and older says that, these games still have a place in todays’ gaming world.
They don’t build them like they use to.
Todays’ consoles don’t seem like they’re built to last. This year I just had to throw away my NES and SNES. I received my NES in 1990 and my SNES in 92. Combined…these consoles had a life span of over 20 years (not bad). I now have two X-box 360s. The first console started messing up in less than 3 years, and I’m just about pampering the second to keep it working properly. How many times have our Nintendo, Super Nintendo and cartridges included…taken a pounding or a fall and still work?
I guess advanced doesn’t equal durability.
What the gamer of all generations have in common is our love of the game. I’m not implying that the games of yesterday are better than those of today. I’m only pointing out that, it is foolish to say no to something solely because “its old” as it is to say yes to something solely because “its new”.
If something has stood the test of time, it has earned its place in todays’ landscape.
Do your own research! Play one of the classic video games, take the year it was developed out of the equation, and judge it on its game play alone. With that said, pick up a controller, press start and enjoy!
Posted on July 1, 2018
What is Nintendo Heads?
Nintendo Heads is a feel good site. It highlights the video games that we grew up playing in the late 80s and throughout the 90s. It allows old school gamer a moment to relive memories and perhaps sparks interest in the new school gamer.
What service does Nintendo Heads provide?
With all the stress and negativity around us, we all can use some positivity from even the smallest outlet. If I can make you smile and feel a little better by sharing a part of my personal memory that many of us have in common, than that is the service that Nintendo Heads gladly provides- positivity and happiness.
THE GOAL OF My Site
To take my site from its’ starting point of me sharing my own memories and evolve it into an interactive community.
Nintendo Heads. siterubix.com