Today, most people consider a “video game console” to be something plugged into the internet where you can play realistic 3D games like World of Warcraft,Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty with people in different countries. That’s all well and good for today’s generation of teen and “adult who still wants to be like a teen,” foxholing themselves in their basements and only coming up for a Monster Drink and some Cheetoh’s.
Back in my day, 1985-1994, after being raised by a generation of cartoon rabbits and ducks shooting each other in the face, falling off of cliffs, or being stomped into accordion like springs, the one and only Game Console was The Nintendo Entertainment System. Now, some of you 1994-2000ites will chime in with, “yeah, I agree, I loved Super Nintendo!” This is where you also join the ranks of those WOWGTACOD-ers in thinking that the game system you played was the only thing that ever existed. The Super Nintendo was a second generation game system, kind of like George W. Bush. It got noticed, but quickly kind of screwed everything up. Here are some of the various reasons I consider the NES to be the greatest game console system ever.
1. Easy to learn game commands. The controller had an up-down-left-right thumb pad and two buttons, A and B. None of this Red Red Up Back Green Trigger Trigger Sit Stay Roll Over Play Dead type of commands like today’s games.
2. The games. The games. The games. Seriously, you don’t see millions of youtube videos of people playing the theme from Doom on random instruments, do you? Nope, it’s Super Mario Brothers, which, in my opinion, is the king of all multi-level games. Running, jumping, smashing turtles, collecting money, going underground, eating mushrooms, finding a princess, swimming. Mario, and to a lesser extent, Luigi, could do it all. And they could do it all BY THEMSELVES! True lessons in heroism.
3. Two players at most, in the same room. Nintendo, built friendships.
4. Mike Tyson’s Punchout, quickly changed to Buster Douglass’ Punchout, then back to Mike Tyson’s Punchout. Best boxing game ever.
5. Finally, when the games stopped working, you didn’t plug your Nintendo into a computer and update its APP or reinstall its software. You did the only thing you knew how to do, you blew into the game cartridge, then blew into the console, then blew into the game again, then banged on the top, sides, and back of the console in that order, then put the game in gently and turned the machine on and, of course, you were back in action playing Excitebike or RBI Baseball in no time.
The truth is, I don’t see the Xbox or other systems like it becoming a nostalgic root and cultural icon like the NES. In fact, I still have mine and my 7 year old daughter asks me all the time if we can play Super Mario or Track & Field. It’s music to my ears. The answer to her sweet request? Give me a minute to blow into the cartridge.