Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Old Days...

Something odd happened today.

Are you ready for this?

I got bored.

I know. You'd figure a guy who plays video games all day, feeds people to a dragon for a living, has a wife and child at home to entertain (read: annoy this shit out of) couldn't possibly get bored.

You would be mistaken.

One of my ever so endearing personality traits is that I can go from zero to bored in a matter of seconds. I'll just finish logging out and already be looking for something to do.

Susan enjoys this trait oh so much.

I believe her exact words were "Would you stop walking around and find something to do? You're driving me insane."

So, I decided to go through my old video game collection. You know, fire up the old system and relive my youth.

All of my retro video game collection is kept in my gaming room.

In case you're not married, this roughly translates to "a cardboard box in the basement."

Apparently, a vintage NES just doesn't go with our decor.

I have no idea what a decor is.

I don't remember buying a decor.

Damned decor.

Anyway, I was going through my old games and decided to dust off the old NES. Setting it up was remarkably easy.

Step 1) Hook up cables

Step 2) Insert game

Step 3) Remove game because it didn't work

Step 4) Blow into NES until I was ready to pass out

Step 5) Pass out

Step 6) Wake up

Step 7) Reinsert game

It's just that easy.

Do you know what I spent the afternoon figuring out?

Video games used to be F&%@in' hard.

I'm not talking challenging here. As we've discussed, I actually enjoy games that present an honest challenge to the player. I like games that take skill to master.

Yeah, not these games. These games are just plain hard.

Cruel even.

Jack Thompson should really be going after the people who used to make NES games because if these things didn't lead to violence, then nothing will.

I started out with Contra. It was always one of my favorites and seemed like a good way to waste an afternoon. I popped the cartridge in (then took it out, blew on it, and put it back in) and that familiar screen from my childhood scrolled across my TV.

Withut even thinking about it, my fingers started tapping out the Konami code from muscle memory.

I can't remember to pick up milk, but I remember the Konami code.

For fun, I decided to try playing the game with just three lives instead of using the code to get thirty.

It'll be fun, my brain said.

My brain is a damned liar.

There is no way anyone could finish that game on just three lives. It just isn't possible. If you say you did it, then you are a liar.


I think the code was put in there because they knew there was no way in hell anyone would ever see the end of their game without it. They spent all of that time working on it, they might as well help people actually get there before they throw the damned NES out the nearest window.

Did I see the end of the game? Yes.

Did I do it on three lives? No.

Most games today will give you three lives and you probably won't even need two of them. Between health packs and extra lives and whatever else, you just really don't need them.

Not Contra.

After finally beating the game, I decided to pop in a nice, simple looking game. Maybe a game that would be really straight forward.

So, I pop in Silver Surfer.

I must not have ever played this game as a child because if I did, my beautiful NES would be in pieces and buried next to my parents house. I would have smashed that thing to dust.

The Silver Surfer game is just a slap in the face. I mean that literally. The game jumps out of the NES and comes over to the couch to physically assault you.

As I understand it, the Silver Surfer is gifted with near limitless power. As the harbinger of Galactus, he needed to be practically god-like.

Unfortunately, he has only one weakness.


Yes, the man who can fly through outer space and fire energy blasts gets murdered by some drywall.

Why even have guards around your fortress? Just don't open any freaking windows.

Boom. Surfer beaten.

Congratulations, Silver Surfer. You were just defeated by the nice people at Home Depot.

This game is not challenging. This game is just outright painful to play.

I guarantee that there is no end to this game. The game designers made a handful of levels just in case and then said screw it because there was no way in hell anyone would ever make it anywhere near the end.

The end of the game is actually the time you decide to stop torturing yourself and turn the damned thing off.

Since I was already inflicting so much pain on myself, I decided to just keep going. At this point, it was me versus this infernal machine and I wasn't going to lose to no damned 8-bit bitch.



Screw. You. Battletoads.

The Battletoads were a disgustingly awful rip-off of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I mean, they didn't even bother finding an animal in another phylum.

Dev1>> Hey, what's a good animal to base this thing on?
Dev1>> Dogs? Cats?
Dev2>> Turtles?
Dev1>> No, no, no.
Dev1>> We're already copying the turtles.
Dev1>> We need a different animal.
Dev2>> Hey, what's the closest possible thing to turtles?
Dev1>> Toads?
Dev2>> Do you smell that?
Dev2>> I smell money.

Like any copied product, the Battletoads suffered from an inferiority complex.

They made up for this by starring in a game designed to kill anyone who even tried to play the damned thing. If you even looked at the controller, your brain would shut down.

I tried my best to beat this game. This wasn't boredom talking anymore. It was the epic struggle between man and machine.

Actually, it was between angry man and most evil game ever created.

And... In the end... I was victorious.

Oh, I didn't beat the game. Oh, F&%@ no.

But my trusty friend, Mr. Hammer, helped settle the score.

Damned Battletoads.


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At 8:58 PM, Blogger Sword said...

Oh yeah! These new games dont have anything on the retro in terms of difficulty.

Remeber Castlevania, if you didnt have the 3rd grade whip and holy water, you were basically screwed in most of the later levels.

Zelda II. It's a techerous run just to get to the last castle, THEN you have to walk through some damnable fortress thats like 10x the size of the previous dungeons.

F@%&in Bubble Bobble! You miss an item like half way through the game you have to go BACK after beating it just to get the good ending.

Anyways /rant off. I just had to get that off my chest. To add though you don't see any good cheat codes anymore either. Back then you had hundreds of codes that gave powerups and extra lives, nowadays you only see giant head codes or something else totally useless.

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At 9:15 PM, Blogger Michael said...

None of those games have anything on Blaster Master. I loved that game oh-so-much.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Kerestel said...

i uh hate to say it dave but i think you lost your touch... i beat both contra and battletoads when they first came out... um yeah no cheats...

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Church said...

Yeah, I beat both, I did meet my match however.

Ninja Gaiden, yes the game known for it's epic difficulty on the original NES (I think it was actually Ninja Gaiden II).... I think if you were to actually beat the game, your brain would instantly die.

At 1:12 AM, Blogger Rabid Ferrets of DOOM!!!™ said...

Games back then weren't harder. They just had a different skill set.

That or you didn't have enough Jack Daniels first.

At 1:21 AM, Blogger Paul said...

A lot of NES games were originally designed to be arcade games, or designed by people who made arcade games. If a game is beatable in the alloted amount of lives, you won't be making money. If the kid has to spend 3 dollars in quarters just to see the second level, you're doing good.

I have a couple admissions since we're talking of old games we never beat. First, I never beat Mario 3 without using the warp whistles. And secondly, I never beat the original Zelda. I couldn't find the freakin' last level, no matter what happened. I even looked it up online, a site told me exactly where it was, and I still couldn't open the damn passage. I gotta go back and do that next time I go back home...

And yet, I got to level 67 (I think... it was close to that if not) on Duckhunt one boring summer day. That's right, I didn't have the attention span to go through all of Mario 3, but I could shoot ducks for hours on end. And what did I do after every round I won? Blew the imaginary smoke off my barrel while winking at my adoring crowd that wasn't actually there.

At 5:17 AM, Blogger Nightmare said...

this is the video of the epic battle of Dave vs NES

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Bufuman said...

Yeah, games were tough as hell back in the day. But when we were kids, we spent all that time practicing as well, so we could kick their ass. I remember playing SMB3 and getting to the point where I could beat the game in my sleep. I picked it up on the Wii's Virtual Console a while back, and I couldn't even get past World 3. In my defense, water levels suck absolute ass, and World 3 is full of them.

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At 11:41 AM, Blogger randifaypayton said...

OMG! Duckhunt!! ...that reminds me of Joust. Trip down memory lane. Wow, thanks GM Dave. And, uh, better luck next time? Too bad GM powers do not transverse gaming systems. Them toads vs your flying friend-muah haha!

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I feel your pain. I still haven't beat the original Metroid. Not that it's anywhere near as hard as the games you were talking about, but with enough time and perseverance I could easily beat Metroid.

Unfortunately, I have very little perseverance and not enough time. But that shit is still hard compared to all the other metroids.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Leut said...

Heh. Metroid was the best! I used to play it over and over just to see how naked I could get Samus. Couldn't ever get past the bikini. Damn that was the best game.

Anyone rememebr Dr. Chaos? That freakin game was HARD. was until I figured out you could use something other than your knife to kill the boss monsters. Who knew hand grenades would be useful??

The best thing about the old NES games is that you can just SL an emulator and the ROMs (games) and play them on your PC any time you want. Just be careful and have your anti-virus software updated. Alot of sites have keyloggers or worse.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Chrysalis said...

Mmmmm... old games.... nice call on the Blaster Master, that was an awesome game. I used to love beating Jaws on the NES. I STILL love my Sega Master System, it's in my living room. ^_^ I agree that games were harder back then... of course now, if I don't have time to play or I forget how much a game sucked thru nostalgia I visit the Angry Video Game Nerd and watch him rant about it online. *laughs*

At 4:05 PM, Blogger LuxNecronis said...

Screw Battletoads. Screw Blaster Master. Screw World 8 of Super Mario Brothers. I'd even go so far as to say 'screw that dog from Duck Hunt.' Seriously.

On a completely unrelated topic... - this will change your life forever.

At 6:57 PM, Blogger Nate said...

haha. holy shit. I haven't read your blog in a couple weeks, but was catching up and the irony is justtoo much. I dusted off battletoads this afternoon hours before reading your blog. I played it and wondered why I ever tortured myself like that as a child. I got to the third level with the cars and just stared at the center of the screen letting my eyes focus out and fingers take over and beat the car part of the level third try just by muscle memory. Then I got to the $#*%$ surfing level and threw the control down in frustration and left.

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Yensil blogs again! said...

Anymore I play all my old games ( and some of the ones I never had) in the form of roms on my computer.
Two words that will save your sanity: save states.
I honestly don't know how we used to get by without them.

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Lissuh said...

Hahaha. I think I've surgically attached myself to my Genesis controller. Too bad I might need to replace it sometime soon. Damned C button keeps sticking -.-

Shining Force II = best game in the universe. Screw Sonic, though. I hated that spikey haired jerk.

At 3:49 AM, Blogger AlphaMaelstrom said...

I loved battletoads. Try a game that was a bit of a puzzler dave, a boy and his blob! :D

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

you forgot about he worst game for NES: monster mash. that game was impossible when i was 8, even the first level was like an epic battle that always ended in fail. screw that game.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Katherine said...

Yes, the games in ye olden days were actually sadistic in their difficulty - remember the original NES Final Fantasy? I still have flashbacks. Tents and Cabins, no escape from the endless going back to town, bosses... ugh the horror of it all was so addictive!

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Voltaic said...

Bah, forget that.

Anyone ever play Milon's Secret Castle?

I still haven't beaten that damn game. I've looked at gamefaqs. I've had friends help me. I even downloaded the rom and hacked it so enemies did no damage, so I could just run around freely.

I don't know what I'm missing. I don't know how to beat the dumb thing.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Miles said...

You want difficulty? 1 Name...:

Mike Tyson

Contra had nothing on PunchOut

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Ninja Gaiden III.

The American version (the one that was, because the Japanese apparently hate us, made a great deal harder than the Japanese version).

There are some new games that can compete on difficulty, though. I Wanna Be The Guy, anyone?

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Wartoc said...

After this post I busted out the NES emulator and decided to replay battletoads again...and again, and again...gahh I hate that game. I am convinced there is no way to beat that game without causing harm to anyone or anything in the vicinity of a hurling controller.

At 2:31 AM, Blogger Nipah said...

"I guarantee that there is no end to this game. The game designers made a handful of levels just in case and then said screw it because there was no way in hell anyone would ever make it anywhere near the end."

I have said this, almost word for word, about the NES version of Ghosts 'n' Goblins.

I also would suggest that anyone who still wants to play NES games to rummage around in yardsales for one of the awesome top loading NESes(?) that they made around the time the SNES was being released...

Certainly makes it a lot easier to play the games when you don't have to do the NES cartridge dance... Now I have an overwhelming desire to play River City Ransom...


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