This is the second part of my section Life as a Gamer.
1990 – 1993: My first console
I consider this as the video-game boom era, a lot of innovation did happen on those years (both fails and success). After the Atari, another set of companies did enter in the battlefield with a great success and virtually they took a lot of the market that were kept by Atari for a decade (or more). I personally did play with NES (FAMICOM in Japan), as a Christmas gift, it was my true first console (for me only) and I have to say, it was a total jump from the Pixelated world of atari into a colorful world with better resolution (with pixels…. I know).
The NES was a great console, the controller felt kinda cheap, I think I broke like 4 or 5 of them in just a few months but in overall the graphic performance was great (better than Atari). The main improvement in gaming was the two buttons (A & B), while most of the Atari Games were played with just one, having a second button and a D-PAD (Directional Pad) did increase the gameplay a lot, now you can do three actions (seriously…), the typical Jump and Run or Jump and Shoot or the super advanced “Press both buttons for a special action“.
I did play a lot of games on this console but I can only remember a few that were quite remarkable for me:
- Super Mario Bros: This one came bundled within the NES (plus 40 additional games). I spent a lot of time try to save the princess and got my first very frustration, every time a weird mushroom-like guy was present near the end of each castle, “The princess is in another castle” that message is still a pain in my soul. Seven castles of frustrations and the eighth was the goal, God bless those Warp Pipes.
- Contra: No presentation is needed. I think this is the first game with a default difficulty level set to “LEGEND“. This was actually a gift from my brother, it was a 14 in 1 cartridge, 1 was the original and the rest were mere modification of the same game, most of them came with the Konami Code bundled, so it was easier…. in a part…..
- Megaman (Rockman in Japan) : the only game which difficulty is so close to Contra in several aspects: Unable to figure out a clear objective, just shoot everything that moves and more. I didn’t understand the game (I was a kid, duh!) but it became clear to me once I was able to defeat some bosses and steal their powers and then boom…. a mighty robot-like boy that will save the world from an evil doctor in some top-security castle that you may take several tries to beat……figures…
- Legend of Kage: The word that can define this game is Marvelous, because of ninjas, flame-breathing samurais, secrets items that were impossible to see a plain sight, did I say ninjas? The story was simple: Save the girl that some kind of flying ninja took from you, that’s simple. Armed with two kunais (or swords I think), you can deflect physical attacks, shurikens and other flying objects (except fire from those…. errr.. flame-breathing samurais), the difficulty was kinda high, but it was because of the speed of your character, it was really fast and you are attacked constantly and if you move too fast, a samurai may surprise you with a flame attack just in front of character’s face.
- Goonies: This one came in a 900 in 1 cartridge (you can guess how many real games were present, it was < 10). This was my first dungeon crawler on which no clue is provided and that was the difficulty of the game, I mean, you can found an armor but you don’t know its purpose until you find it out by accident. There were fire armor, water armor, some weird sunglasses that allow you to see in the dark places, a sock (to store an additional bomb, A SOCK!!!), all these items didn’t have any visual explanation, you may know what to do with them once you reach some danger like fire, a waterfall (yup, a waterfall can damage you) or when you simple play around with bombs.
Other games that I didn’t mention but were played: Bomberman, Joust, Combat, Othello, Pac-Man, Mach Rider, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros 3, B-Wing, Twin Bees and more.
Some actual footage from taken from an emulator: