Cost – Free if you own an old system and games, up to $75 if you buy one second hand.
Who can’t remember with fondness sitting in your basement in the 80’s with a white knuckled death grip on your Nintendo controller and eyes peeled to the television screen as you tried to rescue the princess in Super Mario Brothers? Who can remember begging and pleading with your parents to get you the 72 in 1 game for Christmas (72 games in one cartridge!)? Who can also remember their parent’s secret addiction to your NES as they stayed up into the wee hours of the morning playing Tetris? If you can relate to any or all of the above, it’s time to unpack that old system from the attic and blow the dust out of those cartridges one more time.
I am not a modern gaming girl. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to sit down and enjoy an hour of Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 gaming glory like Brad, but it always ends in ruin. I can’t get my mind around all of the buttons, multiple perspectives and rumbling remotes. So when Brad suggested we dust off the old NES and SuperNintendo, I was more than game (no pun intended).
We only had one game cartridge for the NES, but luckily it was the 72 in 1, so we had more than enough game options. After several attempts to get the game started, we made it to the menu screen and smiled giddily at all of the options. I was in my glory as we shot down tanks in Battle City, gobbled up ghosts in Pacman, clubbed seals in Ice Climber and ran from vicious cats in Mappy. I loved that the screens only went one way and I only had to worry about going left and right and two other buttons.
Even though Brad was still better than me, I didn’t care because it was nostalgic and fun. I would suggest, though, that you make an agreement beforehand not to leave each other behind in games such as Ice Climber (cough, cough, Brad). I only wish we had kept Duck Hunt. How I would love to aim that orange little gun at the screen and marvel at how the TV knew I had shot the ducks.
I will definitely be pulling out the ole NES again for as long as it will reset. I think it’s a fun way to go back in time and pretend you’re five again for a few hours. It’s great for “remember when” conversation and next time I think I’ll buy some retro treats like Warheads and Ring Pops to complete the experience.
Retro gaming night has been on our to-do list for a while and my thumbs have been just as anxious as the rest of me to walk down my gaming memory lane. At first I was concerned that the games may not live up to my childhood memories. In some cases that did happen, but overall it brought back those same feelings of fun and excitement I had as a kid.
I love that my experience with my old dusty NES lived up to all the cliches that belong to that system. I popped in the game, hit the power button, and groaned as the screen filled with random colors and characters. I tried hitting the reset button with no luck. So I did what any seasoned NES owner would do when a game won’t load. I blew on it. After a few more attempts it finally worked and we started gaming.
I found that most of the games on my 72-in-1 cartridge only held my attention for a few minutes, just like they did years ago. But there are a few hidden gems that brought back some great memories. Frantically trying to get back on my motorcycle after a big fall in Excite Bike, fighting a rough looking dude in a back alley in Urban Champ, and owning my opponent in Tennis all took me back to my childhood. Of course we left the best for last with Super Mario Bros. That game still holds up after all these years. Remember that invisible box in the first level with the hidden 1-UP, or taking as many warp tunnels as possible to get through the game in record time? Awesome.
Although we didn’t spend as much time playing the Super Nintendo, it wasn’t for a lack of love for the console. Super Mario World is a fantastic game, and NBA Jam helped pass many an afternoon growing up.
The great thing about retro game night is that Susan and I both had fun. Usually when I power up the Xbox 360 she runs for the hills (I have better luck with the PS3 because we use it mostly for movies), but I think we were equally excited to play some old favorites. The games are easy enough to pick up that you can give this a try even if you didn’t both grow up playing these games. So what are you waiting for? Dust off an old gaming console, have some fun for two, and let us know some of your favorite video games growing up.