With so much turmoil going on in the world today: Joss Whedon leaving Twitter, great TV shows getting canceled [R.I.P. Forever], and odd DC cinematic universe cast photos, I began to yearn for the days of my youth when things were simpler, and the closest thing we had to the internet was a fax machine. So last week I rolled up my sleeves, and dug out my old NES system from my mom's garage to see if it could help me recapture a bit of magic from a time when there was still a bit of optimism in the air. 
classic nes system
Swoon... You'll always be my first.
Over the past few days I've only playing NES games from my massive game library. It's caused my allergies to kick up from blowing into the cartridges, but it's been worth it.  I know I could have gone the emulator route, but what can I say? I'm a purist.
NES Sprites
Sprites, sprites, sprites, sprites, everybody!
NES ControlerNeeds more contours.
After playing through my favorites, like Mario Bros. 3, Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania, The Legend of Zelda [gold cartridge!], and Megaman, I was feeling pretty good and a solid sense of accomplishment. I still had the touch to dominate with the two-button terminator known as the Nintendo controller. Then, by some cruel act of fate, I came upon another box of games. You see, my mom, Jackie, just so happened to also be digging in the garage this past weekend for some old tarot cards and was hit in the head with another box of old NES games (don't worry, she's fine, but I bet she didn't see it coming!). In a fit, she brought the box into the house and yelled at me for about 20 minutes about all my 'junk' in the garage. After I nodded, and agreed with her to make her go away, I peeked into the box, and was hit with a deep sense of dread. For in this box, which I previously forgot existed, was a collection of my unbeaten NES games. Games with bosses so hard, and levels so unwinnable, I threw them all into one box, and hoped it would be as lost as the Tesseract at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger.

tesseract ocean
You should have left it in the garage... I mean ocean.
I looked over each title and read each instruction manual trying to recall what stopped me from achieving 8-bit victory. In a determined mood, I decided to take on the challenge of beating these games once and for all, and add them to my list of conquered video games. Mind you, there are games I haven't beaten over the years for various systems, but there's something about having un-won NES games that was sticking in my craw. Nowadays, being a well-seasoned gamer with 1000's of hours of playing time, I should be able to beat such simple games with ease, and laugh off the rage I had as a child that caused me to whip the controller across the room. Right?
rage faceWhy I can't beat you!
I looked over each title and read each instruction manual trying to recall what stopped me from achieving 8-bit victory. In a determined mood, I decided to take on the challenge of beating these games once and for all, and add them to my list of conquered video games. Mind you, there are games I haven't beaten over the years for various systems, but there's something about having un-won NES games that was sticking in my craw. Nowadays, being a well-seasoned gamer with 1000's of hours of playing time, I should be able to beat such simple games with ease, and laugh off the rage I had as a child that caused me to whip the controller across the room. Right? Wrong! As of today, both of my NES controllers are currently broken and this is my list of unbeaten games in no particular order. PHOEBE SMASH

Kid Icarus

Picture
It's not so much the difficulty of this game... Alright, it's pretty damn difficult. It's the length of this game. It takes forever to play and when you're mission is to go up and up and up some more, it begins to wear on you by driving your motor skills to nothing as you reach smaller platforms to jump on, slippery surfaces to stay atop of for long periods of time, and backtracking galore. I was able to reach the final Medusa boss but by that time, I was so worn out, I couldn't put up a good fight. You win this time Medusa, but I have the continue code and will crush you yet when I've caught up on sleep and have a 12-pack of Mtn. Dew.

kid icarus boss
My hands are stone at this point. Medusa FTW.

Ghosts N' Goblins

Ghosts n goblins NES COVER
What the hell? You can only get hit twice before you're dead? Then, if you reach the boss, "Satan?!?" You have to have the 'right weapon' to beat him or else you have to replay level 5 at a harder difficulty? After two rounds with the Prince of Darkness, I saw the light and quit.

naked arthur
Yep, fight in your underpants. Seems like a good idea.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Picture
Sigh. If driving the Turtle van in the overhead view maze of New York City streets doesn't drive you mad, the loose gameplay will. It's impossible to dodge FREAKING anything leaving you with little power to beat any of the quick moving bosses. I never even reached The Shredder before slamming the power button off.  Give me Turtles in Time any day of the week and I'll showcase some serious "Turtle Power" but when it comes to this game, I'm as powerful as a turtle on it's back.


TMNT NES
Yep, that just gonna have to stay like that. BECAUSE I CAN'T BEAT BEBOP!

Fester's Quest

Festers Quest NES
I'm pretty sure I got this as a re-gift from my classmate Emily in the 4th grade. She hated me. Well, played, Emily, because I hate this game. Like Ghosts N' Goblins, you can only get hit twice before your dead and if you die you have to start all over again. Plus the battle system requires you to keep tapping the B button to shoot stupid blobs. After a good three hours, and a sore thumb, I stopped playing. Sorry world, it looks like the aliens will win.


Uncle Fester
Yeah, just relax while your game sucks.

Marble Madness

Picture
I really have no explanation for this one other than that the time thing really gets my anxiety into high gear. I can't take it. I freak out. I'll never beat this one.


Marble Madness NES
I CAN'T TAKE IT!

Bases Loaded

Picture
I generally hate sports. This game is probably the reason why. I think this was a game my dad liked to play. I have a pretty good understanding of how the game of baseball works and what the rules are, but for some reason, I cannot for the life of me get three outs on the other team! There is no mercy rule in this game, so I removed the cartridge after the 4th grand slam by the CPU. And don't say I suck at this game because I'm a girl! I will throw down and beat anyone in NBA Jam anytime. Try me.


Bases Loaded NES
Swing and a miss.
I'll note that I did in fact beat many of the games in the box including the impossibly hard Double Dragon III, Silver Surfer, Battletoads, and Top Gun to name a few, but the ones listed that continue to challenge me.

If you went back to face your NES library, what games would you like to beat?  Leave your comments below.
 


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