Saturday, April 13, 2013

Classic gaming, discovering new gems is always a fun time.

One of my favorite things about retro gaming is finding new games that you've never had the opportunity to play before and trying them out for the first time to find that you've been missing out on something special for a very long time. This has been my experience since around 2006 when I got back into retro gaming after having been away from playing classic games since around 1998 or so, and it's been quite a fun experience.

I've been an avid fan of the Nintendo Entertainment System since the late 80's and most of my fondest gaming memories are from the early 90's when I really sank my teeth into the NES. A lot more of my love came for the NES between 1996-1997 when I was going through my “game room” years and during these times I've bonded with the NES quite a bit and it has become my favorite gaming system of all-time. In recent years I've rekindled my love for the NES through buying something called the “Generation NEX” by a company called Play Messiah, which is basically an NES system clone that is small and compact and plays NES and Famicom games. I immediately started buying classic NES games again through some local video game stores that carry retro titles as well as buying through eBay and other retro gaming sites, and I fell in love with the NES all over again through discovering games that I've either never played before or only played once or twice back when I was a kid. It's been quite a blast! During my most recent foray into playing classic NES titles I really wanted to discover games that I've either never had the chance to play before or have yet to really sink my teeth into. My goal was to check out some new games that would help to flesh out my collection of classics that I've spent more than half my life playing, and so far I've stumbled upon some titles that really have stood out and I'm sure I'll be finding even more as time rolls on. The first game that really took me by storm is a “3D” dungeon crawler called Swords & Serpents, a game that basically is an on screen first-person representation of the classic board game Dungeons & Dragons. Aside from the VERY annoying password system (you need a different password for all 3 of your characters), this game is an absolute joy to play and paved the way for the TSR's AD&D first person RPG's that hit PC's and consoles in the mid 90's. I played this game from beginning to end multiple times a few years back and it's only a matter of time until I sit down and do it again, it's really quite enjoyable and has left me with some fond memories through the time I had with it. Soon after that I discovered a port of a classic arcade game called N.A.R.C, which is a traditional 2-player side scrolling shoot em' up where you play as cops trying to take out bad guys who are supposedly dealing drugs. Picture Contra, but not as pretty. N.A.R.C is a game I was well aware of back in the early 90's but yet I never thought to rent it or play it at all, not even any friends of mine owned it. But in this era of retro gaming I've discovered it and am highly enjoying it. I think I remember this game being one of a few machines that were inside of a local skating rink that featured a handful of arcade games back in the early 90's, and I definitely remember it being featured in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the scene where Danny is hanging out in Shredder's clubhouse (or whatever). Regardless, if you're into two player co-op shooters like Contra, or any kind of two player games in general, than give this one a shot.

 A set of titles that have ticked my fancy as of recently have been the Adventure Island series, which are once again games that I was well aware of back in the day but never paid any attention to despite their popularity. A month or so back I was playing Adventure Island (the first one) almost every night as I tried my hardest to advance through the game, but let me tell you, this game is NO cakewalk and is one of the hardest side-scrolling platform titles I've ever had the chance to play. After about 2-3 weeks of playing every night and learning the levels I was able to finally finish it and move onto the second game. Adventure Island II is a fun game and they've added a lot of different things to it to give the game a challenge and to make it different from the first, but I preferred the first game more and immediately went back to play it. Unfortunately I can only get through about half of the game this time around and am once again stuck, lol. I guess I will just have to re-learn the levels like I did the first time around. As for the second game, I returned back to that one and cannot seem to beat it as it gets extremely hard about halfway through. Adventure Island II is still an amazing platform title, I'd say it's very addictive and offers the player a fun (if not hard) experience, but the first Adventure Island has become something of a personal favorite of mine since I began playing it a little while back. Also, I've stumbled across a game called Star Tropics over the past several months, which is yet another game that I knew of but unfortunately ignored when I was younger despite my father once asking me if I wanted that game or something different circa 1990 during a trip to a local toy store. Man, what was I thinking by not ever playing this game! Seriously, it's a lot like the original Legend of Zelda but with prettier graphics and a deeper story and the game is an absolute blast to play. I have played through it twice, the first time just to screw around and the second time to really take in everything there is to do (which is a lot). It's 6 hours of pure gaming bliss and I highly recommend it to my readers who happen to be retro gamers, if you truly loved Legend of Zelda than you'll adore Star Tropics.

In retro gaming there is always a little something for everyone. You're given the chance to play games spanning multiple decades, multiple systems, multiple categories, with multiple people or all by your lonesome. There is a huge world to discover when playing classic video games, you just have to take the time to do it. I'm so glad that I've stumbled upon many classic games that I've yet to have the chance to play, now that I'm getting around to playing them I'm finding more and more than the fun and wonder of retro games is so much better than the modern crop available in every major store in the United States or around the world. Sure, today's games can be fun, but let's face it.......nothing beats classic gaming on the NES, SNES, Genesis, 2600, PSX, or N64. The golden age of gaming may be over, but the roots in which it planted will never die and I encourage everyone reading this to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the games you've known and loved your whole life and to discover something new while your at it. Feel free to message me on Twitter @Manga4life and let me know of your favorite classic games and if there is something I should be checking out, I'm always open to new suggestions.

And that does it for another entry here at The Thought Corner! As always, you can catch me over at the CBR forums, forums, the Retro Roundtable, and the official Dynamite Entertainment forums, or you can hit me up at Twitter @Manga4life. Take care everyone!

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