Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 18, 2014

Malstrom’s ‘new’ NES games

Out of frustration, I had dug out my old NES from some closet. I took it apart (which was very hard with 30 year old screws that are *very* tight), cleaned the 72 pin connector, put it back together, and fired it up. Then I went to the three nearest GamesPlus stores near me and did a run on their NES games. The head guy at the flagship store took me aside and said, “You know what you are doing. Are you a collector?” I replied, “No, I am a gamer!” Needless to say, the head guy was stunned. Went whip-crack his whippet tail; and the beast was done.

I never owned many NES games as my NES experience was largely communal. I borrowed games from many, many people. I literally rented every NES game ever made. I had no reason to own many NES games. Trading NES games was common too. At one time I even owned Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A copy of Marble Madness got stolen from me and a copy of Battle Toads was never returned. Accessories, I own the standard action set (gray gun, not orange) with the NES Advantage and, for some reason, the Quickshot controller. WTF did I buy that Quickshot controller for? I also own the wired Four Score adapter (which is very useful because it extends the wires of your controllers plus gives turbo buttons. You can play with normal NES controllers now with ‘longer wire’ and turbo!).

Here is what I started with:

Super Mario Brothers / Duckhunt

Super Mario Brothers 3

Final Fantasy


Gauntlet II

Mega Man 2

Mega Man 3

Mega Man 4

Zelda II: When Zelda Used To Be Fun (It doesn’t say that, but it should!)


Interesting how at the end of my rotating, I ended up with mostly single player NES games. These games I ended up with are pretty good. Gauntlet II is obviously kept for the Four Score. That and Shadowgate were the weakest games I owned, and I consider both Shadowgate and Gauntlet II to be classics.

Off Malstrom went to the game store! They had a ‘buy 4 and get 5th one free’ which I took advantage of. I was limited to only what was there. A few games I got but had to return due to the cart being destroyed and unable to be played (no matter how it was cleaned). These games were Bubble Bobble, Life Force, and Guardian Legend. Alas. I’ll have to get them later. I returned them for other games.

Here is what I got:

Legend of Zelda

Super Mario Brothers 2

Mario Brothers

Donkey Kong Classics


Ice Hockey

Kid Icarus

Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers


Double Dragon II

Marble Madness

Dr. Mario


Adventures of Lolo 2


Lode Runner



All classics! All wonderful! All solid, solid games. I’m going to take a break of getting games as I play through these. Some of them like Boulderdash I missed out on the first time. I’m tempted to replace the cartridge art of Millipede with Iwata’s face to blame him (he was the programmer at HAL then, right?) for the boxed playable area of NES Millipede which is otherwise a fantastic port.

When I get more NES games, I’m definitely looking for Qix, Arkanoid, Gyruss, Guardian Legend, Blaster Master, Crystalis (found a copy but looked like dogshit so I didn’t bite), Battle of Olympus, Wrecking Crew, Balloon Fight, Life Force, and Bubble Bobble. I have a list of like 50 more games I want to get.

“But Malstrom, why didn’t you pick up Snow Brothers?”

Fuck you! I saw that game. It cost $160.

“But Malstrom, why didn’t you get Mega Man 5?”

Fuck you! That game is $70 and rising.

“But Malstrom, why didn’t you get the golden NES Tournament cartridge?”

Oh, you are a sick little reader! Yeah, like I have $30,000 lying around to buy a video game cart.

I might need to pick up a dogbone controller and maybe the NES Max.

Question to those with big NES libraries: how do you store your games? I have games spilling everywhere. With my ten games I started with, I had a nice plastic Nintendo made container that they all fit in with a nice lid. I wonder what options there are out there.

I have no interest in becoming a NES collector. I am only a player. I am getting games to play them, not to sit on a shelf. I’m not going to buy games I consider not fun.Interestingly, most NES players agree with me with what games are fun. You don’t see that often on consoles. The NES library has SO MUCH GOOD STUFF that it is overwhelming.

The employees at Games Plus are mostly miss. One guy was smart enough and skilled enough to clean my cartridges by unscrewing the cartridge, taking it apart, and cleaning it. He even did this for the original Mario Brothers which has no tabs (which impressed me). The other employees were baboons who I need to complain to their corporate headquarters. They would blow on the cartridges, they would put hand lotion on them, and many would spray windex on them. I use Q-tips with 70% alcohol to clean the contacts which is an OK method. I lack the screwdriver to take the cartridge apart (the best way to clean it). All the other methods are just destroying the cartridge. Idiots! There will never be new NES games. They are destroying them with their idiocy!

The head guy at the flagship store told me, “These NES games just keep flying off the shelves. And the prices keep rising. I don’t know what is going on!” What’s going on is that people are sick and tired of Game Industry’s crap and Nintendo’s crap of no account system. Playing on original hardware is the only option I have to OWN the game and play it how it was meant to be played.

“Does it really make a difference playing it on original hardware instead of emulated on PC or even on Wii and Wii Us?” Oh yes. You haven’t lived if you haven’t played Super Mario Brothers 3 or Mega Man 3 on original NES hardware. The precision of controls adds so much to the experience. It cannot be explained. It can only be felt. I realized why I enjoyed these games so immensely. The graphics are crap. The sounds are cute but drone on. It is the precision controls that give you a ‘zen-like’ moment of you connecting with the game and makes it so addictive. NES games are NES hard. They aren’t long and plodding like the SNES games or the soul destroying boredom of the later generations.



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