Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 13, 2015

Email: Playing old games with a friend

I have a friend of mine that has never played any Super Nintendo games. He grew up with a Sega Genesis. He came by because he was interested in checking out the SNES emulator I had on my computer, mainly because he had watched some people on Youtube talk about them. I got a bunch of ROMs of games I grew up with, or games that I had wanted to play but never did. It was very interesting.

We both played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles In Time. This was one of the first SNES games I ever played and one of my favorites. I hadn’t played it in many years, yet playing it with a friend of mine was a complete blast. This game still holds up well, and is damn-near perfect. The game looks, plays, and sounds excellent, and there’s a lot of options for messing with the difficulty, or even with the graphics (can make the turtles look cartoonish or comic-looking). The game isn’t too brutally difficult either, which I like. The game is long enough without wearing out its welcome, and offers a huge variety in its stages, going through modern day New York, then the Technodrome, then going through time from the time of dinosaurs, pirates, the Wild West, then the near-future in a Blade Runner looking city, then the far future on a space colony. The humor is something I forgot about, with the stages all having names, and the historical ones having stuff like “Buried My Shell At Wounded Knee” which as a kid I never got. If you were fan of the series as a whole the game does a VERY good job of paying tribute not just to the cartoons, but also the movies and related media with enemies and characters drawn from all of it. And the music is just excellent from start to finish. The gameplay also isn’t too complicated but does feature some neat little nuances to give it some depth.

He really was shocked at how much fun it was. Recently, I let him play Star Fox. I myself hadn’t played it in a long time, but what’s funny is that recently he had played Star Fox 64 for the first time, and he initially struggled with it. He liked it but hated Fox’s wingmates, and REALLY hated Slippy. Playing Star Fox SNES we both agreed that 64 played better, but that this game had better music and your wingmates weren’t insufferable to listen to. I still think it holds up well, and is the template that Nintendo needs to go back to if they are serious about making the series viable again (I’m not holding my breath on that).

Contra 3. I like Contra, but I suck at it. We both sucked at it, haha. We’ve played it several times when he’s come by and we did get further at it each time. It’s not *as* hard as I remember it being as a kid. I DO NOT like the stupid overhead stages, and neither does he. The rest of the game is fun though, even though like I said, I’m not good at it.

I also let him borrow my PSP to play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. He initially borrowed it to play for a night or two, but soon he was asking if it was alright to keep hanging on to it, until I just told him to hold onto it until he completely finished it. He got hooked on it. Eventually he finished it and returned it. He played the remake of Mega Man X for the PSP as well, and rather liked it.

My niece and nephew have both wanted to constantly play these games with my emulator (I have a separate laptop set up so that they can play it without using my desktop), and they play Mario Bros. constantly. My niece LOVES Donkey Kong Country. Her and my nephew also love Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I forgot how much I enjoyed Tiny Toons Adventures for the SNES (one of my favorite cartoons growing up).

What has surprised me is that a lot of these games I grew up with have aged well. I also got a bunch of games that I played but aren’t as well known such as Run Saber, or Alien 3 (for the SNES, which is actually better than the movie). Most of the SNES games I played all aged pretty well. Some aren’t spectacular, but they are still enjoyable to play.

I think something to point out is that even on the SNES, Nintendo’s first party games are leagues above what they are putting out today in terms of effort and ambition. Today, not so much. Miyamoto just recently mentioned making “3D Mario more accessible to 2D Mario fans” along with mentioning Pikmin 4. Well, I think we can safely say that Miyamoto is the George Lucas of gaming at this point.

 

First, you start with the roms. “Hey, these games have aged well!”

Then you try plugging in your original hardware with your limited games. “Hey, this is tons of fun!”

Then you discover the nearest retro game shop. Epiphany hits. “Hey, look at all these games I always wanted to get but couldn’t. Now, I can! And I will!”

Then after buying some games, you buy more games. “$200 for Earthbound? Sounds like a sweet deal!”

Then you become more maniacal and obsessed. “Hey, this NES isn’t doing it anymore. Let me mod it for RGB. Oh yeah!”

Then you buy a $400 Framemeister from Japan, $50 SCART adapters from Europe, all so you can play your old consoles on modern TVs. “Look how beautiful it all looks!”

Then you buy reproduction carts and homebrew carts. “Yes, I will buy Secret of Mana 2 and Final Fantasy 5 for the SNES. Oh, and River City Ransom 2 for the SNES as well. I will buy Final Fantasy 3 for the NES. Mr. Gimmick and Super Mario Brothers 2 [Japan] will be on my NES!”

Then you will be lost, sunk into the depths of El Diablo.

I’m not one to talk. I’m currently playing a Japanese only game reproduced in an American cartridge, translated, playing 5 players simultaneously on my SNES. 5 player games on the SNES! Eat your heart out, N64!

 

 


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