nes

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Matt Barton's picture

NES Turns 20; celebrate with Dinner at Bushnell's Uwink

Perhaps one reason why we've been seeing so many features about the NES lately was in preparation for today--can you believe the NES is 20? Classicgaming.com is celebrating with a nice overview of the unit's history, starting with the Famicom and going through some of the "might have beens." No matter what you think of Nintendo today, you have to give them credit for pushing through the wads of nay-sayers after the "Videogame Crash" and showing that, duh, videogames are here to stay. To celebrate the NES's big 20, you might consider stopping by Nolan Bushnell's new restaurant--Uwink Unlike Bushnell's other restaurant chain (Chuck E Cheese), Uwink is catering to an older, more mature crowd. The idea is simple--lots of tech, but an emphasis on using the tech to get people socializing (rather than draw them into the autism of World of Warcraft!). The place is definitely big on Mac, and I'm not talking Big Macs here (most dishes appear to be vegan-compatible). It all looks incredible, and I only wish I lived closer to California! Anyone in the Woodland Hills area care to check it out and report back?

Matt Barton's picture

Legend of Zelda Retrospective Video & NES quiz

Nintendo and particulary Zelda fanboys will want to check out this video retrospective on the legendary series. It's a fun trip down memory lane and makes some interesting if potentially inaccurate statements about the series. I am serious about the "fanboy" part, because less biased gamers will no doubt cringe at some of the over-the-top claims the commentator makes about the game. For instance, he claims it was the first RPG to allow the player to wander about an expansive map, the first RPG to "pioneer a complex combat system," and so on. You get the idea--sheer rubbish. The commentator also claims that Zelda was the first console game to offer saved games (can anyone confirm this?). While I find the video entertaining, I am a bit put off by the blatant inaccuracies, which unfortunately seem all-too-common with these otherwise well-produced viddies. On a positive note, see what you can score on this awesome NES screenshot quiz! I apparently "suck"...

brn's picture

whoami - A member's musings on his gaming history

"Willy Byte in the Digital Dimension" for the Apple II"Willy Byte in the Digital Dimension" for the Apple III don't know if this'll show up on my profile page, but I felt like writing up a short history of me and gaming. (ed.: I bumped this to the front page of AA)

1978 - Mmm. Coding basic text games on our Apple II+. Plus I could make a cool string of wine goblets run up the side of the screen.

10 PRINT "Y"
20 PRINT "I"
30 GOTO 10

1980 - The folks bring home an Atari 2600. Love blooms. The games I remember most from this time are Pac Man, Space Invaders, Berzerk, Swordquest: Earthworld, and Combat. Like many people I've talked to, you always had to have one friend with an Intellivision and one with a ColecoVision so that everyone could play every system. :)

Matt Barton's picture

NES Worlds: Novels based on NES Games

1UP is running a hilarious feature called 8-Bit Lit: Behind the Worlds of Power. These were books for children based on such popular NES games as Castlevania, Metal Gear, and Ninja Gaiden. The authors of the article do a great job providing snippets from these amazingly poorly written books published by Scholastic. Apparently, Scholastic was even more draconian about censorship than Nintendo!

Matt Barton's picture

G4's History of the NES

Someone was kind enough to record and post "G4 Icons: NES" to YouTube. I'm not sure how long this video will be available (I can't believe that anyone involved acquired permission for the file), so you'd better watch it while you can, either at the link or below the fold. While Bill will undoubtedly be able to point out a zillion mistakes, at least they have lots of comments from folks on-the-scene at the time, such as the president of Nintendo America--and there's also interviews with Steven Kent, game historian. There are also lots of nice shots from NES games and Robbie the Robot. While I don't much care for G4's spastic, ADD-style editing, it's an entertaining way to spend 22 minutes--though for some reason the audio sync is off by quite a margin. Nintendo fans will also want to check out 1UP's Ten Great Mario Moments, an outstanding multimedia feature all-about Mario: "It's a look at how the series' influence has triple-jumped from crusty carts to TV shows and home-made videos, speed runs to full theater productions (with Mario and Luigi duetting on the marimba)." It's a bit frightening, but it does demonstrate just how wide an impact Mario and the NES had on American gaming culture (and beyond!)

Matt Barton's picture

The Search for Retrogaming Booty

Commodore 128: Would you buy this for $20?Commodore 128: Would you buy this for $20?Arikhan of Destructoid has a fun post up about why he enjoys retrogaming. Most of his reasons seem centered on the rather dismal situation of his pocketbook, though he cites other factors as well--more original music, a calming look to the 8-bit graphics, and simpler controls. Normally, something like this wouldn't be very interesting, but he adds one dimension that I hadn't thought of before (but now realize is one of the reasons I enjoy retrogaming): The Hunt. How much of your devotion to retrogaming stems from scavenging in dusty bargain bins and used game shops--not to mention classifieds and ebay--for treasures?

Matt Barton's picture

Virtual Reality Super Mario

Well, it had to happen sometime: Virtual Reality Super Mario. There's not too much to see here; just a demonstration of the unit with the game playing in the background. I'm sure the appeal of something like this just can't be captured in a YouTube--you'd have to be wearing that headset to appreciate it. Still, that doesn't look too comfortable (or intuitive) having to jerk your arm up to hit those blocks. I'm surprised they don't have him jumping on a DDR-type pad, but I suppose the logistics for that might be difficult. I think it'd be easier just to use the default NES controller, or perhaps something with dual analogs. At any rate, it's neat and definitely looks better than that clunky, Dire Straits -video type VR we're so used to seeing. YouTube below the fold.

Matt Barton's picture

"Out of Control": Chris Kohler's History of Wacky Controllers

Chris Kohler, author of Retrogaming Hacks and PowerUP, has a fantastic feature at 1-UP called Out of Control: The Craziest Game Controllers Ever. This article is definitely a must-visit for all retrogaming fans, particularly those with an interest in novel input devices. Where else are you going to read about Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, the Korean arcade fisting simulator? I thought I had seen some quirky controllers before, but Pom Poms? An accordion? There are also lots of comparisons here between Atari and Nintendo, as well as a look into modern arcades.

Matt Barton's picture

Action Figures and Legal NES Clones

I've got two tangentially related items for your reading queue today. First, Lore Sjöberg of Wired News has posted some funny ideas for new game controllers. While some are ridiculous (a brick?), others are more intriguiging, even if meant only as a joke. For some reason, his idea for a game controller based on an action figure seems on-the-money, though I'm not sure how it could be implemented. I'm sure that most of us here grew up playing with action figures, whether they were those crappy Star Wars figurines or those GI Joes that went weak-in-the-knees after a few hours of play. Still, we all had a great time with them, and no doubt part of the thrill was the tactile aspect of it. I think this is one reason why so many grown men and women indulge in games like WarHammer, which feature little miniatures in lieu of the more abstract creatures and heroes in the typical D&D table session. I think Lore's tongue-in-cheek suggestion might actually lead towards some really innovative games and control schemes.

Matt Barton's picture

Mario Active Desktop

Mario Active DesktopMario Active DesktopSomeone named "Shadow" has created a really neat active desktop for Windows based on Mario. It's animated and actually lets you manipulate a few things, but it's technically unfinished. It took about five minutes to download it and get it running on my own desktop, and I think it looks nice! Apparently, it's using Javascript to get the animations and interactive parts working.

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