Trojan

Overview / Review of Capcom’s 1987 NES game, Trojan.

Released under Capcom’s Captain Command “Challenge Series” label in 1987, Trojan is a port of a moderately successful arcade title, joining the trend established by Capcom’s prior US releases, including ports of 1942, Commando, and Ghosts ‘n Goblins. As the company’s earliest side-scrolling beat ’em up, Trojan laid an important foundation for many of the company’s later … Continue reading

DuckTales

Overview / Review of Capcom’s 1989 NES game, DuckTales.

To those who grew up in 1980s America, there are few symbols of pop-culture as widely recognized and fondly recalled as DuckTales. As Disney’s first ever syndicated cartoon, DuckTales managed to permanently ingrain itself in the consciousness of a generation with its Reaganomics inspired political slant, the introduction of some of the most memorable Disney characters ever created, and a thoroughly amazing theme song… Continue reading

Tecmo Cup Soccer Game

Overview / Review of Tecmo’s 1992 NES game, Tecmo Cup Soccer Game.

Tecmo’s penultimate American NES release, Tecmo Cup Soccer Game, follows largely in the footsteps of the company’s games that came before it. Drawing from Ninja Gaiden’s revolutionary use of cinematic cut scenes, Tecmo World Wrestling’s textual play-by-play commentary, and the technical and artistic talents of the developers that shaped and defined the Tecmo brand name across all of the publisher’s products… Continue reading

Maniac Mansion

Overview / Review of Jaleco’s 1990 NES game, Maniac Mansion.

Tapping the bizarrely violent and perverse tone of 70s and 80s B-movies, Maniac Mansion features the twisted exploits of Dr. Fred Edison, a peculiarly green hued man who has been conducting experiments in his basement for the past twenty years. When a local high school cheerleader goes missing, her boyfriend Dave takes his friends to check out the Edison Mansion, believing that she fell victim to foul play at the hands of the mad scientist… Continue reading

Punch-Out!!

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1990 NES game, Punch-Out!!

Before releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo had already established themselves as a power-player in the western arcade entertainment business. Previously finding success in bringing Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Popeye to the coin-op markets, the Japanese corporation had owners of gaming centers of the early 1980s waiting with bated breath for their next highly-anticipated quarter muncher. Nintendo answered with 1984’s Punch-Out!!… Continue reading

Duck Hunt

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1985 NES game, Duck Hunt.

As the direct descendant of Nintendo’s 1976 projector-based Laser Clay Shooting System game Beam Gun: Duck Hunt, the classic NES Zapper game serves as a nod of recognition to one of Nintendo’s earliest successes in the electronic gaming market. As a game that came bundled with every NES model that included a light gun, Duck Hunt was destined to become the most… Continue reading

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1985 NES game, Donkey Kong Jr. Math.

Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Nintendo’s ”contribution” to the cognitive development of young children, was widely considered the weakest of the NES’ first wave of games, epitomizing the occasionally myopic approach of Nintendo’s marketing machine during the early 1980s. Much like R.O.B., Donkey Kong Jr. Math was soon regarded as a misguided attempt to do something different, and the Education “Series” … Continue reading

Pinball

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1985 NES game, Pinball.

Released with the 1985 test market launch in New York City of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Pinball stands as one of the eighteen titles buttressing the very foundation of the newly founded Nintendo of America’s experimental business venture. Working within the confines of an impossibly claustrophobic 24k ROM chip, Nintendo rewarded early-adopters with the most advanced pinball simulator of its time in this pixel-perfect port of their 1983 arcade game of the same name. Continue reading

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

Overview / Review of Acclaim’s 1991 NES game, The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants.

After three years of starring in short animated segments on The Tracey Ullman Show, Fox Broadcasting readied the pointedly absurd yet telling antics of the famous yellow family for the spotlight. First airing over the 1989-1990 broadcast season, The Simpsons met with immediate success, breaking all previously existing Fox rating records. The Simpsons, however, was more than just…
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Super Mario Bros. 2

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1988 NES game, Super Mario Bros. 2.

Super Mario Bros. 2 has long since been considered the “odd-duck” of the Mario series, eschewing many of the gameplay elements that its older brother established when released with the NES in 1985. Unbeknownst to the American public when Super Mario Bros. 2 appeared on US shelves in 1988, the true sequel to Nintendo’s smash launch Continue reading

Mega Man 2

Overview / Review of Capcom’s 1989 NES game, Mega Man 2.

Despite the original game not selling enough copies to warrant an immediate follow-up, Mega Man 2 saw its initial release on the Japanese market a mere twelve months after Mega Man’s initial publication. Completed over a hellishly short four month development cycle, Mega Man 2 was to become an industry-wide symbol of the passion and dedication that went into many early NES projects: Capcom… Continue reading

North & South

Overview / Review of Kemco’s 1990 NES game, North & South.

Juxtaposed against the dramatic tensions of the American Civil War, North & South’s comedic take on the hostilities that split America in two presents players with an opportunity to rewrite the course of US history. Steeped in the aesthetic stylings of the reknowned 1970s Belgian comic Les Tuniques Bleues (The Blue Tunics), North & South combines turn-based strategy with action in a briskly-paced… Continue reading

Marble Madness

Overview / Review of Milton Bradley’s 1989 NES game, Marble Madness.

Marble Madness, Atari’s 1984 arcade hit, was a landmark game for several reasons. As the flagship title for Atari’s 16-bit System 1 arcade hardware, it flaunted its state-of-the-art muscle with its convincing pseudo-3D graphics, unique trackball controls, and the first ever implementation of … Continue reading

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1987 NES game, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Before releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo had already established themselves as a power-player in the western arcade entertainment business. Previously finding success in bringing Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Popeye to the coin-op markets, the Japanese corporation had owners of gaming centers of the early 1980s waiting with bated breath for their next highly-anticipated quarter muncher. Nintendo answered with 1984’s Punch-Out!!… Continue reading

Metroid

Overview / Review of Nintendo’s 1987 NES game, Metroid.

While Nintendo’s golden child has often dominated the spotlight, Miyamoto was not the only force instrumental to Nintendo’s meteoric rise: equally prolific and influential was Gunpei Yokoi, the head of Nintendo’s R&D1 development team. As the one responsible for the mantra under Nintendo owes its continuing success in recent years (the “imaginative consideration of matured technology”), Yokoi headed… Continue reading