Football games – John Elway’s Quarterback

Genre:  Sports
Platform:  NES

I am a HUGE (American) football fan.  The regular season kicks off tonight, so to celebrate it, I thought I would discuss a football game I played as a kid – John Elway’s Quarterback.  Previous to this, the only football games I had played were ones that my uncles owned – Mattell Football and one of those vibrating football tables:

I was only a kid – maybe 5-9 when I played those two older games.  I didn’t really know how football worked at that time.  My knowledge was pretty much limited to touchdowns, field goals, sacks and interceptions.  The fine details of the game were a bit beyond my interest.  Those two electronic games were perfect for that because that’s all they focused on.  John Elway’s Quarterback for the NES really helped to teach me more about the game.

In this game, similar to every game now, you had to be familiar with those fine details.  You needed to understand receiver routes and plays, but you were really more the head coach.  You called the plays and your team tried to carry it out.  This is the screen where you made your decisions:

john-elway-play-2

As a kid, it didn’t make too much sense, but it did the more I watched football on TV.  As I look at this now, however, it’s very basic stuff.  I really did enjoy this game and I got to be pretty good at it.  I like these older games better than the current-day football games.  They are just too complicated for my liking.  I miss the days of the simpler play.  There were many other football games on the NES as well and they were all fairly similar.  We just happened to have had this one and so it’s what I knew.

 

Oldies but Goodies – Paperboy

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  NES

It is Labor Day here in the US, which is a day honoring workers.  What a better game to review today than a job that many people started out with – a paper route.  This game was released on multiple platforms, but I had primarily played it on the NES.  It started as an arcade game.

In this game, you are a paperboy simply trying to deliver all of his papers accurately and on time.  However, this is a neighborhood from hell for a paperboy.  There are obstacles at every single house on your route.  If it’s not a kid on a big-wheeler trying to run you over, it’s a cat getting in your way.  You can take your revenge, however.  Using well-timed throws, you can break windows and vandalize other items.  This was where most of the fun was for me.

Your goal is to deliver all of your papers to the correct houses as accurately as you can.  It’s a near-miracle if you can actually throw one in the paperbox.  It will count if you get your paper somewhere on their property.  You can ride either on the sidewalk or on the street.  Both have their perils.  The sidewalk gives you little time to react to the obstacles, but you’re likely to be run over by a car on the street and it’s harder to make your throws.  At the end of your route, you have to go through an obstacle course for some reason.

This game is HARD.  I think I got to the fourth level once.  I could cruise past the first level, but after that, it was tough.  I still played it repeatedly, however.  It’s a fun game and it kept me playing for hours.  I played it recently and found that I just didn’t have the patience for this anymore.  It’s a good game, though, and I recommend it!

Oldies but Goodies – Ducktales

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

I was a big fan of the Ducktales cartoon as a kid.  In fact, I have the entire series on DVD and it is still a great cartoon today.  I was excited to see that they turned it into a video game back in the NES games.  I played through this one quite a bit as a kid.  You played as scrooge.  Someone came in and stole your money and it was up to you to get it back.  As was the case with the cartoons, you traveled around the world in search of your treasure.

The game featured a neat control room which let you select the levels you wanted to play.  It was a map of the world.  You could visit the Amazon, arctic, Transylania (my favorite level), the moon and more.  You had the assistance of your crew – Launchpad, Gyro, Huey, Dewey and Louie and more!  Each level was fairly large and had its fair of challenges and secret areas.  You were armed with your cane, which doubled as a pogo stick so you could stomp the baddies.

The graphics were pretty good for an 8-bit game and the soundtrack was catchy.  I loved everything about this game.

This game has since been remastered for the XBox and the graphics received a much improved facelift.  The story is pretty close to the original game, with a few additions that add to it.  See the difference in graphics below:

Ducktales remastered

If you liked the original, you’ll like this one as well.  However, I will still likely play the original from time to time just for a bit of nostalgia.  There was also a Ducktales 2, but I don’t think I ever played that one.

 

Oldies but Goodies – Slalom

Genre:  Sports
Platform:  NES

I am heading on vacation for a few days in Colorado, so I thought a fitting last post for a few days to be Slalom for the NES.  I’m not going to be skiing, of course, but it’s the first mountain-themed game I thought of. There are a lot of new things to talk about in the video game world and I’ll discuss them when I get back.

I played this at a friend’s house in middle school and thought it was a lot of fun.  The idea is pretty simple – you are a skiier going down the slopes in the mountains.  You need to fly down the hill and weave your way between poles, trees, other skiiers and sledders. Whoever keeps these tracks should be fired because there are so many things that get in your way.  When you finish, your guy gives a victorious, although somewhat pained-looking celebration.

The thing I remember most about this game is that it was HARD, just like so many old games.  There weren’t any continues, so you just had to start over each time.  The graphics were pretty good but static.  The background never moves, but that’s probably good here because you really need to focus on the course.  There was no story or anything, you are just a dude skiing down a hill.

NES Mini

The gaming world is all abuzz about this new product from Nintendo.  It’s a cute mini-NES system that comes pre-loaded with 30 of Nintendo’s better games from the classic system.  It uses the original controllers (or newer third-party versions) and connects to your TV via wifi.  The price is a bit steep at $60.  I’m a little concerned at how these games will look on a 50″ TV, but I’m sure Nintendo has worked that out.  You can read the original article from Giant Bomb here.

Rumors say that we won’t be able to get our grubby hands on this until November.

Here is the list of games:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Oldies but Goodies – Jezzball/Qix

Genre:  Puzzle
Platform:  PC (Windows 3.1)/Arcade

Jezzball was a wonderful time waster which came bundled with Windows 3.1.  As a kid, I spent a lot of time playing this one late into the night.  Your goal was to section off as much of the screen as you could by avoiding the balls on the screen.  You drew a line that went out in opposite directions from the place you clicked on.  If one of the balls hit your line, you lost a life.  It sounds simple, and it was, but it required precise timing.

Jezzball was actually inspired by the game Qix for the arcades and later NES and Gameboy color.  It was the same premise.  There weren’t a lot of frills about either game, but they were both very entertaining to my math-inclined mind.  I don’t really have a lot else to say about these, but if you never had the pleasure, I’m sure you can find Jezzball for free online somewhere.

 

 

Chey’s Top 25 – #12 – Tetris

Genre:  Puzzle
Platform:  All

This was the game that started it all, folks.  Video games had been fun, leisurely things to help pass the time up until this one.  It’s Tetris, the first uber-addictive game, at least in my world.  I was in sixth or seventh grade when we rented this one for the NES.  I remember distinctively because my cousin Nikki was spending the night, which was normally a really big and fun deal.  This game made me all but ignore her.  My mom tried to pry me away without much luck.  It was the first time I remember feeling addicted to something.

The game is really simple and I don’t have too much to say about it.  You line up the pieces and complete lines to clear them.  The more you clear at once, the higher your score.  Your goal is to keep playing for as long as you can.  It’s been done on every platform since its birth in 1984.  It was developed by two Russians, and I would argue it’s the best thing to ever come from that country (including the space program!).  The individual pieces are called Tetriminos.  You can find all sorts of Tetris-inspired memorabilia.  I have a board game called Tetris link and Matt made me Tetrimino shelves:

Tetris Shelves

My favorite version will always be the NES version, simply because it was the first one to get me hooked.  I have played many, many different versions of it, but this one is still one of the best.  Not to brag, but I’m pretty good at it.  If you have somehow never played it, just do a Google search for it and you’ll find a version free online.

Oldies but Goodies – 3D World Runner

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  NES

We had this game when I was a kid.  It was a really quirky game which had you running.  That was the premise, as far as I knew.  You were running through a world.  Toward what, I don’t know and never did find out.  Here’s what Wikipedia says:

“In the game, the player assumes the role of Jack the WorldRunner, a wild “space cowboy” on a mission to save various planets overrun by serpent-like beasts. The game takes place in Solar System #517, which is being overrun by a race of aliens known as Serpentbeasts, who are led by the evil Grax.  As WorldRunner, the player must battle through eight planets to destroy Grax.”

Yeah, the game never mentions a word of this when you’re playing.  As far as I know, you were just a kid late for school or something.  You don’t control when the runner runs – he does that automatically.  You do control his direction.  There are barriers you need to run through and mobs to avoid.  There are power ups to collect and you can jump as well.  You can jump pretty high.  In fact, there are parts of the levels that require careful timing of your jumps to pass.

This was a commonly played game in our house.  As soon as I heard the music in the video below, I smiled and immediately started humming along. It’s pretty catchy. We would never really get farther than maybe the fifth level, but we sure tried.  Check it out if you get the chance.