Oldies but Goodies – Excitebike

Genre:  Racing
Platform:  NES

Matt and I are taking a motorcycle safety course today so we can legally ride the new Tao Tao scooter that we recently purchased.  What a better post for today than Excitebike!

I believe Excitebike was one of the first games I played on the NES.  It seemed so fun at the time.  It was action-packed and could get difficult.  We all had the struggles with the stupid bike overheating (see video below).  Sometimes the computer seemed to cheat.  It did that a lot in these older racing games.  The obstacles seemed ridiculous.  But it was still a fun game and actually did get a bit challenging as you played through it.  I don’t know that I ever made it past the first five levels or so, but I was a kid and just had fun playing it.  My sisters and I would compete, but they were quite a bit younger and I would destroy them.  And gloat.

I also spent quite a bit of time with the level creator.  It was the first game on the NES that I had played that had something like that and I really enjoyed it.  If I thought the obstacles on the main game were ridiculous, then the levels that I created were just insane.  It was jumps from one end to the other.  Needless to say, I didn’t play my own levels very often.

I’m not sure that I would recommend going back to play this now, however.  I recently did so, and it’s just not that much fun anymore.  Enjoy the game in your memory!

Oldies but Goodies – Super Mario Brothers 2

Genre:  Platformer
Platform:  NES

Have you ever been playing a game in a series and it just didn’t feel right?  Like maybe it just doesn’t belong in the series?  If you felt that while playing Super Mario Brothers 2, you were right.  Nintendo of Japan had developed a Super Mario Brothers 2, but audiences in Japan found it too difficult.  These levels were later released as the “Lost Levels” and can be found in several places, such as Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES.

Instead of starting from scratch, Nintendo re-purposed a game called Doki Doki Panic and released it as Super Mario Brothers 2.  This is a really odd game and as a result, doesn’t really feel much like a Mario game.  But we all still love it.  Some of the odder parts are the fact that you can pull items out of the ground and throw it at mobs, secret potions that sometimes create doors, weird monsters, Birdo and the slots between levels.

Birdo was especially weird.  That is the name of the monster in the picture above.  Even though it wears a bow on its head, it is a male.  He throws eggs at you from his mouth and you need to land on them mid-air, pull them over your head and throw them back at him.  After you do this a few times, you can enter the big eagle’s mouth on the side of the wall.  Yeah, I told you this got weird.  Here is a picture of the slots between levels, which was also strange:

smb2-slots

However, you could play as more than just Mario or Luigi.  You could also play as Toad or Princess Peach.  They all had their strengths – Peach could hover for a while, Toad was really strong, Mario was good all-around and Luigi…well, Luigi was funny to play?  He always seems to get the shaft in these games.

I still like this game to this day.  I don’t think I ever played it all the way through, though.  I’ll have to do that soon.  This game is available in Nintendo’s Virtual Console store, so it’s easy to go play!

Spent the Weekend in San Antonio (Outlaw)

Genre:  Shooter
Platform:  Atari

I spent the weekend in San Antonio with family, which is why there’s a few days without a post.  We watched my brother-in-law graduate from the Air Force boot camp.  We also wandered around San Antonio a bit.  Everyone knows that the Alamo is there, so I thought Outlaw would be a good game to showcase on my site today.

This was a fun little game.  You and a friend squared up against one another and simply tried to shoot each other.  There were obstacles in the way such as cacti, wagons or a wall.  Sometimes those obstacles would move.  Sometimes you could only shoot straight, or other times you could ricochet off the walls.  When you were shot, you ended up on your butt:

outlaw-loser

It was fun for its time, but it would probably only be fun for about 5 minutes today.  I still remember it fondly, though!

Oldies but Goodies – Sim Tower

Genre:  Simulation
Platform:  PC

The Sim games have been getting some love (and hate) on my site lately.  It’s usually love.  And Sim Tower is no exception.  I think I found this game by accident in Walmart one day and bought it.  I loved SimCity, so how could I go wrong with another Sim game, this time about a tower?  I couldn’t!

This game was a lot of fun and gave you a lot of different options to customize your tower.  You can still find this game online, by the way, so if you haven’t played it, try it out!  You started with an empty plot of land and you started by building your lobby.  Easy enough.  Next, you built your second floor.  And some stairs so people could get up to that floor.  Now you pick what kind of dwelling you want on your new floor.  Hotel rooms?  Office space?  Condos?  It’s up to you, but keep an eye on your cash flow!  (Hint, offices in the beginning).

As your tower grows up, the challenges get greater.  By far, the most constant challenge is elevator strategy.  You are only allowed a certain number of elevator shafts per tower and if you reach over 50 stories, things really start to get interesting.  You’ll be dreaming about pink and red people and elevator capacities and which floors to set the cars to while idle and WAAAAH!  I actually still think about this game every time I am waiting for an elevator and imagine myself turning pink.  Before you know it, your simple tower looks like this:

sim-tower-bigger

This is a great game and I strongly recommend you try it out.  It’s got a bit of humor in it as well and the replay-ability is quite high.

 

Oldies but Goodies – Duck Hunt

Genre:  Arcade
Platform:  NES

I think most of us played Duck Hunt the day we got our new NES back in the day.  It was the “B” side of the dual-game cartridge that came with the system.  Super Mario Brothers was the star, but Duck Hunt was certainly a pleasant surprise.  The NES came with a gun attachment, so you could actually shoot at the screen and kill the ducks!  This amazed me as a sixth-grader.

When you start playing, your dog buddy rustles up the weeds and up fly some ducks.  It starts easy enough – you see one duck at a time and you only need one shot to take them down.  As the game goes on, you get more ducks at once and they get a bit tougher.  I’m not sure how many levels there were, but I really enjoyed this one.  If you’re like me, though, it didn’t take you too long to realize that you could cheat by taking the gun straight to the TV screen.  I didn’t do that often, though, as there was a lot more fun in the challenge of the game.

And admit it, you aimed and shot at the dog when the he laughed at you when you missed.

duck-hunt-dog

Oldies but Goodies – Sim City

Genre:  Simulation
Platform:  PC

Sim City has been around for so long that I played this in 7th grade.  My school actually used this game to teach us about local government and city planning.  I was hooked immediately and spent a ton of time playing Sim City original, often referred to now as Sim City classic.  There have been many city builders since this one, but it was the original.

The graphics were basic, but the depth of the game was impressive.  We were introduced to the three most common zones – industrial, commercial and residential.  It was just those three, but the foundations were there.  Residential folks didn’t like living next to industrial, you didn’t want to overdo the commercial, etc.  Traffic was an issue, as it has been in every Sim City game to date, you needed to be careful with your fire station placement as it was critical and you NEVER removed funds from transportation or your advisor would get pretty angry.

The disasters actually made this one fun, too, as you didn’t have to have YEARS of recovery efforts to re-build.  I always enjoyed making a UFO attack or have a violent earthquake ravage my city.  It was so easy just to plop a new square down and watch it upgrade fairly quickly.

I still adore this game and play it from time to time.  Its relative simplicity compared to the games that followed is refreshing, but it’s still a satisfying game.  You can find this game online through free download or web-based pages.  If you’ve not played this one before or for a long time, go back and do so!

Oldies but Goodies -Little Computer People

Genre:  Simulation
Platform:  Commodore 64

Long before there were The Sims, in 1985, there was Little Computer People.  This was a game on the Commodore 64, but I also believe it was released for the Apple II and Amiga, too.  My cousin had a Commodore 64 and she had this on her computer.  We played it quite a bit.  The premise is this – there are actual little people living inside your computer and they want to interact with you.  Each copy of the game had a different person and all were unique.  My cousin and I named her little person Norbert.

We could give Norbert commands to do things like sleep, play the piano, cook, etc.  He would also do these things without us telling him to.  It was really a unique game for the time that I really enjoyed.  I haven’t played it since, but after a quick Google search, I see a download for it.  I might try it again as an adult and see how it stands up.  If you like sim games and want to see the foundation of that genre of games, check it out!

The video below is pretty funny, btw. This player gets pretty frustrated with his little person.

 

 

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.