NES Games That Are Still Relevant in 2024

You might not spend so much time with NES games as you do with modern games that directly aim to keep you focused for tens or even hundreds of hours. This has everything to do with quickly advancing technology. Designing games goes forward also when the developers learn more and more and more hobbyists are starting to get into the world or playing video games. In this blog post I go through some NES games that are, in my opinion, still relevant today.

There are practically hundreds of games in the whole gaming library of NES. If you don’t have a clue what gaming console I am referring to I can tell you that NES comes from words Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a retro console that was introduced to us, gamers, in 1983. I have picked up these five games that I own. These all are very good games and I can definitely recommend them.

I have a Retro Trio console that plays NES, SNES and Mega Drive games. I can also use an adapter to play Master System or even Game Boy games. These adapters I have bought for a cheap price. I think I paid just under 40 euros for the Master System adapter and maybe 35 euros for the game boy adapter. It is very nice to play Game Boy games this way. The screen is very clear and bright compared to the screen of Game Boy or Game Boy color. There are some other ways also that you can play Game Boy games but lets not get carried away too much.

You can of course take your chance and use any NES emulator to play NES games on your PC. If you are going with this option I definitely recommend to get a replica of the original NES controller that you can attach with a USB cable. This brings the certain sense of authenticity to your NES games. These physical copies can be a bit pricey. They can cost anything from I think 15 euros to even 100 euros. Some rare games are even more expensive. So, I totally understand if you go the emulator way at least when you are just starting to get into NES games. The USB controller I mentioned earlier has a price tag of maybe 20 euros. I have never got into troubles with the compatibility and you can probably get it to work easily even if you use Linux.

You can sense that for example Super Mario Bros, that was released in 1988, has this certain lightness in the whole gaming experience. I mean the fact that it uses only so little memory. You can talk about randomly accessed memory or even hard disk. As I think you have witnessed NES doesn’t have a hard disk at all. You can use saved games in some games since they have an extra battery that enables long term memory usage. With emulators you can of course go around this and use saved states that come with your favorite NES emulator. So, this is one more reason to use software emulators instead of old retro hardware.

Graphics are two dimensional in these games. Sound is of course pretty terrible. If you are deeply into “chip tune” musical genre you might even like it that way. I personally think it is some kind of miracle how they could program the music for these games with all these limitations. Same goes to the overall design of these games. There are over 600 NES games that were released. These five are the ones that I have managed to grab. I have a total of maybe ten or twelve NES games in my collection. I did buy these all already some years ago. I can definitely say that I enjoy these games even if they are old and even if the time keeps moving forward. I think Nintendo did  agret job!

Should Retro Games Be Declared as Public Domain?

How popular are old NES or SNES games? Just think about how popular were NES Classic Mini and also the one that had tens of SNES games on it. I remember that I was working in a game shop as we had hundreds of customers that had ordered a NES mini. They had to wait moths to get one. This same happened with SNES mini. Although customers started to understand and not order a device that couldn’t even be delivered in a reasonable time.

This is exactly the matter when we are talking about the popularity of retro games. These games were released 30 or 40 years ago. They aren’t properly available to us gamers. Nintendo has made them available on their web service. That alone doesn’t make me want to pay for the subscription. You can get a console, maybe original NES or some other type of console, that you can play original games with. This however is expensive. You might have to pay 40 euros for a game. Some games are sold for hundreds or even thousands of euros.

Publishers seem to be holding on to these game titles. How does this make sense? If someone buys a used game from a game shop that is a private entrepreneur how does this give any more profit to the publisher of the game? There have been many sore comments on Facebook ads of this certain web shop that offers money for used retro titles. They pay you about fifty percentage or maybe even less than that for your rare games of the price they are actually selling it. This makes producing and downloading so called pirated copies of these games popular and tempting.

I just today read a story that was dealing with the ability to play old games that were released in 2010 or earlier. This is actually very hard. The writer was very concerned about older games just disappearing somewhere. These games are valuable in a certain way. Future game designers can learn a lot from old games. Someone might be willing to play these games. And many are having this certain appeal to these games now and also in the future.

What would be the solution? I think that certain games should be made a public domain. You could download them and share and even maybe modify them freely. We should have devices available that could convert the game cartridge to a rom file and they should be easily available. There could be devices dedicated to this in libraries or maybe in some other places. I have to tell you that we are already seeing all sorts of video games available in libraries already today.

So, to conclude, we should, in my opinion, share these old games and make them as widely available as possible. We already have these most important video game systems emulators available. Someone might support legalizing some mild drug. I am right now stating that I support the freeing of retro games. This is even today illegal. Who is this statute working for one might ask. I am not supporting or saying that you should break law. That is not the case. I am saying that we should change the law since it seems that old games are getting hard to play and to enjoy.

Prices of Retro Games Are Rising – But for How Long?

I have noticed that prices of retro games are rising. You don’t necessarily have to make a reasearch to find this out. It is enough to just browse through games and their current prices. Some already sold games, that still appear on a webshop, can make this very clear. It seems like this progression only took a short amount of time.

I got to think about this as I was looking for some GameCube games. The rising is present in PS1 games also. What will the future be like? Will we see more games with more increased prices? Who is buying all these games? Who is selling them? I think you do have to do some sort of a research before you sell your game related property nowadays.

Of course retro gaming systems are getting older alll the time. It would make sense that these consoles are going to be broken ones one day. I mean, technology doesn’t last forever. Where are all methods and ways to repair your broken gaming console? I guess we, game consumers and retro gamers, are too foolish to even demand a service like this. It seems easier to just buy another classic mini console. Well, I don’t think that everyone would have the opportunity to own one since there is a limited amount of new devices available.

“But Viljami…What about emulation?”, you might be asking. Well, that’s an interesting question. There are ways to install an emulator to so many different devices. You can use your desktop PC for this. You can also use Raspberry Pi. Why wouldn’t you get a dedicated PC and install Lakka OS or some other Linux type of operating system? There are lots of possibilities.

Aren’t game roms and emulation illegal? Yes, basically they are. But if you think about it, you might have to consider this with a common sense. Can you really buy a game? Is it really available in where you live? Of course, some games get published as remakes or something like that. But this is not the case in every situation.

Should we wait for a remake on every possible and popular retro game? I think old games are valuable. And I mean this in a way that’s not the actual amount of money you get from it. I actually think games are part of our culture. When you consider Commodore 64 games there already is a website that can be accessed by everyone that is dedicated to bringing C-64 fans their favorite games. I don’t know if this is actually illegal but it makes sort of a sense.

Should we just not care about copyrights anymore? Maybe there should be a more strict law that handles old video games. I think music has a copyright that gets sort of out of date when the music is old enough. What if there would be a law that makes a 20-year-old game to not have a copyright.

If we once more use our common sense, I think that if a game is not anymore available as a new game or even as a used game, it would make sense that it wouldn’t have a copyright anymore. And maybe we should just avoid some major cases where there is a certain benefit for someone in not respecting a copyright.

Diving Even Deeper to Master System

Yesterday I got Bubble Bobble for Master System. I was lucky to find it directly from one of the best gaming shops that I often buy retro games from. It did cost a bit. It was 75 euros. But, you know, I had to buy it. I also got Soulcalibur II for GameCube. That’s the fighting game that you can play as Link from  Zelda.

I first encountered Bubble Bobble as a child. I played it on a PC. It was a good game. I really liked it. It would have been nice to have a controller back then. I played with a regular keyboard as I did then with any game. We had some sort of a joystick but it was wack to play with it. It’s been a long time. You start to think how nice things are today. We have lots of variety in gamepads that can be connected to any PC with a USB or even with some kind of a dongle and wireless.

This game originally got released in the 1980s. This Master System version, however, was released as late as 1991. This gives you the correct idea that Master System had many fans. It was an 8-bit gaming system but even in 90s when game consoles were developing fast it held its position as a favorite game console for some gamers.

It is said that this version of Bubble Bobble is the best one. It was released also for Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and PC. This simple game delivers great game play. It even gives you some minor puzzle type challenges. You might have to figure how to get to the upper corners of the level. You have to think different ways to get rid of enemies that are also trying to hurt you.

You get two health points which get increased if you get some more points. You get points by eating different delicacies. I think these are placed almost randomly to the level you are playing. After you have gotten rid of all enemies you have some seconds of time to eat everything you can grasp. Then you have to move on to the next level. There are over 100 levels. I am currently somewhere in level number 40.

You get to continue your play session in a mean of password system. This works pretty well. You can always start the game also from beginning. You have to understand Master Systems limitations. This also makes me think about some remakes. I am not aware of any good remakes as I am writing this. But I definitely have to search for one and find out if there is one.

The screen doesn’t scroll like it does in some games like Super Mario Bros. So this game is not a platformer type of a game. Basic idea is to trap enemies inside of a bubble that shoots out of the main characters mouth. I guess it’s a some sort of a fantasy dragon that you are actually playing as. The gameplay is very nice. This is very good game. While it doesn’t make you play tens of hours without a single break it gives you a challenge for an hour or so at a time. You can play it for some hours but I found myself playing it for about one hour without breaks and then leaving the game for a while just to come back to play it later.

This is clearly the best gaming that Master System can offer. I had some difficulties with the hardware. It makes me want to start playing with a PC and emulator. I even have a matching USB game pad. It is a controller that looks and feels like a Sega Saturn controller. If just there would be some way to digitize legally all these retro games that I own. Then I would definitely switch to playing with emulators. There is this idea of retro games sometime in the future being kind of “public domain”. It think this is already the case with Commodore 64 games and maybe even some of these DOS games. You have to keep up with this progress, you know!

My Tiny Collection of Sega Master System Games

I have an adapter that can bring me to games of the game system that was originally released before Mega Drive. This gaming console is Sega Master System. It wasn’t the first console that was manufactured by Sega. It was although something that could be a challenge for Nintendo Entertainment System. NES was released in 1983. Some years later Master System was released.

The complete game library of Sega Master System has a bit over 300 games. Mega Drive was strongly advertised to be a 16-bit system. Master System is a 8-bit system. It sold something from 10 to 13 million units worldwide. After all this was not enough for Sega that wanted to dominate the markets. The sligt failure of Master System caused Sega to really invest in the development of Mega Drive.

What am I playing my Master System games with? Well, I have a Retro Trio console that I can play Mega Drive games with. Already some years ago I was lucky to spot an adapter that enables you to play Master System games on a Mega Drive. It was also cheap but very difficult to find from any game shop or even elctronics web shop.

I have collected for Master System already some time. About a month ago I bought three more games for it. I already had this game that features Mickey Mouse. The game is titled Castle of Illusion. It’s a fun platformer type of a game. Three other games are Wonder Boy, Super Space Invaders and Psycho Fox.

It has to be said that if we make a comparison between NES and MS and think about all games that were released NES has more of them. In fact NES has about two times more games than MS. This is of course clear since NES was such a popular system back in the 80s and especially before the release of its serious competitor Sega MD. In fact it is said that back in 1988 Nintendo held 83 percentage of the video game market (in North America alone).

The latest addition to my Sega MS collection will be Bubble Bobble. I have ordered it but it hasn’t yet arrived (that’s why it isn’t in the featured image of this blog post). Bubble Bobble is an exciting game and it was released in the 80s for several gaming systems. It was released also for PC, C-64 and  NES. You can probably right now hear the theme music already playing if you are familiar with this game. This game is familair to me and I was introduced to it in the form of a PC game. I used to play it a lot when I was a kid. Today, I enjoy more the console version because I can use a game pad to play it. It is said also that the MS version was the best.

I can recommend any of these MS games if you got interested. These four games weren’t actually so expensive. Psycho Fox was 40 euros. Other games were something below 30 euros. Bubble Bobble was a bit more expensive. It cost me 75 euros. I have seen these prices going up a bit in last five years or so. Retro games seem to have a higher price today as this hobby seems to be popular.

Who Is This Guy (Super Mario)?

What’s the game you start to play when you want a nice platform game and you don’t mind if it is a bit retro? Of course you play Super Mario Bros or Super Mario Land or Super Mario Bros 3 or the New Super Mario. Whatever your choice is one thing is certain – there are lots of options here. That’s basically because there seems to be no limit to how many and how varying game titles have been released in this video game characters lifetime.

The featured image of this blog post is the cover of a book about how Nintendo and Mario “conquered” USA. Of course this character made its way into the minds of all gamer’s across the whole wide world. Super Mario was chosen to be the main character that represented the whole Nintendo as a company. There are lots of games and also some other material in which Super Mario has been used.

But who is this guy actually? We get to understand that he’s a plumber. He has a brother named Luigi. I think he’s a plumber too. Mario has the tendency to try to be a hero and he is always trying to save the princess. Mario is a bit softer than Sega’s mascot Sonic. Basically Mario is a product of the beginning of 80s while Sonic seems to be from the end of 80s and also from the beginning of 90s.

Of course all the real hardcore retro gamers know that Crash Bandicoot took the title of the most fascinating video game mascot back in the 90s. But you have to realize that Mario was the first of them. Nintendo was the brand that made gaming great again after Atari had effed up the whole game with it’s foolish strategy on releasing poor quality video games. Basically, back then, Atari just got too greedy.

And only Nintendo is able to come up with this kind of material. At the same time it seems a bit naive and childish but do you know what kinds of mushrooms he actually is able to consume? A mushroom that looks like Amanita Muscaria and makes him to grow. Wow! How did that happen and how did it happen so fast. Maybe there is something more to it than we at first can observe. Maybe parents should look after their children despite the fact that Nintendo seems to be so settled with its in game content.

Super Mario remains as a character that is a bit mysterious. You don’t get to talk with him in deep conversations. You might remember him from your childhood. Is he the one that is responsible for luring all these people in to video gaming? There haven’t been so many interviews or story lines in games that would have described his personality. Yet you definitely recognize his voice as he says “It’s me…Mario!”.

Why are things this way? Maybe it has everything to do with how under developed video games were. We had two dimensional pixel graphics and the audio quality was poor. There just weren’t enough space for this character to form some kind of a more progressed image in our minds. I think this is also a strength for him. He is kind of abstract figure. He was made to be simple and easy to approach. So Mario is at the same time very simple and also very attractive in a mind of a determined retro gamer.

Playing Game Boy Games (And Not Taking It Too Seriously)

This thing in this featured image is Super Game Boy. Can you guess what it can accomplish? Yes, to play Game Boy Games on Super Nintendo. So there’s an adapter and a Game Boy game which happens to be a good Game Boy game and it is…Super Mario Land.

Why and how did I start getting into Game Boy games? I just figured that there might be something interesting here. It all started as I played Zelda – Link’s Awakening. You know, that’s a Game Boy game and a good one, I can tell you that. So I started to get an idea out of this.

So, there are games being developed for some system. If you happen to be a game developer you have to take in consideration many things about on what device the game can be played on. Game Boy certainly has limitations but just look at these two games that I have mentioned here. They are of very good quality.

How limited is Game Boy as a gaming system? We can start from the screen resolution…or so called resolution. Game Boy actually has a resolution of 160×144 pixels with an aspect ratio of 10:9. That’s a small screen for a handheld gaming console. It’s actually so small that sometimes while I was testing Super Mario Land, just moments ago, I felt a bit of clumsiness because there just are so few pixels for controlling and actually moving your character.

What are some other limitations? There are only a limited amount of colors. Originally Game Boy had four shades of green on the screen. Where Game Boy really excels is the battery life. You can play 16 hours with four AA-batteries. To make a comparison Game Gear provided playing time of three to five hours with six AAA-batteries. Also Game Gear had a colour screen of 32 colors. What about sound? It is a bit limited. But you have to consider that this handheld gaming device came to markets in 1989.

Playing Game Boy games with Super Game Boy is fun. I have a total of five games for Game Boy at the moment. I also got myself a Game Boy Color some time ago. I am not so excited right now about it. Actually I found out that the screen was very dim and it makes playing it a bit of a pain. So I prefer my Super Game Boy adapter.

So I found some time today to spend with games and gaming. I am content that I also had time to write this blog post. I have been lately busy with work, reading books and making music.

The Book About Console Wars

In the beginning of 1980s there were lots of games and gaming systems available. All of the products targeted for home gamers just weren’t good enough. Some of them were actually garbage. It didn’t take long for consumers to understand what was going on. Remember that E.T. game that is called the worst video game ever? Well, that’s what we are talking about right here.

This however wasn’t the end of home gaming consoles. Nintendo released their Entertainment System in 1983. As they kept in mind all mistakes that earlier game consoles had made with too low quality in released games they were actually able to release a gaming system that was good enough for consumer markets. Gaming became popular again.

The demand for a home gaming console was still there. NES delivered a good quality 8-bit console. They didn’t have so much competition. This was about to change as Sega released their new 16-bit system in 1988. This is when the console wars started to take their form. And this is what the book “Console Wars” is all about.

So as you can figure I haven’t yet read this book all the way through. I have currently read maybe 150 pages of it. The book starts off with a funny foreword by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The book is actually written by Blake J. Harris and it was released in 2014.

As the book starts to describe how Sega entered the game with their 16-bit gaming console Sega Mega Drive it gives a view of what kind of a situation it was in the beginning of this console war. Of course Sega already had some experience of gaming markets as they had released Master System already. What really changed the scheme was the design of Sega’s own mascot Sonic The Hedgehog.

Sega got their idea for the icon of their gaming system through thinking about other cartoon figures and action hero’s of children and young human beings. There were several figures that influenced the shaping of Sonic. We can mention Turtles and Masters Of The Universe and even Barbie dolls. There is something also in these first 150 pages about Electronic Arts which had many very good quality sport games out there in the 1990s. Of course this gave its own influence in this console war.

Finally Nintendo answered and delivered for all of these gamers another even more powerful gaming console Super Nintendo. Of course there is also the battle between all these handheld consoles released. There were handhelds released by Nintendo (Game Boy), Sega (Game Gear) and Atari (Lynx). Game Boy finally became the most popular one of these three. It had some nice games and while Game Gear delivered a color screen their console battery life was way worse than Game Boy’s.

I find this book very interesting. I am glad that it is available for residents in my area (Finland). While it is written in English I still can understand it clearly. I find reading books written in English to work for my benefit. If you like to reminisce over some classic retro systems and are curious about how the actual history was written I can recommned this book for you.

Game & Watch – How Nintendo Got In to Video Game Business

I watched a video on YouTube about how Nintendo got the idea of producing original Game & Watch devices. I will link the video to the bottom of this blog post. That video inspired me to write this post.

You might not know what Nintendo Game & Watch device is. It reminds a calculator a bit. The idea was born when Gunpei Yokoi, the designer of Game & Watch, and later Game Boy, saw a man traveling in train. The man had a pocket calculator. He was looking very bored and seemed to tap randomly some numbers in his calculator.

Yokoi visioned that Game & Watch would be somewhat a tool to avoid boredom during for example long train trips. Nintendo needed some help to come up with a product like this. So, the design would rely strongly to the technology of pocket calculators. The device had a LCD screen. It was powered with batteries and it featured a D-Pad and some other buttons to control the game.

This was all accomplished in a world that wasn’t yet conquered by Nintendo Entertainment System. We had maybe some Atari 2600’s or something like that in our living rooms but the world and also Nintendo were very different from what it became in the 1980s later.

Game & Watch became very popular. There were several products released by Nintendo between years 1980 to 1991. Of course there was recently two Game & Watch consoles released. I got myself a Zelda one. The other Game & Watch had Super Mario games on it.

I can tell you a bit about my Zelda Game & Watch console. I think it cost about 70 euros. It came with Zelda games that were originally released for NES and Game Boy. It can be charged with a USB-C-cable and it has a good battery. You can see how the game can be controlled from the picture above this blog post.

Gaming Has Evolved

I have been playing video games all my life. It all began in the 1980s. I first played some PC games on our family’s computer that was running some version of MS-DOS. I really can’t remember it so clearly but I played games like Bubble Bobble and Leisure Suit Larry. These gaming session were a bit short as a young boy was starting to get attracted to gaming. And games were different in those days.

I took another step in my path to being a gamer that I am today. It was probably 1993 as I got a Sega Mega Drive. This was something different. I had played some NES games with my friends. Now I had a 16-bit gaming console. The first game I played on it was Sonic The Hedgehog. It came with the system. I remember playing it and some other games for some hours. I maybe played for three hours. I never played longer than that.

Gaming was progressing but it was still mostly considered to be something for children. If there were some older people playing Sega or Nintendo they were considered to be a bit childish. And that’s how games were back then. They were mainly targeted for not so mature audience. What would you think? We had a plumber collecting mushrooms to become larger and a blue hedgehog that was running really fast. But there were some role playing, fighting and sports games that were going to make some adults gamers too.

I was beginning to mature. And so did video games. It was around 1997 when I got a PlayStation 1. It was the first gaming console that also a bit older people would play. It made way for gaming as a hobby for a person of any age. There were no limits anymore. You could find your friends father playing video games. And it wasn’t even that awkward. Not anymore. How exactly were games now different? They had much more to give for gamers. There was action. But there was also a sharp detail of graphics. 3D modeling brought better experience. Games also had a story that would keep you entertained for long period of time.

I played longer sessions with my PlayStation than I did with any other console earlier in my life. I remember playing Diablo for six hours one week end as I was a young boy. So the time I could spend playing had doubled. I remember that I had at least 20 games for PS1. It might have had even 30 games. I had beat most of them. I think I spend maybe 20 hours for a game. That’s a lot of playing video games for a young person. This was actually nothing if you think about how much time beating a video game today might take. To make a comparison I can tell you that I have recently played Diablo II Resurrected for almost 50 hours and Gran Turismo 7 for 30 hours. And I haven’t finished them yet.

You can have gaming as your hobby. You can also spend a lot of time playing games. There are several devices that you can play games on. There are gaming consoles, mobile devices, handheld consoles and computers. If you are good in playing video games there are things today like eSports that can transform your gaming hobby to being a professional competitive gamer. If you like gaming you can do like I do and write to a blog or even to some gaming magazine about games. So you can become a game journalist. If you are interested in the technical side of video games you can try to become a game developer or game programmer. You can even be a game designer that doesn’t even program. There are lots of roles in gaming industry if you want to make your hobby also a profession.

Gaming has really evolved. I started getting into gaming as a young kid back in the 80s. I grew up playing games. It has been a hobby for me for a very long time. On my path I have seen how games have become more realistic and the audience has grown and it has also become more diverse. Now everyone can play. It doesn’t matter that you are old. It doesn’t matter what gender you are. Everyone can play video games today. And that’s one great thing to keep in mind.

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