Vintage Video Games: A Tribute to the Original Nintendo Entertainment System Classics

Let's DeLorean it back to the late eighties and early nineties, to when Molly Ringwald was prom queen and the New Kids were still, well...nevermind, it's a tired joke. Zack Morris defined a generation, along with 49-er shoulderpads and offensively large hair. And who could forget Anthony Michael Hall, brutally typecast as "the geek" -- by the way, have you seen him lately? It's living proof that life can be fair...

And then, amidst the Prince-formerly-known-as-Prince whole hullabaloo, there rose a singular, world-dominating phenomenon that saved millions of angst-ridden teenage souls from eternal, after-school damnation -- the ubiquitous sensation known as:

 

NINTENDO.

 

(Look, we're not that old, some people played Atari, okay?) Join Notes On The Road for a zany look back at the classic NES games that started it all:

 

The Legend of Zelda

Heroic music, wise sage, wooden sword, triforce fragments, bombs, lionheaded keys, orange-armored shielded soldiers, time-freezing clock, bows and arrows, floating orbs with freakish smiles; blue bats annoying but easy to kill, shiny rubies, flickering health hearts, hovering fairies; finding labyrinths, white sword, magic sword, blue ring, red ring, blue candle, red candle, burning bush, Death Mountain, Gannon, Zelda, Second Quest.

 

Super Mario Brothers 1 & 3

Mario and Luigi, green leaves, raccoon tail, demolishing bricks, holding down "B"; flying, P-Wing, stomping on Goombas, secret passageways, giant drain pipes, holographic stars, 1UP shrooms and squeaky sound effects; 3 stars 3 levels in a row - 5 free lives, trumpet fanfare, fireworks; Toad & treasureboxes, castles & dungeons, leaping over lava, magic flutes, warp zones, coin banks in the clouds, Hammer Brothers, addictive MIDI tunes, Fire Flowers, Frog Suit, Koopa Troopas, Bowser, Princess Toadstool.

 

Super Mario Brothers 2

Total cop out, not worth mentioning. Vegetables for weapons? Lame.

 

Tetris

Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, music speeding into a frenzy, screen packed with blocks - no way out - hurry, get it together! - clearing four rows at a time, level 29, incredible speed, blood-boiling excitement, jostled nerves, scoring the big points, getting to that next level, always losing at the same point; frustrated, give up. Wait 5 minutes. Try again. Addictive. Obsessive. Lost in the music, enveloped in The Zone.

 

Rad Racer

Classic racing, red Ferrari 328 Twin Turbo, 4 courses, exhilarating, gaining speed; palm trees whiz by, cheesy music blares, skidding off-road, losing control, flipping over - precious time lost; starting from scratch, flooring it through checkpoints, braking hard around bends; dusk descends, nighttime driving, road deserted - boring; dawn slips in, diving for the finish line, reckless abandon; corny paper 3D glasses.