What if… retrospective: The TurboGrafx-16

The TurboGrafx-16 (TG16) is quite an oddity. Much like the doomed Sega Dreamcast nearly a full decade later, this game machine would be plagued as a mid-generation release that failed to catch on. Much speculation has been banded about on the internet on why it failed. Discussion forums are littered with topics discussing what could have been done differently. In this retrospective I will take a look at a few factors that are often overlooked in why this machine failed. First, I am mostly talking about within the context of the North American (mostly United States) market. While it is true the system performed better in Japan than it did in the US, and there is some doubt if it even existed in Canada at all, it still can be deemed a failure world wide by every measure. In fact, it didn’t even make it to the PAL region. Let’s dig in.

Usually two topics get brought up first when discussing the TG16. The first is Nintendo’s illegal exclusivity contracts in North America that would prevent third party companies from releasing games on the system. Often fans of the system will state that if it had better 3rd party support it would have sold more systems. While it is typically pretty obvious more games makes for a more attractive market, it’s not always the case. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Hudson could have found a way around this by vetting developers and publishers who weren’t even making games for the NES at the time. So that argument holds little weight, Sega was able to get plenty of support for the Sega Master System (SMS) and they sold quite a few more consoles and games than TG16, all on inferior hardware.

So first let’s look at the games that did come to the system. Despite most of what die hard fans will tell you, there are a few false statements often repeated about the TG16 library. The first is that the console had a great library of arcade style scrolling shooters, also known as shoot-em-up’s or shumps to some. The fact is, however, the NES, SNES and even Sega Genesis ALL had more shooters released for their consoles than TG16. The myth it is a shooters dream console is false. The reason this myth is spread has some merit. There is a significant percentage of games for the console that are, in fact, quality shooters. The problem is, there are only 94 games total for the console. So that means the fewer than 21 total shooters on the console stand out as the dominant genre by default. If roughly one forth of your consoles entire library is made up of a single genre, it stands to reason people will gravitate to that genre. No arguments there, the shooters on the console are all quality titles. Of course many fans today are looking at the ENTIRE library as a whole. They forget that for the super vast majority of gamers in the 1980’s when the console was sold people didn’t import as much as they do today. So when you add in all the PC Engine games to the list, especially when you take into account people playing these games using emulators, you start to see a skewing of the facts.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter how many arcade games were released in Japan at the time. When discussing why the console failed it is essential to do so within the scope of the time it was released. In this case it was 1987. This is important because those 94 games that made it to US shores, weren’t all available the first year. Keep in mind you have to look at it on a month to month basis. As a consumer in the late 1980’s even if you were contemplating getting a TG16. Either you were getting tired of the NES, or perhaps you never had the NES and were wanting to upgrade from your Colecovision console or something else. Maybe you were a PC person looking for a new console. Whatever your motivation for wanting one you always have to look at the games first. Everyone talks about how abysmal Keith Courage was as a pack in title. The problem is if you look at the console market at the time, pack in titles were relatively new concept. It really started with Super Mario Bros. on the NES. So when you talk about game consoles you can’t really put too much weight into what pack in title was included. Remember even today pack ins are rare and they were a BRAND NEW concept in the mid-80’s. It’s a fallacy to believe just packing in a different game would have enticed more users. Why? Because if the games that were sold separately weren’t going to convince you to buy the system, throwing on into the box for free wasn’t going to make a difference either. With pack in titles it’s always a gamble. Even when it works like with Wii Sports or SMB, or even Sonic the Hedgehog, it’s still a big risk when the publisher is missing out on all those extra sales. It’s at best a gimmick marketing tactic that is rarely used in the grand scheme of things.

Still, since it gets tossed out let’s debunk the myth anyways. My question is, if not Keith Courage then what? It couldn’t be an arcade shooter. Remember 2 facts, first at the time it was a NEW console so gamers wouldn’t be able to predict it would become a haven for shooters. 2nd, despite being popular among retro enthusiasts, even at the time shmups are NOT that popular. No console in the history of consoles ever packed in a shooter even if they did pack in a freebie. The reason is shooters have a low appeal. Even the best quality shooters only appeal to maybe a tenth of a consoles entire userbase. That is why they are so rare. Even to this day the number of shooters released is small and the ones that do get released are done in very limited runs. Newsflash, that was the SAME back then, why do you think all those so-called “gems” are so damn hard to find? Because, NOBODY BOUGHT THEM. They didn’t sell. There is no chance in HELL a shooter was going to sell the main stream gaming audiences on an untested console. Even the often cited spectacular R-Type, wasn’t exclusive to the console. Sure the NES port has issues, but honestly you are talking a small percentage of your gamers that even want a shooter, even smaller sub-set of those that care about a superior port elsewhere. That’s why when a shooter does become popular it’s some low budget throwaway title in the bargain bin. Gamer’s don’t spend money on them, only collectors do and only in hind sight because they are told to more often than not. Even me, someone who does occasionally enjoy the shooter game, wouldn’t rush out and buy a console even for the most perfect shooter. They are fun, in small doses but they are usually very remnants of older arcades.

Okay if not a shooter then what? The next game often cited is Bonk’s Adventure. That WAS a pack in just as soon as they game was released. But even that didn’t really move units. Again for as much fun as Bonk is, it’s only half as much fun as Sonic, which itself is probably half the fun of Mario. By order of transference Bonk’s Adventure wasn’t a great enough of a game to really convince people to give up their Mario machines. Sonic came close but it took a lot more than one game to get Sega on the map.

I try to be reasonable. I looked at the entire library and to be honest I could not find a single game that stood out as good enough to convince me to pick up a TG16 over an NES. Now I know it comes down to preferences, and I am NOT trashing the console just examining what if scenarios.

So what if it had a BETTER pack in comes down to, no real impact. I can’t imagine Hudson having it in them to imagine a game that would have that appeal. Some would argue Bomberman. I would reply, even the best Bomberman games didn’t help the Saturn, N64, Dreamcast or Gamecubes so sorry nope. Unfortunately there isn’t a single, stand out game on the console.

That takes us back to the first point, Nintendo’s illegal strangle hold on the market. It is well documented Nintendo forced publishers to sign contracts disallowing them from making games on competing consoles. Even if you tried to argue TG16 wasn’t an 8-bit system so it technically wasn’t competing, that wouldn’t pass mustard because Hudson referenced NES in their marketing.That leaves us to wonder then, what games could have potentially been developed on the console that weren’t.

Even if you take the 3rd party deal out of the picture and pretend the Turbo could get any old developer to make games for it. Remember the NES launched with barely 18 games. Now it had a POWERHOUSE launch combo with SMB/Duck Hunt that TG16 didn’t even have in its entire lifespan. So you get ONE shot to entice gamers to pick your machine over theirs. It took Nintendo 2 full years to get the 3rd party support we remember. If TG16 launched in 1987 that means it wouldn’t even begin getting the same level of games as NES until around 1989. That would be a full year into Genesis’s life and the Genesis could be cited as more of the death of the TG16 than anything else. Despite all the flaws of the SMS and the shortcomings of the TG16. Sega DID manage to get a quality launch period stash of games on the market. While Altered Beast is not fondly remembered today, when it released it was somewhat impressive. The scrolling levels, the large sprites, the transition animations, the cut scenes, and the compressed audio voices were all very big deals in 1989. So even if you look at the top tier NES games, let’s assume Castlevania, Mega Man, Contra, Ninja Gaiden and maybe even Double Dragon all have quality ports on Turbo by the time Sega launches. Fair enough, however some of those games did get ports on other consoles, and there is a Castlevania on the doomed Turbo CD (but that’s an entirely different story.) You have to keep in mind 1, how long it takes to port a game over, and 2 the cost to do so. Most 3rd parties wouldn’t have jumped ship to support an untested console when NES was doing so well so let’s just assume it still struggled. I can imagine it doing slightly better but remember NES was NOT successful because of games alone. Nintendo were masters of marketing their toys to kids at that time. So you have to look at the marketing along side the games issue.

Marketing can sink a good product and prop up a terrible product in the short term. Now for all intents and purposes, the TG16 is actually a decent product, sort of. It was more powerful than NES, but not as powerful as Genesis and SNES. Those would be the main consoles it had to compete with. Again NES would have still been replaced with SNES by 1991 even if the TG16 was successful, even more so because Nintendo would have felt threatened. So let’s look at just marketing. TG16 was ONLY sold in very big cities with populations over 1 million people. This is well documented. It was also ONLY marketed in the major cities where it was sold. This left consumers like me in the middle of no where Kansas reading about it in comic books and magazines sold nation wide, but I was not able to just walk into my local Sears, Radio Shack or K-Mart and pick one up. If I can’t find it how can I buy it? And you know what, I can say this with some degree of certainty because despite the flawed marketing strategy overall, it sorta worked because I DID want one. Even if it had a “killer app” pack in I still couldn’t have gotten my hands on one without great effort.

The 1-2 punch of lack of 3rd party support and terrible marketing is often given as the reason for it’s downfall. Now let’s go back to games and see if maybe Hudson could have done more even within the framework of Nintendo’s monopoly. Going back to the question of which game would have been a better pack in. When I look at why gamers wish for more games on the beloved TG16 I often remember its because they see the potential and wish it would have been realized. So let’s just assume they marketed it better, maybe localized a better Japanese games for the launch and it sold enough to at least get attention of developers that weren’t locked into contracts with Nintendo. Who does that leave?

The obvious choice is Atari first. Why them? Simple, they were willing to release games through their Tengen label on the NES. It stands to reason they would have seen dollar signs on TG16 if they saw an opportunity to get superior ports of their games on a competitors console. Why didn’t this happen? It’s often stated, obviously, because they were still marketing the 7800 at that time. False. You see Atari split into two companies following Time Warner selling them off. Tengen was a branch of the arcade division, the company that made Gauntlet and NARC, among others. The company that owned the rights to the Atari arcade catalog, the ones publishing under the Tengen brand, wouldn’t care about the 7800 at all, that was the home computer branch which would go on to release the Jaguar before dying. The arcade division would go through a few different sellers. This is important because while true Tengen did release games for the Sega Genesis, they did so as authorized 3rd party licensees unlike with Nintendo where they did so technically illegally.

Then why couldn’t they release games for TG16? Okay, the reason was business. Again by the time the TG16 released it was already doing poorly. Those Tengen games didn’t even come to the NES until the time when Hudson was scrambling to get their console into homes. Atari Games would have looked at the TG16 and seen it was doing poorly and considered it too risky to put games out for it. Hudson recognized the need for those games so they did license some themselves as Sega was doing with SMS, but it was too little effort as it just spread them too thin. Then why did they make games for Sega? Simple, whereas the TurboGrafix launched to abysmal sales in the US, the Genesis took off basically overnight by comparison. It was a hot item kids wanted. The marketing was perfect, the games were fantastic, the console looked futuristic by comparison. I am not saying all this as a die-hard Sega fan. Remember before I discovered Sega I did want a TG16. What pushed me over the top was, of course, Sonic. That’s another story for another day.

Even if we ASSUME the marketing was better and we assume Tengen was on board because why not. That’s still barely what, 20 or so games they released for the NES? Even if they ported every single one to the TG16, would it have really made that much of a difference? I mean okay, is Gauntlet or Alien Syndrome really going to get you to buy a system that Splatter House or Bonk’s Adventure didn’t already sell you on? Even if you add the ENTIRE Tengen (Atari Games) library, and you throw in a few NEW arcade ports here and there, we’re talking about not 2nd tier, not 3rd tier, Atari was making 4th and 5th tier games at this point. Sure that’s about on par with the slop Hudson was dumping onto the TG16, a few hidden gems aside. Looking at it this way, I still can’t see the TG16 doing much better. But, let’s keep going. Which developers weren’t locked into contracts with Nintendo at this time? Well I am not going to bring up the unlicensed NES crap games that sell for tons of money, because they all sucked and were only on the system as shovel ware because it sold so well. A dying console doesn’t get shovel ware unless the 1st party developer is making it themselves.

We could look to the PC scene. If you remember the NES did get a ton of Commodore 64, Apple II and PC DOS games ported to it. The problem is they came later in the life when it was more affordable to do so. Still let’s examine this as a potential for games. Remember I am assuming no NEW games were going to magically get made. Developers only have so much inspiration and I can’t believe for 1 second that just because they were making a game for the TG16 instead of Apple or Amiga they would miraculously be inspired. That is not how art works. That leaves companies like EA, Epyx, Sierra Online, LucasArts and SSI. All of these companies mostly avoided the NES until t was firmly established as a must own console everyone needed to get their game on. Each of these developers shined on the PC at the time. Here is why I find it unlikely you would have gotten them to port games over to TG16 (not talking Turbo CD here that’s whole other article.) These companies were large publishing houses, but they didn’t develop games for the most part. Lucas being the major exception. So what you have is a case where developers might have wanted to tinker with the guts of the PC Engine as it was known in Japan, their publishers would have said no. I have been talking within the framework of the launch window to the release of the Genesis and SNES. In order to assume the TG16 would have been more successful over all it would have had to be more so out the gate. If you consider that then which game developers making powerful graphic adventure games that use up tons of memory are going to release their games on tiny HuCards? Keep in mind even with the CD add on these companies largely ignored ignored the platform entirely. The reason it took later for them to get games on the NES was because it took that long for Nintendo to develop larger carts. Remember Legend of Zelda was originally released in Japan as a floppy disk game, something you could do with a computer but not a console. The floppy drive was not sold in NA, therefore Nintendo had to find a way to squeeze the game onto a cart. The solution was larger carts that could hold more data.

Even if you scour the entire library of games that were released for Commodore, arcades, PC, DOS, Apple, etc., that didn’t get ports to NES, it’s remained unlikely many of them, if any, would have been ported to the TG16 anyways. At most I figured maybe 30-40 games would have been released over the 94 that were, again maybe half of those in the time span it would have made a difference. By going through all the variables I discovered there was just nothing Hudson and their partners could have done to make it a success in the States. The deck was stacked against them from the start. Even if that mysterious pack in game that doesn’t exist was available, and the console was sold at every toy and department store in America, the things Hudson could control, they couldn’t force developers to make games for their console and even if they could, consumers still might have passed up on it. No matter how you examine it I truly believe the TG16 was always doomed to fail. Remember Genesis was right around the corner, SNES right behind that and before long you had so many games and consoles on the market the TG16 was always going to get lost in the shuffle. At best you might have gotten a dozen or so ports of games from Tengen and a few high profile PC ports that didn’t require large amounts of storage space. Even with all things in Hudson’s favor the system was doomed from the start. In a way it’s a shame because the console really isn’t half bad. If it wasn’t so expensive due to how rare it is, I might be temped to pick one up one of these days. As it is the machine is forgotten by the same people that mostly didn’t even know it existed. The library is ripe to be discovered through modern means, however, so there are still good games worth looking into these days. As I tried to think of any scenario, aside from Nintendo going out of business, there wasn’t anything that would have made it the success it’s die hard fans often wish for.

My comic book memories: X-Men

A couple of days ago I went onto Amazon to purchase some Dawn comics. For those that don’t know Dawn is a character created by Joseph Michael Linsner in the late 1980’s. I discovered Dawn in my early pre-teen years when I was just starting to really get into comic books. Before I could commit to buying any more issues or trade paperbacks I had to dig out my comic vault to see what I had to make sure I wasn’t buying something I already bought previously. I started going through my X-Men graphic novels and TPB’s and realized I didn’t have all of the ones I thought I did. I also confirmed I didn’t have any of the Dawn TPB’s so I was good to order them on Amazon.

How I got into X-Men is a little more interesting than how I discovered Dawn. I always preferred comics with more of a mythology feel or fantasy/swords and sorcery stuff. I enjoyed Conan, and the D&D comics especially. That is how I found myself getting into X-Men. My first experience with Marvel’s famous mutants was not even through comic books. Since I was mostly into indie comics, horror comics, and less mainstream stuff I didn’t see a lot of advertisements for X-Men or other mainstream stuff. If I did, I ignored it or dismissed it as a bunch of spandex wearing clowns. My first exposure was walking into a video arcade and playing the 6-player behemoth X-Men arcade machine. I had no clue who these characters were. Since I discovered TMNT through an arcade game I decided to check out X-Men since I really loved the Ninja Turtles at that time. Turns out the Ninja Turtles were mutants, and the X-Men were also mutants so I thought cool I can get into this. Even if I didn’t really know what a ‘mutant’ was at that time.

I didn’t really pick up any X-Men comics right away though. Instead my next exposure came from renting the abysmal NES game. Now I had rented my share of terrible games on the NES but this was by far one of my least favorite. I couldn’t believe this was how they ported that awesome 6-player game to the NES. I didn’t discover until years later the weren’t even connected outside of the name.

From here I was in 3rd grade and I had a teacher that new I was into reading fantasy and science fiction stuff so she lent me a few of her issues of X-Men comics. They were all mostly current stuff from the late 80’s. Nothing special but I had no idea what was even going on. They were about 3 unconnected issues that had totally different characters in each one. The only character that I recognized from the video game was the guy in the yellow and brown jump suit with the claws. My first impression was I hated that guy. I learned his name was Wolverine and I thought, what a stupid name. His power is he has claws, yawn. Oh he has unbreakable claws, so what.

I didn’t give X-Men another serious thought until the animated series came on Fox a couple of years later. I watched a few episodes and it was entertaining, but I still didn’t know much about the characters, and I still couldn’t stand that blasted Wolverine who just happened to basically be the star of the show. By this time i was really heavy into the Conan the Adventurer cartoon and the new Aladdin animated series. Like I said I was more into horror and fantasy stuff than actual sci-fi. Well I saw a commercial for the Phoenix Saga mini series of X-Men cartoons coming soon. There was a Phoenix character on Conan so that connected the mutants to the mythology stuff I was more into. I was also getting really heavy into Dungeons and Dragons right about this same time.

Finally I gave the cartoon a second chance. I had seen a few random episodes here and there. While the action was always good, the characters didn’t really mean much to me as I had no connection to them. So when I started watching the Phoenix Saga and Dark Phoenix Saga unfold as a dramatic event over several weeks, I became hooked. Suddenly I picked out the characters I did care for and wanted to follow them. I immediately ran out and began buying all the Cyclops and Jean Grey stuff I could. I fell in love with that couple and wanted to get everything I could. By this time I was also getting into collecting trading cards so I had picked up a few sets of Marvel Universe series cards. There were always X-Men characters within those sets so I started reading the backs of the cards, trying to learn more about the lore of these characters. By this time I was really getting fascinated with the Cyclops character and Marvel Girl especially. I started buying X-Men trading cards, action figures, that super fantastic Sega Genesis game and it’s pretty amazing sequel, too. By the mid-1990’s I had gone from not caring or knowing much about the X-Men to being completely dedicated. Before long I was less excited for Conan and found myself looking forward to X-Men episodes even more. As the series dragged on my disdain for Wolverine continued so I quickly lost interest again as the characters I liked took a backseat to his temper-tantrums.

Then it all culminated with me picking up the Wedding of Cyclops and Phoenix issue. Seeing Scott and Jean get hitched was the perfect end to the fairy tale. The mess that was the Spider-clone saga had completely turned me away from Spidey comics by this time. I had sat through the majority of the Age of Apocalypse with intense interest and curiosity. Then just as things were starting to ‘recover’ they started they whole Onslought stuff and I finally lost interest in the comics for good. I kept paying attention to the characters through buying action figures, picking up back issues of the comics that were void of Logan as much as possible. Then they dropped the bombshell of a movie on the world. Wow, for the first time I didn’t care for the Cyclops character and was actually rooting for Logan. Part of this was the movie made Logan a much more likeable character than the whiny little bitch he was in the comics. He was still a selfish asshole in the movies sure, but not as bad as he was in the comics.

This allowed me to warm up to the character so I went back and tried to get into the Wolverine comics too. Needless to say the movies altered my perception of the characters quite a bit. Before long I was stating to lose interest in the characters and their mythos entirely. Still, every once in a while I go back and remember what it was I liked about them in the first place. At one time I was collecting everything X-Men related from New Mutants comics to Cable and Deadpool spin off stuff. Eventually the movies would start to really spend too much time focusing on Logan again, giving him solo movie after solo movie while continuing to treat my beloved Scott and Jean like second, or even third class characters.  Today I have a pretty decent X-Men comics collection I can go back to and revisit. I have all but one of the films and that’s just because I just haven’t been looking for a copy. All in all I discovered I really loved the X-Men and I am very glad I took the time to get to know them.

The Spiders Lair Podcast Episode 6

In this episode I talk about Star Wars Rogue One, the prequels and special editions, Nirvana and the 90’s grunge rock scene, the underappreciated film Ghost World, and some other stuff.

 

Dusted off the old Nintendo Wii today

As one of the few people who stood in line on launch day I can say that the Wii’s massive popularity was no surprise to me. I often look back on the console with mixed feelings. A little over a year ago I picked up two Wii’s at a flea market and haven’t done a whole lot with either of them since. Today as I was playing some Minecraft I was starting to remember how fondly I loved the good old GameCube. I was thinking to myself how much I wish I had the money to go out and buy a GameCube and pick up a copy of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life to go back in time and play a game I enjoyed tremendously over a decade ago.

Well turns out I had forgotten that I bought a copy of the game a while back and it suddenly hit me, I had a Wii, I had a GameCube controller and sure enough I pulled my copy of The Legend of Zelda Collector’s Disc off the shelf and inside the case was my little while GameCube memory card. I dusted off the Wii, hooked it up, configured the Wii remote, threw in my copy of Harvest Moon and what do you know my old save from all those years ago was still in tact. I loaded it up and picked up my farm life right where I left off, little baby Mark showing me his toy car while wife, Nami, was in the kitchen apparently mulling over “life on the farm.”

Harvest Moon isn’t even an exclusive to the GameCube, yet it remains one of my fondest games for it. I remember putting endless hours into this game when it was brand new. I haven’t put that many hours into a game since discovering Minecrat, which I mostly play as a Harvest Moon substitute anyways. I didn’t spend a lot of time before I booted the Wii memory manager up just to see what other game saves remained in tact. I must have cleaned house at some point as most of my favorite games were gone. Still there were plenty of saves ranging from Metroid Prime, dozens of retro collections, Smash Bros. Melee, even my Robotech Battle Cry save was still there.

It wasn’t quite the same as hooking up the quaint little purple lunch box I fell in love with over a decade and a half ago. However, there was still a little of that GameCube charm left in the dusty old Wii. I always tell people the GameCube wasn’t a failure, it was Nintendo’s BEST SELLING console of all time, when you factor in the motion controlled redesign that Nintendo slipped into people’s homes through the back door. While most people who picked up a Wii were probably getting it for Wii Sports, Wii Fit and any number of waggle-wand casual fluff, some, like myself, picked it up as a full on replacement for our beloved, underappreciated little ‘Cube that could.

I don’t currently have hardly any games for the GameCube. I do expect I will be picking up a few just for old times sake in the near future. As I look at my small game collection I see five GameCube discs on the shelf. That wouldn’t be quite so bad if I didn’t have twice as many Wii games. The real reason I haven’t bothered trying to get back into GameCube collecting is the same reason I got out of Sega Saturn collecting. The units didn’t sell well enough to reach mass market saturation. That makes the games harder to find in good condition, which makes them more expensive all the time. Still, there is a very strong possibility I might talk myself into seeking out a few choice titles here and there in the near future. I would be more than happy to trade away my dust old Wii for an actual true GameCube someday. After all, I have a Wii U which is basically a Wii with it’s backwards compatibility. In the meantime I think I am going to be spending more time digging into the handful of GameCube games I do have to see what new memories I can make as I try to reconnect with old memories.

I sometimes go back and forth between SNES and GameCube, trying to decide which is my favorite Nintendo console of all time. I don’t have anywhere close to the time, or money, to begin collecting Super NES games, so I might just have to settle for my second favorite for the time being and be okay with that. One of the reasons I do wish to own an original GameCube over just a Wii is the Game Boy Player. However, as those are also getting expensive I might pass on that for a while. Again, it’s not urgent that I acquire one since I have a Game Boy Advance and a Game Boy Color.

I miss the days when I had a GameCube with a collection of 60 or so games, a half dozen controllers and a good old Sony Trinitron CRT tube television set. For now I can get by with a Wii hooked up to my HDTV LCD TV playing GameCube games.

 

Enter the darkness, if you dare

This very website has often had trouble finding it’s voice. The primary author, however, has not. The slogan, To Organize Chaos, does little justice to what is actually intended. So here is a new layout of what to expect if you dare to venture into The Spiders Lair.

First, take a second to let that name sink in. At the very center of every spider-web (Spiders lair) is a blood-sucking monster. They hide in the darkness waiting to snag a bite of blood to enjoy. The savory taste of the salty fluid that keeps most biological creatures alive is the very substance every spider craves. Another popular blood sucking monster that lives in the dark is the vampire. If you read this blog, or know the author and his friends, you would come to realize vampires are often going to come up, one way or another. From Buffy to Dracula to Castlevania, vampires are a big part of the dark culture this site intends to cover.

Sure, as a gamer, I talk about video games, and so do my friends, but what really excites me, what really gets my blood going is talking about those things that hide in the shadows. The Christian lore teaches that the darkness is the enemy. The devil, the demons, the evil spirits all make their home in the darkest places, and that the darkest corners of a man’s soul are where the worst crimes imaginable take place. No matter which side of the war you fall, fighting for the light or slave to the dark master, know your enemy is something that comes to mind.

To some, studying the evil works of the Prince of Darkness himself is akin to opening a doorway to hell, or opening a door inviting evil into your home. To others, if we are instructed to fight a spiritual war, it’s a way of knowing your enemy so you know what you are dealing with. For others, it’s all innocent and just stories. Take for example, sitting around a campfire telling scary stories. Who hasn’t heard the tale of the escaped convict with a bloody hook told to all hormonal teenagers to scare them away from per-maritial sexual relations. Now, the Bible itself, the most revered weapon, the sword in the spiritual war, itself a book laced with graphic depictions of violence, kidnapping, rape, incest, and demon possession. If the Bible is to be taken literally and one follows logically that just reading stories of sinful acts is enough to “cause” a person to sin in their heart, then the reading the Bible itself would be a sin. No, the Bible tells stories of sinners who rebel against the Word of God as a precautionary tale. No different than the cautionary tales contained within the typical slasher film. Sure the movies are often laced with detailed illustrations of sexual acts, often bare breasted woman running amok as the serial killer slices their naked bodies to bloody rags. However, the bible itself contains detail stories of sexual acts that often result in the death, dismemberment or even damnation of the participants, the moral of the story is, if you don’t know what sin is, how are you to avoid it? Another way to look at it is, just hearing a story of how a particular crime occurred is not a sin, so neither is the reenactment of said acts via Hollywood movie magic. Even many who would condemn or judge a man who watches a horror movie would make no fuss about a person reading a classic novel or work of literature that also contains graphic scenes.

This is not intended to be a sermon, not everyone ascribes to the Christian ethic, even if the Gothic portrayal of Christianity is the basis for many horror movies.

Logic does not always matter to a person with a conviction. Thus I share this, the Bible does say judge not lest ye be judged, and leave that out there where it is. The rest of this website will be devoted entirely to covering those topics that spark the interest of the author, and hopefully, his readers. To quote Dr. Dre “Journey into the mind of a maniac, doomed to be a killer since I came out the nutsack.” In other words, enter the mind of a man who is not afraid to investigate the darker side of humanity, if you dare. The site is not going to glorify or glamorize violence, evil, or criminal activity, however, there are works of fiction and art, including movies and video games, that are covered and discussed that fall into those categories, either as tales of warning what not to do, or just as examples of how the dark forces operate as a way to better under stand the enemy within.

Here are some of the movies, video games, music, books, comic books, and board games that delve into the darkness that this site will cover.

Movies

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Friday the 13th
  • Hellraiser
  • Gremlins
  • Ghostbusters
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Star Wars
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Candyman
  • Sleepaway Camp
  • Children of the Corn
  • Child’s Play
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night
  • Prom Night
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • Last House on the Left
  • The Fifth Element

Books

  • Dracula
  • Frankenstein
  • Homer
  • Beowolf
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Sword of Shannara
  • Stephen King thrillers

Music

  • Marilyn Manson
  • N.W.A
  • Dr. Dre
  • Ice Cube
  • Snoop Dogg
  • RBX
  • The Dogg Pound
  • Garbage
  • Metallica
  • Megadeth
  • Alice Cooper
  • Rob Zombie
  • KISS
  • 2Pac
  • Wu Tang Clan

Video Games

  • Mortal Kombat
  • Castlevania
  • Doom
  • Ghosts N Goblins
  • Haunted House
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Final Fantasy
  • Silent Hill
  • Resident Evil
  • Alone in the Dark
  • Nightmare Creatures
  • Altered Beast
  • Golden Axe
  • Might and Magic
  • Wizards and Warriors
  • Pokemon (Pocket Monsters)

Comic Books

  • Dawn
  • Cry For Dawn
  • X-Men
  • Justice League of America
  • The Avengers
  • Spider-Man
  • The Punisher
  • Daredevil
  • The Fantastic Four
  • Batman
  • Vengeance of Vampirella
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Scooby Doo
  • Tales From the Crypt

Board Games/Card Games/Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
  • Magic: The Gathering
  • Hunter: The Reckoning
  • Clue
  • Spellfire
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

So there you have, if you wanted to know what direction this site is going, the best way to explain it is the intention is to explore the darker things of humanity, through the lens of media, and develop a sense of social commentary through this exploration. Enjoy, and beware what you discover.

 

 

 

 

30 SNES games for a new collector to begin with

Now for whatever reason you didn’t already have one of, if not *the* greatest video game consoles of all time, well nobody is judging you, here is a list of 30 games to probably get you into collecting. Like my previous lists, I want to avoid too many of the obvious picks, instead focusing on games that really give you a good variety of popular and less known, but not exactly the “hidden gems” everyone talks about.

Like my other lists these are only numbered to keep track, they are not ranked.

1. Super Mario World

If this isn’t the first game you pick up with your new Super Nintendo, what the HELL are you doing collecting SNES for? Seriously it was the most iconic game of the 16-bit era, probably the best of the Super Mario games, at the very least *the* best of the 2D Super Mario games, it’s one of the greatest video games of all time. So yeah, day one pick this up it’s almost mandatory at this point.

2. Mortal Kombat II

Just like how on Genesis you can buy MK1 and skip the rest, do that with SNES but buy MKII and pretend the rest don’t exist. Not only is this the best home version of one of the best 2D arcade fighting games ever made, it’s still a pretty solid game for the SNES library. Also skip Killer Instinct, everyone says that game, we all know it was just a Mortal Kombat cash in clone so let it go.

3. Super Star Wars

I normally don’t pick Star Wars games for general collectors, they tend to be more geared to hard core gamers and die hard Star Wars fans. While this game *IS* hard, even on the easiest setting it will challenge all but the most seasoned gamers, it’s also a very good game, even if it was stripped of the Star Wars license. It has great level design, epic boss battles, makes fantastic use of the Mode 7 psuedo-3D and it just has a great sci-fi/space fantasy vibe that makes for a great action video game.

4. Kendo Rage

Before you say now wait a minute you said no hidden gems. This game is not a “hidden gem” by my definition, in fact I consider it even more obscure than that. How obscure? Well I had the game as a kid, loved it played it to death, and it took me YEARS of combing used video game stores before I stumbled upon another copy and if i hadn’t asked the clerk to help me identify the games I was describing, I might not have recognized it at first, the game is obscure. Also it’s hard. I love it because it has a good weird mix of Castlevania, Ghosts N Goblins, with some Sailor Moon and Kirby Super Star, okay I know that’s a weird combination of games, but trust me that’s the best way to describe this game so yeah do some ebay digging and see if you can get a copy, trust me it’s worth it.

5. Donkey Kong Country

The typical response is grab the trilogy and have at it. Okay look there are over 700 games on the SNES and if you spend all your time going after the super popular Nintendo 1st party titles your going to miss out, so grab the first one, it will hold you over and is a masterpiece in it’s own right, and have fun. Make sure this game is in your first 30 purchases the rest can come later, hell maybe make then 31 and 32 respectively I don’t care but keep them out of the first 30, trust me you won’t regret mixing it up with a little variety.

6. Legend of Zelda- A Link to the Past

Arguably the best Zelda game ever made, easily the best 2-D Zelda and certainly one of the best Super NES games, you have the rest of your days as a collector to go chasing the JRPG’s and the shmups, but you can’t go wrong with getting Zelda early on.

7. Battletoads and Double Dragon

I will get this out of the way, the SNES is flooded with arcade fighting games, shoot em ups and JRPG’s. The Genesis does the first two FAR BETTER so stick to getting those games on Sega, as for the JRPG’s, well there are a ton, they are pretty much all the same in some way or another, no there is a lot of time to chase those too popular, too expensive and over hyped games, grab yourself a grade A 90’s arcade style mash up featuring martial arts bad asses along side some mutant frogs. This is sci-fi arcade beat em up at it’s best. Yeah the game is also on Sega but let’s not get into that now.

8. Bust A Move (Puzzle Bobble)

Everyone is going to tell you get Tetris this or Dr. Mario that, yeah well tell them to shut up those games are best on the Game Boy, the only GOOD puzzle game exclusive (in a way) to the SNES is Bust A Move, the Taito arcade classic semi-sequel to Bubble Bobble on the NES. I say sorta, but let’s not spit hairs this is a great, ultra fun, vibrantly colorful chipper game you can’t pass up for too long. Hidden gem, no, ultra rare probably over priced, maybe, at least rare the price is well worth it this game is AMAZING.

9. Batman and Robin

There are a million and one Batman games, this is the one to get on the Super Nintendo.

10. Super Ghosts N Goblins

Arcade games are fun. Sequels of arcade games that beat the original are easily twice the fun, oh and this time it’s 16-bit. Yeah these games are short but hard, hey whatever they are still great fun and this is still as good as, if not better than, the Sega game.

11. Sim City

I don’t just put this on here because it actually, literally, is my absolute favorite Super Nintendo game of all time, no seriously I play this game almost as much as I do Minecraft, which I play more than I should care to admit. But it’s still a great game to add early on to your SNES library to show you the depth of the consoles variety while also giving you a fun Nintendo take on the Sim genre. There are a ton of Sim games on the console but the original is a good place to start. It has KING BOWSER KOOPA what more do you want?!

12. Kirby Super Star

Like the Mario and DKC games, you will inevitably buy them all, or at the very least a good lot in due time. Why not start with one of the easiest to pick up and play games in the saga? This game has a ton of variety and is one of the best Kirby games ever made. The other games do what they do better in their own way, but this game gives you a sample of all the things Kirby is known for so it’s a great starting point and the theme song will get stuck in your head. It is already stuck in your head isn’t it? Don’t lie yes it is.

13. Robocop vs. The Terminator

While the SNES is more known for it’s RPG’s and Platformers and Sega for it’s sci-fi themed games, and this game is on Genesis, this is still the better version to get, and it’s a GREAT game with tons of fun and a whole bunch of replay value.

14. Zombies At My Neighbors

This is like Zelda, everyone is going to suggest it and there is no point in putting it off, see a copy pick it up.

15. Super Metroid

Again, I must stress, this list is not RANKED so for the love of all things that is good, if you get a SNES and you get a chance to buy this game, don’t hesitate or wait because it’s not far enough on the list, it very well could be the number 1 reason to get a Super Nintendo for a lot of people. This is the game that really started the “Metroidvania” style of game play that would be very common later on.

16. Super Mario RPG

Again, the console is WELL KNOWN for it’s RPG games, and Earthbound is NOT worth the asking price so you might as well get the Mario/Final Fantasy cross over and do yourself a favor. If you really want to experience the SNES at it’s fullest potential yes you will need some JRPG’s eventually, but damn I can’t stress this enough, they are expensive because EVERYONE wants them, so get this one to hold you over and get you started, it’s fine the game is 5 star, it’s a perfect ten, I mean it’s a great game you won’t regret it.

17. Super Mario All-Stars

Okay, yeah it’s just a collection of the 8-bit games redone with new 16-bit graphics and sounds, and yeah it just adds customizable controls, and oh yeah it also adds save states, but um, why am I having to sell you on this, IT’S a collection of the 3 most iconic games in HISTORY with SAVE STATES and NEW graphics, this is arguably the first true video game “remaster” by some definitions and it’s one hell of a starting off point.

18. Mega Man X

The best 2D Mega Man game ever made? That’s for you to decide. No I lied, the gaming community decided when this game was released and our collective opinion remains unchanged. This. Game. Is. GREAT. ‘Nuff Said. Okay fine not sold, take everything fun from Mega Man games and multiply that by a dozen, beef it up to 16-bit goodness, throw in a super cool hidden SFII reference, throw away all the crap that bogged down the not-so-good Mega Man games and throw it onto the greatest game console that the Big N has ever released and you got your self a game you need in your collection yesterday.

19. NBA Jam

If I didn’t put this on my Sega list, I should have or very well could have. This game is easily one of the best, and hands down the most iconic and recognizable arcade basketball, maybe even sports game, of all time. Throw it into your SNES, plug the Red and White audio cables into your stereo, crank up the bass along with the volume and bust out those dunks that make the announcer scream BOOM SHAKA LAKA all night long.

20. Spider-Man/Venom Maximum Carnage

While the Sega fans got the better stand alone Spidey game, the SNES got this game, okay it was on Sega also but this is not the Sega list it’s my Super Nintendo list. Damn why were the 16-bit console wars so damn great? Anyways this is probably the best brawler/beat-em-up on the console, aside from a certain turtle game I won’t mention. The SNES doesn’t do one-on-one fighting  games nearly as good as the Genesis, it does the side scrolling brawlers at least as good, if not better, so this is a very good comic book themed game to really sink your teeth into. Also you get to play as VENOM, I mean dude how is that not a thing in more Spider-Man games?

21. F-Zero

Might as well. It’s fast paced, futuristic sci-fi racing what could go wrong? This was one of the earliest games to show off the systems “mode 7” capability and it was all we gamers needed to know this machine was the real deal. Since Nintendo doesn’t seem to care to make any new games in the series any time soon, why not go back to the one that started it all?

22. Final Fantasy 3

If you count this game higher than 3, go back to Japan. This is the one we all played, for many of us, myself included, this was *THE* entry point into the JRPG genre and for most it was also the template we measured all future JRPG games against. This and Super Mario are probably the easiest to get into and the best place for an entry point for someone that doesn’t want to get overwhelmed with these text heavy games too early on. There are plenty of RPG’s on the console and you have the rest of your life to seek them out, this needs to be in your collection before pretty much all the rest of them, aside from Mario that is. This game defined the genre for a generation and it wasn’t surpassed until it’s direct (but incorrectly numbered, stupid Japanese) sequel.

23. Super Bomberman

If you don’t get yourself a Super Multi-Tap for some sweet 5-player Super Bomberman pretty much as soon as you can then you are cheating yourself out of a fantastic experience. There might not be that many games that use the multi tap that are worth owning, but this game is worth the price of admission all by itself. Pretty much any console that has a Bomberman game that supports 4 or more players is going to be high on any wish list. Treat yourself and your gaming friends (and even your non-gaming friends its casual friendly) to a night of blasting bombs at one another.

24. Knights of the Round

Sticking to the theme of playing to the systems strengths, here is another worth while side-scrolling arcade brawler that is sure to keep you entertained for several hours. The game is set in a fantasy world, and I honestly confused this for Golden Axe when I was a kid, so you can bet my surprise when I plugged Golden Axe into my Genesis and I was so furious. I played this game at a Pizza Hut long ago and dropped so many quarters into it every time I got the chance. The gameplay holds up today, the music and characters are still very well done and the level design is what you want in an arcade beat-em-up from the 90’s.

25. Super Castlevania 4

There is a never ending debate on the internet, which 16-bit console was better Super NES or Sega Genesis. A similar debate is which Castlevania game was better, this one or Symphony of the Night, (I throw my lot in with SOTN but to each their own) still this very game is at the heart of that debate and one of the reasons a die-hard self-proclaimed Sega fanboy like myself still freely admits the Super NES is probably the greatest game console of all time. Sure Bloodlines on Genesis is a good enough Castlevania game, but why settle for good enough when you can get the real deal, and this game is the real deal. Think of it like this, this games is the Empire Strikes Back of the Castlevania series, it’s that good. If I wasn’t such a Sega fan I would say this game and a handful of others would be all you need as a gamer. Needless to say, this was one of the games that, almost, made me switch sides from being Pro-Sega anti-Nintendo to very much a Nintendo loyalist. Even the prospect of just a port of this gaming coming to a new Nintendo console is usually enough to get my attention.

26. Primal Rage

Again, fighting games are almost always better on the Sega Genesis, that’s pretty much a given unless you live in a weird bubble where the 6-button pads never existed, if you bring up the crappy 3-button pads in a debate I walk away, seriously nobody games with those everyone has 6-button pads and all things being equal, the 6-button pad is better, the Genesis is faster, look fighting games are best on Genesis, RPG’s are best on Super NES, let’s just agree to that. Still, Primal Rage is one of those rare fighting games that is still great even on the Super NES. (I can hear the fanboys screaming at their monitors right now, you picked this over SFII!) No I didn’t but hell, SF II is played out at this point, It’s available on so many consoles, in so many varieties, seriously at this point if you are getting into SNES collecting STAY FAR AWAY from SFII games, period. They were good, damn good, at the time, they suck by today’s standards, and I don’t mean because the arcade port is available. Look let’s focus on this game, probably the LAST arcade game Atari ever had their hands in that was worth a damn and let it be that, the Atari swan song that it is and still a FANTASTIC fighting game, actually good on the Super Nintendo. If you are serious about playing SFII, play it on any console BUT the Super NES, and ignore the fanboys who never experienced SFII the way it was meant to be played. Or at the very least, get this game first and find yourself having fun appreciating one of the rare fighting games that was good on the console and pick up those thousand SFII clones at a later time.

27. Sunset Riders

Another one of those side scrolling arcade action games the system is well known for. I know there are people who can’t look beyond the JRPG’s, but if you aren’t a fan of those don’t get so down on the Super NES just yet, I know the fanboys make it sound like those are the best games on the system, thankfully you and I aren’t fanboys, at least not Nintendo fanboys. Okay, so infighting and trolling aside, yes this is a very good game. It does have it roots in the arcade and yes there is a Sega port of this game, this one is nearly identical in most ways but as I understand it very good and you don’t want to just turn your SNES into a JRP hub up front now do you? If you like arcade games this is a great port, for what it is.

28. T2: The Arcade Game

This is another arcade game, its also a shooting game and fortunately it does support various peripherals so you can sample the different play styles. The arcade game is still better in every way but this is a good game to pluck into your SNES console and get a few minutes of great fun before you get too bored, and it’s good to come back to from time to time.

29. Super Smash TV

Notice my lists are heavy on arcade games, well there is a reason for that, they are quick and easy to pick up and play, they are often fun even today, and they really try to demonstrate what their respective console was going for. This isn’t the best version of the game ever, but it is playable, and if you get yourself a Super NES Advantage stick, or two, your good to go. This game was not just a staple of 90’s arcades, it was one of those games that got ports across the spectrum of home consoles and was well worth playing, depending on your willingness to adapt.

30. Street Fighter II Turbo

Ignore everything I just said, this is *THE* 16-bit SFII game to get. Ha, had you fanboys going for a second didn’t it. Okay, so most of what I said above is mostly true, this is still the best version of this game available on the Super NES and it’s one of the few good fighting games on the system. Super is better on Genesis, and frankly, just about any system it’s on but Super, and the original is garbage, it is just accept it and move on. But this version is still damn good, for what it is. I had a Genesis and I played SFII SCE and Super SFII all the damn time. When I did get a Super NES I fell for the lies the fanboys told me and bought these games, one by one, trying to recapture the magic of the Sega versions, to no luck. There are different opinions and if you live in a vacuum where you will never own a Sega Genesis, and play only on the Super Nintendo, I guess your 12 years old and it’s 1994 all over again, anyways, then yeah get some SFII games and have fun, but I strongly recommend getting them on anything newer and if you have to play them on a 16-bit console get the Genesis versions, with proper 6-button controls and flip the fanboys a middle finger.

There is my list, sorry if this got heated I just deal with a world that distorted the facts to a twisted reality where Sega always sucked and Super NES was always just assumed to be the best ever. Despite being an honest to god Sega fanboy, again my online handle is segagamer12, and the Genesis was my first home console I ever owned, I do freely admit the Super NES is better, but only by a very slight margin and only because of a couple of games that push it over the top. However, when it comes to fighting games, Genesis is better in almost every instance. You just have to GROW UP and stop talking about the stupid 3-button pad like here in 2017 it’s still the only joystick available for the console.

 

Why the Nintendo Switch doesn’t need ALL of the 3rd party games.

Hear me out those 2 fanboys that find a way to read this. Nintendo is NOT Sony, they do not make the same type of system and their games appeal to a different audience. If the Switch was just a true home console replacement for the Wii U I would make a case Nintendo needed to do better this time around attracting 3rd parties, but since that is not the reality I would like to lay out an argument for why they not only can succeed without that level of AAA support, they are better off without it.

First, the Switch is NOT a home console. Despite Nintendo touting it as a “hybrid” and some in the gaming press towing that line, let’s face it, the machine is weaker than the base Xbox and PS4 consoles which have already been replaced with more powerful iterations. The reality is, more and more reports of the big budget AAA games NOT coming to Switch due to the weak hardware is a reality gamers have to accept. However, Nintendo has traditionally done well attracting handheld and mobile ports or versions of games for their portable consoles, Rock Star who has not made a game for a Nintendo home console ever has made games for the DS family. Microsoft, who competes directly with Nintendo in the home console space, has allowed Rare, a subsidiary of theirs, to release games for the Nintendo handhelds. If Nintendo, and their partners, want to be successful on Switch they have to look at it from that perspective. Sure make a comparable home port running on last gen builds if you must, but the focus needs to be getting the maximum potential out of the handheld side and letting the console shine in that arena.

Second, the Wii sold gangbusters and it was not just weaker, it was pathetic how weak it was compared to it’s big brothers. Unlike Switch, Wii had more than just weak horse power, slow CPU, less RAM and puny GPU going against it, it ALSO had to deal with the issue of the Wii remote, which meant certain games either had to be reworked entirely for motion controls, games like fighting games didn’t work so they were axed after the first few attempts, and that meant some games either had to be compromised, or developers had to spend additional, limited, resources retooling their game to not only run on weaker hardware but to utilize wonky, non industry standard controls. In the end it was easier for them to develop exclusive games for the Wii from the ground up than to try butchering their square games to fit into the round hole Nintendo was selling. Another limitation of the Wii was the memory size. It had 512 MEGABYTES, at least the Switch has 32 Giga Bytes and is expandable up to 512 GB. Wii was only expandable up to 8GB and that was a hard limit. The base Xbox ORIGINAL came with that  much memory. So games that required DLC or patches, and such, had to be compromised, or skipped. I wouldn’t pay full price for a Wii game that was missing key features, and most gamers didn’t which is why 3rd party games that did that sold terrible and the ones that sold well were built from the ground up with Wii in mind, or were quick ports of PS2 games with motion controls reworked anyways because they were cheap to port games that were already fully developed.

Third, Nintendo 1st party games always sell best and 2nd party games sell behind there, 3rd party games that DO find success on the Nintendo platform do so by imitating what Nintendo is doing on the console. A game like Mortal Kombat X or Destiny won’t work on a Nintendo Switch, but a 3rd party game in the Mortal Kombat universe that is scaled down to run on the hardware and caters to the retro audience that eats up Nintendo consoles has a better chance of appealing to that audience. Think of it like this. Switch is NOT getting SF5, but it is getting a SFII game that is targeting the Nintendo audience.

Fourth, Nintendo fans = retro fans. Let’s face it, with their roots going all the way back to Atari, Nintendo has been a part of the gaming community and in the hearts and minds of gamers since the first successful home consoles. Sony has been in the game for 20 years, but Nintendo has an additional 15 years on them easily. That means there is a larger audience of classic and retro gamers who identify with Nintendo. Sony has always gone after the more modern, younger gamers and Xbox has always tried to make a PC for the living room, leaving Nintendo the last remnants of the early days of video games. This causes a lot of warm fuzzy feelings with Nintendo gamers that Sony doesn’t and Microsoft never will have. You could make a case that Microsoft was in the game just as long with their PC stuff, but PC gamers and retro console/retro arcade gamers don’t always intersect. That being said, Wii was a retro gamers wet dream and for that reason alone I keep that wonky butt of gaming jokes around. Even now, the majority of launch titles really play on that nostalgia. In fact, ARMS and Breath of the Wild are the only games that I own for the console that aren’t retro themed or inspired in some way.

Nintendo does need to get some of the big name franchises, the Call of Duty games, the sports titles, etc., but they don’t need the latest and more current console iteration, realistically that’s not going to happen anyways, but they can get by with ports that are catered to their audience and the gamers who see it as a second console will play it for the Nintendo games and the retro games with 3rd party ports catered to their tastes leaving them to buy the deeper, more complex and big budget experiences on their preferred Microsoft, Sony or PC of choice.

That being said, there are going to be those who buy the Switch as their primary console and they will want some 3rd party games too. However, the majority of them are likely to be the same pro-Nintendo audience that favors the “Nintendo” style of gaming so they probably aren’t Call of Duty or Destiny gamers to begin with.

Nintendo has learned a long time ago they can’t go toe to toe with the big boys. That is why the had to go the blue ocean route. They found their audience with Wii and DS because they learned what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately people, mostly short sighted folks that don’t follow the gaming industry, tend to see the failure of the Wii U as an isolated event and pick it apart. I could write an entire article on why that failed and Switch is doing well, but instead I will just say Nintendo knows how to reach their audience and by merging their home console and handheld audience into one market they have finally solved many of the problems they were having.

Nintendo isn’t going to abandon the 3DS/2DS family just yet, but people have to understand how long it takes to make a game and launch a new platform before they go throwing around claims like new games coming to that as proof Nintendo isn’t merging their platforms. The Switch is it going forward. Games that were 1-2 years out from release when Switch launched that were already in development for 3DS were going to continue no matter what. Nintendo wasn’t just banking on if Switch failed they were working on plan b, rather what likely is happening is games that were commissioned and started before Switch was even finalized were just too far along to move over to the Switch and Nintendo always supports their old handheld or console at least a year or two after they replace it. However with Wii U, they stopped cold turkey, just killed it with Breath of the Wild and washed their hands of it.

In a world where Nintendo has to divide their attention between making games for two platforms, a small developer like Nintendo falls into the drought situation more often than they can handle. Once the 3DS winds down and all you see are ports and games coming from the smaller, lesser studios and the interns, you will start to see a shift of full development migrating to Switch and the merging of the two markets into one will be complete. After that point you won’t see six or seven Switch games a year followed by six or seven 3DS games, you will start seeing 10-20 games for Switch and 3DS will just fade away. By then the 3rd party developers who figure out how to make games for the Nintendo audience will have done so.

This is mostly meant to reassure the Switch faithful and those on the fence that while it looks bad on the surface so many developers not bringing their big titles to the system, keep in mind it takes 2-3 years to make a new game and most of those games were in development years before the Switch was finalized. The ones that could run or be made to run on the hardware and that would appeal to the Nintendo audience, will find their way on the system. Those that can’t be done without compromising the games just won’t, and shouldn’t, be ported. I say this as someone who had, and LOVED, the Gamecube, bringing half-baked ports that cut features, severely limiting the appeal and remove key components of the game, are NOT going to sell anyways so it’s just a waste of time bringing them over. I would rather get a Nintendo-style port of a game catered to the hardware, than a watered down port that has to cut features. Some argue that is splitting hairs, after all if they have to cater it to the hardware isn’t that the same as watering it down? Not if done right.

Hand held versions of games, especially on Nintendo consoles, have typically been built from the ground up to utilize the platform’s unique features anyways, so handheld gamers have come to expect that a Call of Duty that does get released on their machine is going to be built to run on that hardware. Does that mean there is hope for WWII coming to Switch? No, Activision already said so. But there is a chance they will find a way to port next years game to the console, or create a specific game tailored for the Switch hardware and catered to that audience. In other words, it’s going to be DS/Wii all over again, but this time the hardware is closer and has fewer hurdles to over come. You won’t get a PS4 game on Switch but you CAN and likely will get last gen PS3 style ports that make use of the unique features of the Switch and, best of all, can be played on the go in full HD console style graphics. In other words a portable PS3 is NOT a bad console to be making games for.

I love my PS3 and while I do want my big budget AAA games, I will get those on my PS4 and be happy with that, sell me games made for the Switch that make use of it’s features or at least give me PS3 quality games I can take on the go and I will be happy. Also, unlike PS2-Wii ports, where the leap from PS2 to PS3 was very obvious, many gamers continue to say the leap from PS3 to PS4 was so minimal it’s barely noticable anyways, getting a ton of late PS3 ports and PS3 “remasters” isn’t going to be bad for Nintendo gamers that stuck to Wii and missed out on those games, even the tiny percentage that migrated to Wii U are still going to find a ton of games they missed out on. For example, I did stick with Wii clear into 2008. I went full PC only until about 2013 when I picked up both a PS3 and a Wii U and I had no trouble going back through the PS3 library and finding tons of great games that never made it to Wii, those gamers, also likely the ones gobbling up all the Switches at the moment, like myself, are probably going to be just as happy playing Skyrim in 2017 on Switch as their friends were who played it when it was new. Think of it as new to you games.

Nintendo gamers are fully accustomed to that mentality and unlike Wii U where development was hindered, Switch at least is easier to make games for, has features people want, is priced fair for what you get, and once game developers get into their groove, late 2018 and beyond the Switch is going to be a gaming behemoth. It’s going to have a short lifespan, sure, but it will be a great 5 years and then Switch 2.0 will be gearing up by then anyways. I know this ran a little long but there was a lot that had to be said.

I remain optimistic that Switch will

30 Sega Carts to start up your collection right

I did a similar post about the NES recently and now this is my stab at naming 30 Sega Genesis carts a new collector might consider getting started with. I will try to venture off the beaten path, this isn’t a list of the top 30 games, or even a list of hidden gems, just a good, well-rounded assortment of games to pick up and get a good start. Also I am numbering these to keep track of how many are on the list, these are not ranked in order of important.

1. Sonic 2

For most collectors and gamers alike, if you are thinking about getting into Sega you need to start with Sonic games. Everyone has their opinion and this list will reflect mine so this is the one I recommend up front. This has a very great single player campaign more with an optional 2-player experience if you know how to do it right and work as a team. However the real fun is in the 2-player split screen competition mode. Everyone has that game they could get their parents to play who weren’t exactly gamers, 2-player competition Sonic 2 was our families entry point for family fun. I think it holds up especially well with today’s “speedrun” culture so it’s worth checking out, plus it still has a pseudo-3D special stage to connect the retro with the modern.

2. X-Men

You will want a brawler or “beat-em-up” right off the bat. The 16-bit era was the golden age of arcade fighting games and X-Men is a great example of how to bring that action to the home screen and make it exceptional. Unlike typical arcade brawlers though, this game has a lot going for it. It’s actually more of an action game than a straight bean-em-up, but it’s a lot of fun. You get to explore the most popular scenes from X-Men lore, facing their more well-known enemies with a roster that samples some of the  best members the X-Men have ever had. The game is great. However, there is a trick to it, in order to beat the game you do have to know the right moment to hit the reset button in order to progress and not everyone is going to know that up front. I highly recommend this as a great 2-player and single player action game with fun characters to explore. It is done in the style of the fondly remembered X-Men animated series that ran on Fox in the 90’s so it’s got a double-dose of nostaglia and cool factor going for it.

3. Shinobi 3

On the surface, like Sonic, you could make a case for any of the three Shinobi titles on the console. However, unlike Sonic, I push heavily for the third installment over the others. All games are fantastic but this one just took everything that was great from the previous and upped the ante by about 1000 percent. The action is immediate, urgent, and very heart-pounding from the moment you turn the cart on, the music itself gets you pumped up and ready to start busting your ninja moves to fight the evil criminal monster makers this game throws at you. The horse riding and jetski levels add an extra layer of variety that make the game even more exciting. Ninja Gaiden on NES is a great Ninja game, Shinobi 3 is a fantastic follow through to damn near perfection. The game is the right blend of hard and fun, with varying degrees of difficult options to help you find your perfect game play style.

4. Turrican

If you are going into the Genesis library from the perspective of a SNES fan or gamer, Turrican might be a good starting point. It has some of the Metroid style level and power ups, it has some bullet hail action common in shooters and it has the robot/sci-fi action of any good arcade game from the era. It is basically the perfect storm. This game is also HARD, you think NES hard is a thing, oh no, this takes NES hard and maxes it out. The game can be easy if you use a handy little cheat, but the enemies are non-stop, respawn at the worst place, there are sudden death traps all over and the grand boss battles really remind you of what a boss battle in an action game was supposed to feel like. The game was inspired heavily by Metroid, and it shows. There are other ports out there, some better some worse, but this is a list of Genesis games and the Sega port is a fine entry in the series. Again like above, there are other Turrican games, three total technically, on the Genesis so you are free to explore the library and find more action to keep you entertained. I still enjoy going back to this one the most, especially the music it’s just great fun. I do remember the cheat code, and any NES Contra fan will attest, in some games the cheat code really just makes the game playable, as is the case here.

5. Mortal Kombat

The war between Nintendo and Sega was a blood conflict, and it all started right here with the first volley into the battlefield of violent video games. Sega brought video games to the masses more than Nintendo in many ways, at least to the collective consciousness of the larger public. This game spawned lawsuits and Congressional hearings, leading all the way to the creation of a rating system in place today. Oh and it happens to be a GREAT port of a FUN arcade fighting game. The move set still holds up, the graphics are still passable, for the most part, and the characters and fatalities are as memorable as ever. This is also *THE* game to force you into picking up a 6-Button controller, and it is so worth it. Some criticize it for not being too faithful to the arcade, at least by today’s standards. Well duh, it was released on inferior hardware, but that was common. If Contra or TMNT for NES get a free pass, why does MK for Sega get so much flack? The graphics are mostly the same or at least close enough, all of the levels are there, the minor graphical differences are just that, minor, and the gameplay is spot on plus the music is actually much better in the Sega version, making it a very worthy purchase for a Sega collector even to this day. I can’t, and won’t say that about the subsequent entries in the series, but MK 1 is worth buying and playing today.

6. Toe Jam and Earl: Panic on Funkotron

Stop it right now, I know you are screaming at the computer telling me this game sucks play the original. Slow down, here me out. First, duh, everyone knows the original is a classic, and yes, everyone knows Sega was not very well known for their platformers, but chill dudes, this is still a top notch platformer with great level design, fun characters, an entertaining and humorous story, and it’s one of the brightest and most colorful games on the Genesis. If you were looking for a uniquely Sega game that also felt Nintendo enough then this is it. The game is fun, and the challenge is great and the 2-player mode requires full cooperation of both parties if you want to make any real progress.

7. Biohazard Battle

I will get this off my chest before I move forward. Those people who “claim” the Turbo Graphix-16 is the “best” console for arcade shooters (shoot-em-ups or shmups) are either lying, or have been lied to. Just by sheer numbers alone the Genesis beats the TG-16. I mean there were a grand total of 21 shooters for Turbo, you can bring that up to the mid 30’s if you add Turbo CD, and yes they were ALL great games, but Genesis has 50+ shooters, and among them is this amazing gem of a game. While not every shooter is golden, this game is great. It has 4 ships, each organic in nature, has a lot of imagery to nuclear war and alien invasions, and the levels get progressively more difficult with the weapons and bosses increasing in intensity at each stage. Oh and as any Sega fan with gladly point out to those Nintendo fanboys, despite the so-called limitations of the hardware, the music in this game is FANTASTIC. This is easily one of the top tier, hidden gem arcade style shooters you will ever discover. Are there better shooters on the console, oh sure, but this game is totally worth buying a Genesis for if nothing else. That doesn’t mean Turbo is not a GREAT console for shooter fans, but come on, it’s got nothing on the Genesis and this game proves that.

8. Cool Spot

I will keep this short, this game is the definitive platforming game based on a licensed non-Disney character. Sure that’s a lot of qualifiers but this game is fun. Sure it is also on SNES but we are focused on Sega right now. Anyways pick it up its fun, its cheap and yeah not perfect still a great game to get started.

9. Bubba N Stix

I won’t spend a lot of time on each game, and here on out I am going to move pretty quick, but this game is just a good blend of 90’s weirdness, Sega coolness, and platforming goodness. It’s not the greatest platformer ever, but it’s a good time nonetheless.

10. D&D Warriors of the Eternal Sun

There are not that many great RPG’s on the console. As a D&D fan, I always recommend this game to anyone collecting for the Sega. It’s not a traditional JRPG it blends elements of both western and Eastern style gameplay and features some pretty good customization based on one of the better rulesets of the game. It’s fun, and a good action RPG to get you started.

11. Sonic Spinball

Once again not to take a “dig” at Turbo fans who brag about the “awesome” pinball games on their console but Sega has you beat with this gem. Take pinball action with multiple boards, multi level boards, mix it with sci-fi themed Sonic, throw in some platforming and amazing 90’s techno inspired music and you got yourself a good time. ‘Nuff Said.

12. Raiden Trad

Keep this quick, a great arcade port of a fun shooter game. It’s a fun game with a lot of action to keep the shmup fans happy and it plays well enough for a Sega game.

13. Decap Attack

Now if you want a quirky game that really shows how different from Nintendo Sega was, this is the place to start. The main character throws his head at enemies, really it’s a lot of fun. It has a very early 90’s vibe and plays quite well for a platformer. It’s a good game all around.

14. Comix Zone

I would be burned at the stake if I mentioned Genesis games and didn’t bring this up. It’s plays into the X-Men/comic book vibe Sega was really great at in the 90’s. Hell, even in the later years their consoles were well known for having fantastic super-hero themed games. This is no exception. Best of all, it’s completely original and hard as hell while remaining fun to play at the same time. Pick it up, I can’t say more good things about it than what is already out there.

15. Disney’s Aladdin

Hey Nintendo fanboys, you want to talk about the awesome Disney afternoon games on your NES, okay good for you those cute little 8-bit games sure were fun, when I was 8. Now, let me show you a real game, oh and it’s Disney and based on one of the greatest animated films of all time. Everyone knows the Sega version of Disney’s Aladdin is *THE* version of Aladdin to get, so I am not teaching you anything new. But seriously if you buy a Sega console to game or collect and you wait too long to get this game, you lose all your gamer cred.

16. Thunderforce/Lightning Force

These games are all good, I won’t force you to pick which one is the best, grab the first one you come across that is within your budget and enjoy more proof Sega was *THE* shmup fans dream console, not the Turbo what’sitcalled.

17. Joe Montana Sports Talk Football

I am not a huge sports fan but every collector knows they have to have that one sports game to show off, and if you have a Sega console, this is probably it. Moving on.

18. Boogerman

I used to go into a video game store with my sister all the time. There was one employee there who no matter what console you were looking for he would always say, have you played Boogerman yet? He wasn’t wrong in how much he hyped this game. Sure, I already had it and if you want to get into Sega collecting you might as well pick it up first chance you get, it’s pretty good and really captures the whole spirit of the console, well the 90’s in general.

19. Clayfighter

This is another one that falls under the quirky category of games. Basically it’s a stop motion animated arcade style 1 on 1 fighting game. Is it the best fighting game on the system, not by a long shot, but it will look damn nice sitting on your shelf and it makes for a great conversation piece.

20. Spider-Man

There are a few different Spider-Man games on the console, this one is just titled Spider-Man no subtitle. It’s loosely based on the animated cartoon, and has some similarities to the Sega CD counterpart. In this game you are Spidey, armed with his spider-powers, and his trust camera that he uses to sell photos to earn money to buy extra equipment. It has a learning curve but once you get the hang of it this wall-crawling action platformer is sure to make your spider senses tingle with joy.

21. Gunstar Heroes

Tell the Nintendo Fanboys they can keep their umpteenth Contra sequel/knock off while you sit back and have a blast shooting down enemies with some of the best run n gun action you will ever come across outside of a Neo Geo. This game captures the spirit of something like a Metal Slug while offering a grounded Contra-esque experience. Sure you could just go for the (not lame) Contra Hard Corps anyways, but any self respecting Sega fan will tell you Gunstar Heroes is where it’s at.

22. Ghouls N Ghosts

Yes it was a launch title. Yes it was a sequel to a (fantastic) NES game, and yes it’s HARD as hell, but you know what, I am almost certain that if you are brand new getting into Sega collecting you will find no better game than this to pick up and get you into the awesome 16-bit mood. Sure there is the (superior) Super Ghosts N Goblins on SNES, which if you have a Super Nintendo get that game too, but this is all about Sega and this arcade style classic is sure to keep you coming back for more. The levels are fun, the bosses battles are challenging, the atmosphere is dark and the music is great for getting you pumped for action.

23. Columns

Everyone is going to tell you get Sonic, get Altered Beast, and get Columns. I am going to tell you get Sonic 2, and get Columns. Columns is a simple, but fun and addicting puzzle game. There aren’t that many good puzzle games on the system unfortunately and Columns is one of the best, it’s a great common game so it won’t break the bank, and it’s a good pick up and play casual game to try to get your friends into the Sega experience. The music is also very good, it will put you in a trance but that’s okay.

24. Streets of Rage 2

Skip 1, wait to get 3 when you are good and ready and just dive into one of, if not the best, 16-bit arcade-style brawlers ever made. This game is just too much fun, the music is just fantastic, the action is great, the levels are perfectly designed and the boss battles are just the right mix of fun and challenge. This is the definitive arcade beat-em-up and it’s exclusive to Sega Genesis* (Or the Genesis Rom is available on various compilations but it was never released in arcades)

25. Vectorman

I wasn’t going to pick too many obvious choices at the same time I wanted to stay away from too many of the “hidden gems” that are probably too expensive or hard to find. Instead I wanted to focus just on getting you a decent collection of games relatively quickly and your first 30 games for Genesis absolutely must include Vectorman. This is Sega action at it’s peak. The graphics are top notch, the music is fantastic, the level design and boss battles, sounds familiar? Sega actually did make GREAT games during the 16-bit era, in fact they made such great games that this honestly explains why despite their total suckage these days, they still have such a devoted fanbase, because hey even if they never make a game as great as Vectorman again, at least they made this one for the world to enjoy, and hell they did us a solid and made a sequel too. Just shut up and buy this game already.

26. Virtua Racing

Nintendo has their F/X Chip, Sega gas their SVP chip. Now Nintendo went on to release a good number of F/X games, Sega released just one for their SVP chip. Fortunately for gamers, and unfortunately for Sega investors, they topped Nintendo by forgoing the expensive chip and replaced it with the, much maligned, Sega 32X add-on. Now I would highly recommend just getting a 32X, but until you are ready for that, or if you decide to stick to the basics, fine but at the very least get this game. The arcade original was a game changer and yes it actually won awards and accolades. Is this version fun, you bet your ass it is. Sure it is clunky by today’s standards, hell it was clunky by the standards of the time, but it’s a great demonstration of what they were trying to do, demonstrates that Nintendo weren’t the only ones desperate to beef up their console with some 3D graphics, oh and it’s actually a fun racing game. Also if you are into collecting, which these guides are aimed at collectors, you KNOW you want this beast of a cartridge sitting on your shelf for your gamer friends to stare at. Yes you do, we know you do.

27. Super Street Fighter II

Did you honestly think I, a devoted Fighting game fanatic and self proclaimed Sega nerd (seriously my handle online is Segagamer12) was going to not mention *the* fighting game of fighting games? Well think again. Shut your Nintendo fanboy friends up with a good 6-button pad and a copy of the best 16-bit version of SF2 in existence, and yes this one is actually better in every way to the SNES counterpart, especially if you have the 6-button pad, or hell a REAL gamer/collector would even have a 6-button arcade stick so there you go pick this up and show off that HELL YEAH the Genesis blast processing was good for more than just shooting blue rodents through rollercoaster-like loop-d-loops. This is the definitive cartridge version of this arcade classic that to this day continues to impact the gaming world. Hell the Switch is itself getting a port of this game, okay the Arcade game, but it’s still proof that at one time Capcom knew how to make some of the very best games on the planet. Hyperbole and fanboyism aside, this is a great version of the game.

28. Mutant League Hockey

Sega were the MASTERS of making sports games back in the 90’s, in fact they were more known for their SEGA SPORTS branding than E.A Sports was in the later half of the decade. Their hockey games are among the best of the best and while they didn’t actually make this game, in fact it was Electronic Arts, the fact that the console is so known for it’s hockey games is pretty much common knowledge. This is also a great example of a 90’s theme that was done well, monsters and mutants. This game is probably one of the most fun sports titles and non sports titles on the console. Before EA became the butt of many jokes, they were one of the most respected developers on the Sega platform that we all know and love.

29. Garfield Caught in the Act

So you got your Cool Spot do you? Good. Got your Sonic 2 and your Decap Attack? Fine. And of course you got your Disney’s Aladdin. Now if you want a really fun game starring everyone’s favorite furball then this is it. No it’s not a great game by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a great character, it has some great ideas and hell it’s not the normal boring old Golden Axe or Altered Beast everyone else is recommending. Seriously you are going to get those games but don’t you want your Genesis collection to stand out from the crowd? I mean if everyone bought the same 25 games life would get pretty boring. And I know I already throw enough of the super common picks everyone is going to suggest, with good reason of course. No this game belongs in your collection because it’s different, while familiar at the same time. This game tried what Gex perfect on the next generation of consoles. It’s not entirely bad, some people like it but it’s nothing more than an average platformer, which to be honest isn’t even all bad as platformers are the true appeal of the 16-bit era of gaming anyways.

30. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This is a great game. Also I am sure I have mentioned by now I am a HUGE fighting game fan and while I could suggest something else that isn’t another fighting game, seriously come on now you want to get some games that others are going to shake their head at. This is a one on one arcade style fighting game with monsters and levels taken directly from the show. The play mechanics are simple, it’ actually a very easy game, nothing special but you get that Go Go Power Rangers tune stuck in your head while playing and that alone should get your pumped up for a few minutes.

I didn’t want to just recommend the same old games everyone does, but I also didn’t want to dig too deep into the obscure. I tried to pick games that were iconic for the time yet would be great talking points for a Genesis collector to point to and give their friends something to be in awe of. Maybe there are better lists of games out there, this is by no means comprehensive it’s just a jumping off point, but a good list of games to get you started. And there you have it, a good set of Sega 16-bit carts to get your going.

 

 

 

 

30 NES games to get started

In a few months Nintendo is planning on releasing the SNES Classic Edition. As a follow up to the popular but under-produced NES Classic Edition, I expect this thing to be quite popular with gamers and collectors. However, due to scarcity and the fact the NES mini has already been discontinued, I thought I would write a 30 NES games to start up a collection for the lapsed gamer who might want to get back into NES gaming, but who doesn’t want to shell out the money for an NES mini. This list is based on my own preferences but I think it should be a good reflection of the NES library. I think these are 30 games that any gamer should pick up early on when starting their NES collection. I might write similar guides or lists for other consoles if I enjoy this enough. Also I am not ranking these, this is not a top 30 NES games, so the order is not that important these are just the 30 games I personally feel every NES collectors should get right away.

1. Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt

The first game every collector should have is the most obvious one. Seriously, if you are trying to go back in time to revisit the NES, or you are a kid just discovering it for the first time there is no other game as iconic or important as this game. There are different variations and combinations of these two games, but the classic SMB/Duck Hunt cart is the most obvious one to get.

2. Duck Tales

This game gets a lot of attention, and with good reason. The cartoon was classic, the tune is catchy, the characters are very retro and the game play is fantastic. What more can I say? I was trying to avoid games that rely so heavily on nostalgia, but fortunately Capcom recently upgraded this game on modern consoles as DuckTales Remastered, so it has the potential to reach a younger audience thus not relying entirely on nostalgia.

3. Batman

Probably the best action/platformer on the console and certainly one of, if not the best, comic book/super hero games in the NES library. A great game with good music, fun game play, decent challenge, and great graphics for the console. Also based on an amazing movie that is still worth revisiting while you are at it.

4. Iron Tank

Not everyone is going to pick a random tank combat game, but I think if you are going to get serious about NES collecting you need this game in your collection. It’s not as well known as some of the other games you hear banded about, but it’s still a lot of fun. This is one of those “NES hard” games where the difficulty is going to turn some people away, but the game play, the graphics, and the challenge all make it a very worthy game to add to your collection quite early on.

5. Legend of Zelda

Most people this will be either their first or second purchase. This game is so icon it practically defines the entire NES generation. I can’t say enough good things about this game, I played it to death as a kid, so much in fact the battery died in my cart.

6. TMNT 2: The Arcade Game

I could just say buy all 3 games, 4 if you count the fighting game, but I think this is probably the one to start with. Save the first for when you are padding your collection and get 3 when you are ready for more beat-em-ups. I say start with 2 because it’s the easiest to pick up and play, its the most iconic, it is based on the arcade game so it has that retro arcade feel to it, and it’s the one based most off the cartoons so would be the most familiar to a lot of people. The first game is good too but I recommend 2 for an early collector.

7. Dr. Mario

It shouldn’t take you too long to pick up this game. It’s arguably the best puzzle game on the console, and certainly a higher priority to me than Tetris. Although Tetris is well known, chances are you have multiple copies of Tetris spread across however many gaming platforms you have, so why not put off getting Tetris and start with the, in my opinion, superior game anyways?

8. A Nightmare on Elm Street

I know this game gets a lot of hate, especially since a certain Youtuber trashed it so famously. Still it’s actually not that bad of a game. The common criticism of it not having that much to do with the movies aside, which I would argue it actually does the job of re-creating the nightmare just fine, it does have its flaws. Still, as a HUGE Nightmare on Elm Street fan, I personally love this game, warts and all. It’s actually a decent, crazy fun 4-player experience. Sure you likely won’t beat it without cheating, but honestly how many NES games can you beat without cheating anyways? Also, part of the charm in collecting NES carts is revisiting the 80’s, and nothing is more 80’s than Freddy Krueger.

9. Casltevania

I try not list the obvious games but since this isn’t a top 30 list and it certainly isn’t a list of hidden gems, I figured this is just one of those iconic games every NES collector needs in their collection, and fairly early on too. I won’t get too into it, the game launched one of the longest running horror franchises in gaming history.

10. Super Mario Bros. 3

I would almost suggest getting these games in reverse order, starting with 3, then 2 and ending up with 1. Either way, all three of them belong in your NES collection, but the first and 3rd certainly belong in your first 30 for sure.

11. Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man

Take your pick, get either the Namco licensed ones or the unlicensed Tengen carts, Mr. or Ms. Pac-Man both games are good, and either one should be early purchases. I strongly believe that both of these games are just true staples in gaming history that should never be over looked. Personally I love them both equally and can never choose one over the other. But for the sake of this list, and because money could be an issue for most people, you should be good to pick one and have hours of fun from time to time.

12. P.O.W.

I love arcade games. A lot of the best arcade games from the NES library can certainly be found on modern consoles for sure. If you are going to start a collection, I would recommend going after this game over some of the more common, heavily talked about games. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it. Sure it’s not the best game to begin with, but it’s a good pick up and play action game for the NES reminiscent of the classic arcade experience.

13. Contra

Speaking of great arcade ports… Seriously Contra is practically *the* NES game to collect at this point. It’s a great run and gun, it’s a great 2 player action game, and it’s a fantastic port of an arcade game. Most people say this version is actually superior to the real arcade version it is based on, I happen to be one of those people.

14. 3-D Battles of the World Runner

You are going to be collecting NES games you have plenty of time to pick up the staples. Why not get a quirky game that makes good use of the 3D gimmick while also being another throw back to awesome arcade game play. It’s a pretty decent “Space Harrier” clone if you want to get down to it, and it’s a lot of fun.

15. Popeye

Another arcade classic. I played Popeye so much as a kid. I actually enjoyed it even more than the famous Donkey Kong arcade hit. Granted the game hasn’t aged all that well and yes it mostly is just a Donkey Kong clone, albeit an official one if you want to get down to it. Still the game is fun, the music is catchy and if you are looking for a nice little arcade game to get you going this is as good a place as any to start, and let’s be honest do you really want to just get DK like everyone else or wouldn’t you rather have this, a game that is unique and probably a little more collectible than DK? I know I would.

16. Ninja Gaiden

I almost didn’t want to pick this one, first, it’s too obvious, second, its super hard. But let’s be real if you are looking to collect NES games this is going to be one of your first 30 purchases for sure. It’s a great game totally worthy of all the praise. Is it hard, HELL YEAH, but it’s also very fun.

17. The Simpsons: Bart vs. The World

You need at least one bad game in your collection to start off with, might as well get one that makes for a good talking piece right? Is the game bad, yes, but let’s be real the purpose of collecting the physical carts if you are going that route is to relive the 80’s, Simpsons games were terrible but we all played them, we all rented them over and over knowing they were bad but somehow hoping against all hope that if we just got good enough we might uncover a good game underneath. Also it’s not all bad, it does have some decent mini games and unlike the other games, it does have a coherent story, at least as coherent as an episode of the cartoon.

18. Zelda II: Adventure of Link

Love it or hate it you need this game in your collection ASAP. I personally loved it. In fact I can’t decide which Zelda game I enjoy more, I honestly put equal amounts of time into playing each one. I have owned every re-release of both Zelda NES games and I highly recommend both as a good starting point, and bonus, you get a little variety in the gameplay if you get this one and the first early on.

19. Blades of Steel

I don’t typically recommend getting sports games right away. I prefer to put them off until I have had a good library of non-sports games and then slowly pick them off one at a time. This is one of the better sports games on the console. Even if you don’t like sports NES sports games are mostly pretty good. This is certainly more fun to play than a game of baseball or golf, in my opinion. I might even do a separate list of the best NES sports games, who knows.

20. Joust

I know, another classic arcade game. What can I say, the NES was billed as an arcade in your living room, and it was so much better at delivering on that promise than everything that came before it. Joust is a good game, it’s a fairly good port, and I think it’s a game any collector should pick up because it’s just so easy to pick up and play.

21. Battletoads

It’s divisive to most but it’s still a good game, mostly. This is another one of those ‘NES hard’ games that is more frustrating than fun, but it has so much 80’s charm it’s just totally worth buying just for the humorous moments. Grab a friend and just have at it. The game is not just hard it is extremely hard, but any NES collector who wants to be taken seriously needs to add this game to their collection as early as they can.

22. Anticipation

One of those quirky NES games that just captures the spirit of the decade perfectly. Over the top, lots of mini games and puzzles, multiplayer, and it’s just got so much going on how can you turn this down?

23. Mega Man 2

I could just say pick any random one but we all know 2 is the one to get.

24. Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland

I don’t know what the internet reaction to this game is, I haven’t really read many reviews, but I personally enjoyed it so much as a kid. Now, A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of my favorite movies, and part of that is I love the idea of a dream world. This game, and the movie, both do a very good job capturing that part of the imagination. This one is hard also, but seriously if you are playing NES games you should expect to pick up a few hard ones as you go.

25. Blaster Master

Here is a game that does get named a lot, but usually in hidden gems discussions. With the recent remaster on Switch, what better time than starting up a new NES collection to buy this classic? The game might not be on the top of anyone’s lists, it’s still a super fun, not overly difficult action game with some pretty original gameplay.

26. Ghosts N Goblins

If you thought I was going to make a list of 30 NES games to start your collection and leave off this game, you were nuts. Again, yes, it is an arcade game, and yes it is difficult, but by now hard/arcade ports are pretty much the best games to get on the NES, at least when you are getting back into it or just getting started.

27. Star Wars

I know the SNES games are better, but it’s Star Wars how can you not get excited? I happen to enjoy the 8-bit version slightly more than the SNES one at times because the driving isn’t as clumsy as it is in the 16-bit versions. They only made 2 for the NES, both are good but this is the one to get first.

28. Kid Icarus

It was either this or Metroid and I think getting started you will have more fun exploring a game that doesn’t have a bazillion sequels/remakes. The game is fun, but hard and this time it’s not even based on an arcade game.

29. Wild Gunman

You need more than one light gun game especially if you do get Duck Hunt early on with the Zapper, you’re going to want a second game to justify having the Zapper and shelling out money on that CRT tube TV set you had to in order to get it to play right. Also it was featured in Back to the Future, albeit as an arcade game which it was not originally. Still a fun game and very much worth getting early on.

30. Chip N Dale’s Rescue Rangers

Much like DuckTales this game is just a blast to play. The 2 player action is fantastic, the game really captures the essence of the show quite well and despite being released recently on modern consoles, it still holds up quite well as a great retro NES game.

There you have it, 30 great NES games to get you started on your journey to collecting for one of the greatest, most beloved home video game consoles of all time.

 

 

 

SNES Classic Mini: Thoughts.

Last year Nintendo surprised the entire world by releasing the NES Classic Edition. The handy little rom machine was under produced and now sells for outrageous prices on the after market.

Now with the success of the Switch Nintendo feels emboldened to follow up the insanely popular device with a SNES mini. To be honest, while I did grow up with the NES, I enjoy the SNES much more. The Super Nintendo was the very first game system I ever purchased with my own money, money I earned from working two summer jobs. I worked in the corn fields early in the mornings and then I tossed newspapers at people’s door steps in the afternoon. I earned that Super NES, and I loved it.

What makes me very interested in this is not just all of the great games, nor the cool retro form factor, but it also comes with a copy of an unreleased Super NES Prototype of Star Fox 2. For me, just being able to replay Super Mario World on an actual Super NES Controller on an official Nintendo device would be good enough. Sure I have the game on Wii, and Wii U, and Game Boy Advance… wait, why do I want this thing again?

Right, so the truth is, while I do currently own nearly every game being announced, that isn’t going to stop me from wanting to buy this handy little gadget. Although I see it as more of a novelty than anything, I am sure I will still attempt to pre-order one. I never did get an NES Classic, the price just never came down enough to justify a purchase for what it was.

To  be honest, I am not even sure the Star Fox 2 game is what I really want. I have been wanting to get an SNES for a long time. Considering the cost of a used, original, beat up old SNES is the same price as this brand new, in the box, device made directly by Nintendo, I am very tempted to get this just for that reason alone. Sure it won’t be able to play all of the old carts, but honestly I wasn’t looking forward to spending that kind of money anyways so for me this device could be just what I needed to add to my collection.

Hopefully Nintendo can produce enough to meet the demand. Or at least to fill pre-orders which I hope to jump on very soon.