Do you know what today is? It just happens to be the launch date--to the very day--of the Nintendo Entertainment System 25 years ago. That's right. A quarter of a century ago today, one of the most successful video game consoles of all time went on sale and promptly changed the gaming landscape forever, while turning Nintendo into a household name brand nearly overnight. I think there were plenty of parents, mine included, who viewed this thing as the perfect babysitter, because it would keep us occupied and fairly quiet for hours upon hours at a time.
The G4 editorial staff has chimed in with their favorite NES memories below, but we also want to hear from you. What's your favorite experience the NES? Do you remember when you got one? How your brother nearly broke it? What you eventually did with your R.O.B.? We want to know. Sound off in the comments below and help us celebrate 25 years of awesome.
Stephen Johnson, Feedmaster General
My favorite Nintendo memory is playing Blades of Steel with G4’s Michael D’Alonzo and beating him so badly he cried like a little girl. At the intermission, the score was 12 to 1, and I even got to play that little game of Gradius. I was so engrossed in the space-shooter action that I barely noticed the quiet sobbing coming from the other side of the couch. I looked over, and Mike was weeping; he was heaving great wet sobs of despair into his hands. He tried to tell me some cockamamie story about his sister having leukemia, so I laughed at him and punched him in face. What a girl. What a sore loser. I never saw Mike D’Alonzo again after that day. I think he jumped on a broomstick and flew away like a witch. That was the best moment of my entire life.
Mike D'Alonzo, X-Play and Attack of the Show Management Material
Ok, so here’s the real story. Yes, I lived with Steve Johnson in college, and, yes, I owned an NES with Blades of Steel, which we played a lot. Like, a LOT. And, yeah, Steve really liked playing Gradius, but that’s where the fact ends and the fiction begins. Steve doesn’t know anything about hockey. Seriously. Ask him to name a hockey player, and he’ll probably come up with either “Anna Kournikova” or “I’m too old to start learning things that aren’t important to me,” and then he’ll tell a story about Werner Herzog. Be that as it may, I can’t recall Steve ever beating me. It might have happened, but I was probably either sleeping or entombed at the time, because that’s what it would take. Speaking of punched in the face, did I tell you about the time that Steve’s ex-girlfriend punched him in the face in the very same living room where we used to play Blades of Steel? It’s funny because it’s true.
Eric Eckstein, G4 Over-Bot 2250
I remember playing the original Legend of Zelda to death when I was a kid. I loved every minute of it and spent hours upon hours exploring and collecting so I could be a total badass. My younger sister wanted to play too but I monopolized the NES. The one day she finally had a chance to play, she wasn't sure what to do...so she accessed Elimination Mode, thinking it was a way to play the game (at least, I hope so, otherwise, she was one mean kid!). One deleted save later, and everything I had labored over was now lost. She was very sad that she erased my Link from existence, but nothing could be done to retrieve what was long gone. As much of a bummer that was, it didn't stop me at all from jumping back in and restarting my mission. Kudos to the power of quality game design!
Jake Gaskill, Feedblaster Supreme
When I think of the NES, the first thing that comes to mind is a confusing mixture of joy and immense frustration. Memories of spending countless hours being joyously lost in the platforming brilliance of Super Mario 3 or the epic adventuring ofThe Legend of Zelda are inexorably linked with memories of screaming at the television as I watched yet another plane collide with the front of an aircraft carrier in Top Gun or witnessed Leonardo get electrocuted for the 300th time in that evil underway maze in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Like many gamers, this constant oscillation between anger and glee perfectly characterizes the entirety of my NES years. The Nintendo Entertainment System was my first game console (I played my brother’s Atari 2600 a little bit, but it wasn’t mine), and as such, it laid the groundwork for everything I would come to know and learn about the medium of gaming. While I might not talk about Skate or Die!, R.B.I. Baseball, Joust,1942, R.C. Pro Am, Tecmo Bowl, or any of the countless games responsible for making me a lifelong gamer, there’s no denying the influence they had on me. Thanks Nintendo!
Dana Vinson, Review Mistress (With A Whip)
When I was really young — before I had an Nintendo of my own — I was over at my friend’s house playing RBI Baseball. I was not very familiar with videogames at the time, but I loved baseball. So we were playing, and I quickly figured out that I was not very good; however, when I was pitching, I could hit the batter every time and then he would disappear. For some reason, I never calculated that he wasn’t disappearing, he was actually taking a base. Even though I knew that’s what happened when you got hit with a pitch in actual baseball, I didn’t connect the dots while I was playing the game. I think the score ended up being something crazy like 54 to 0 before I figured out what was going on and started to cry.
Kevin Kelly, Feature Creature
One of the standout memories I have about the NES was realizing that I could wedge a chair over the fire button in Metroid at some stage where bad guys kept spawning, and I could leave the room while my score just racked up, and up, and up. Eventually I got bored and quit the game so I could put something else in, but I wonder to this day what my score would have been if I'd let that continue for a few days. Twin Galaxies scoreboard? I would have owned you.
But my favorite NES memory, hands-down, was playing Baseball Simulator 1.000 with my best friend. He was the one who introduced me to the game, which was the cartooniest version of baseball ever played. I'm not sure what part of baseball it was simulating, but the game had things like pitches that turned into leaves, fastballs that left blazing flametrails, and missile line drives that would knock fielders back into the fence. Completely awesome stuff. Nintendo, why don't you remake this game? It's perfect for the Wii, or the 3DS. Just food for thought. I'd buy ten copies of it.
Chris Monfette, Previewlator Maximus
If my incredible obsession with RPGs is attributable to anything, it’s probably my boyhood NES, the great, grey box through which Final Fantasy II opened up a doorway to a universe of airships and potions. Mario aside, and notwithstanding my love of Castlevania or Metroid, the Final Fantasy series really paved the way for my love of massive worlds, filled with characters and side-quests and sprawling, epic storylines. The idea that games can tell novel-length tales of incredible emotional depth and complexity is best exemplified by the RPG genre, even if the storytelling wasn’t quite there back in the days of the original NES.
Ernie Moreno, Graphic Art Guru, Nintendo Lover
The Nintendo Entertainment System was my very first console. I got my NES on my seventh birthday, which was in August 1990 (damn I'm old). My sisters had gotten an Atari for their birthdays, and I was super jealous, but now I finally had a system of my very own. I remember it was my one big gift and I was unbelievably excited to play. I was so happy in fact I forgot about the other gift I received, which was a super sweet ninja turtle board game. My sisters and I opened the NES, and immediately started playing Duck Hunt. As most of us did when we first played Duck Hunt, I started cheating and proceeded to press the gun up to the screen to shoot the ducks, to which my sister screamed "What a cheater!" I was a cheater but whatever ... it was my birthday.
Needless to say, we played that NES all day. My sisters got tired of playing and eventually left to do girly things, but I kept right on playing. Getting the NES in 1990 was really sweet, because the Super Nintendo had just come out. That meant people were getting rid of their old NESes and getting the new SNES. After I devoured Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt and Track and Field (yes, I got the system pack that came with the Power Pad), it was great to go to the local Santa Fe Swap Meet and find NES games for about five to 10 bucks. I didn't care that some cartridges had faded labels or that others had people's names on them. I was just happy to play a new NES game. NES became my life, and to this day I still have and play my original NES. That birthday changed my life forever. Not only did it inspire me to go to college, it gave me a life goal: to work in the games industry. Some people may think that’s a really ridiculous thing to say, but I don't care. We all have that moment in our life where we figure out what we wanted to be, and I have Nintendo to thank for mine.
Sadly, my favorite Nintendo moment occurred very late in life. I was sixteen when I finally beat the original Super Mario Bros.. Before you start judging me, remember that the game got very difficult in the later levels and didn't have any save points, unlike the games of today (the ones you can actually finish). Plus, the internet hadn't been created yet. How the hell was I supposed to know there were warp zones?
I still remember going over to the rich kid in town’s house and seeing Super Mario Bros. for the first time. I had grown up with an Atari 2600 and seen the Sega Masters System at the same rich kid’s house, but the appeal of the NES was immediately obvious. After spending what seemed like hours trying to get to World 4 (before we knew about the warp zones), I was hooked. Once my parents picked me up it was a non-stop series of begging, whining, pleading, and bargaining for what seemed like months before they finally broke down and bought me the Nintendo Entertainment System. This was the first version of the system that came with Gyromite and the full R.O.B. the Robot set.
One NES memory that comes to my mind was being able, for the first time, to create a custom made Nintendo Entertainment System. However, since I was a wee lad at that time my only ability was to buy a bunch of Super Mario Bros. stickers and stick on the system creating this awesome and unique look for my NES system. I know it's not too impressive, but I really felt creative. You can even say because of the NES it sparked my passion for creativity and imagination for media art. Thanks NES! I owe you one.