Posts Tagged ‘NES’

My Paperboy Achievement Quest

For those of you unfamiliar with the arcade classic Paperboy, it was originally released by Atari in 1984. The game allowed you to assume the role of a boy who dished out newspapers along a suburban street on his bicycle. With a unique control scheme and layout, Paperboy was successful in convincing kids to shell out quarters with the hopes of making it through an entire week without getting fired for crashing too frequently into the many obstacles along your route.

Like many popular arcade games, Paperboy was eventually ported to various computer systems and video game consoles in the ensuing years. Though I have virtually no memory of ever playing the original stand-up version of the game, I actually bought and played the Commodore 64 version 20+ years ago. The cool Dennis the Menace-style artwork on the cover was intriguing, spurring me to bring home the 5 1/4 floppy and pop it into my noisy 1980s disk drive. As fun as the game was, I found it to be overly challenging. Though I would play it from time to time, I recognized that I would never actually complete the week on Easy Street (the main objective for a standard game). A year or two later, my friend Jimmy (who is coincidentally getting married this weekend) got the game for the original NES. He was better than I was, but, as far as I know, he never actually completed the week on Easy Street.

Nearly two decades later, having not thought about the game since the early 90s, I found out that it was to be released on the Xbox 360 for just $5 via their download service (Xbox Live Arcade). So a couple years ago, I gladly purchased Paperboy once again. This time, it was a direct port of the arcade game, meaning it was even more difficult than the already seemingly impossible versions I had been accustomed to. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the nostalgia, played it a few times and basically just let it sit on my hard drive.

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I felt like giving the game a try again. This time I noticed that there was an Xbox Live achievement for actually completing a week on Easy Street — the impossible dream. I thought that with a little practice, I might actually be able to beat it. The thing is, I would typically just play the game for about 15 minutes or so, and that would be it. It would be different now because I’d actually dedicate a significant chunk of time to getting good.

At any rate, after a few attempts, I was still resigned to the fact that it was probably just never going to happen. However, I had friends over last weekend, one of which was Ham City Kev. He saw that I had been playing Paperboy, and he told me of a time in college that he managed to complete the week on Easy Street. Sure, he struggled mightily with this arcade version, failing to complete a single day, but I recognized he was rusty and that it really didn’t matter because he already did what I had forever failed to do. Naturally, being the mental patient that I am, I was jealous and now more motivated than ever to find a way to do it myself. In fact, this time I’d have a tangible record of it, thanks to the Xbox achievement system which would put on record the date I officially slayed the dragon that is Paperboy.

So it was my goal this past week to “beat” Paperboy. As one might imagine, I found myself getting progressively better as I played between one and two hours a day. Within the game, you start out on Monday and have to successfully complete seven straight days of deliveries. Though I was improving, I was still consistently dying on Saturday or Sunday, raising my video game frustration level to obscene heights which included minor temper tantrums of pounding my fist against the couch and the occasional curse word. It was driving me nuts because I’d be playing flawlessly and then make a stupid mistake to blow the game. Finally, after about 10 hours of game time during the week, in a game where I wasn’t even happy with my performance, I reached Sunday with NO LIVES left — so there was no margin for error. Miraculously, I pulled it off, and I felt a ridiculous amount of accomplishment when the completion achievement showed up on the screen. The monkey was off my back. It was probably the most satisfying video game victory of my entire life… whatever that means. Sure, it’s worthless in real life, but damn was that a rewarding moment!

Now I never want to play that fucking game ever again.

Gord Tep’s Top 10 All-Time Christmas Presents

With Christmas right around the corner, I felt compelled to put together a list of my top 10 greatest Christmas gifts from childhood. Feel free to post some of your own favorites from over the years.

Honorable Mentions: G.I. Joe Video Game for Commodore 64 (1986), Superman & Batman/Orko (1984), Jabba’s Palace/Ewok Village (1983)

YamahaPSS380#10 – Synthesizer – 1991
Circa October 1991, I was wandering around Child World looking at the different keyboards. This was one of those gifts that I never asked for and totally didn’t anticipate. I saw the prices and didn’t want to request one because I had decided a hundred bucks or so was too much for one gift. Seeing this in the early morning on December 25 was a super surprise. I even taught myself how to read and play music for a little while, but I got tired of it after a couple months. That was the end of my musical career.

terrordrome#9 – Cobra Terrordrome – 1986
This was enormous. I have no idea what the price was, but it had to be a lot. There were so many awesome secret compartments in this sucker, even a jail for the captured Joes. It came with a ship too. I remember it launched out of the top. Look this thing up on-line somewhere to see pictures, it’s awesome. Big bases / playsets were a rarity– but one out of like 10 friends would have one, and I’d always be in awe.

WWF_Wrestlemania_Challenge_NES_ScreenShot1#8 – WrestleMania Challenge – 1990
There are two presents that stick out in my mind from that year. One was “The Simpsons Sing the Blues,” which virtually every Simpsons fan got at the time. It was pretty crappy. WrestleMania Challenge, however, was the brand new game for Nintendo. I don’t know how my brother got a hold of this one though because KB & TRU were both sold out when I went looking for them. This was also the first time I was introduced to the multiple box, multiple wrapping paper gag. The game was small, but it was inside several boxes and wrappings so that it was impossible to predict what it would be by looking at it. For 1990, this state-of-the-art game had awesome graphics. Just check out that opening screen of The Ultimate Warrior.

3E6j#7 – VCR – 1992
Up until this point, we had one VCR. That VCR resided in the living room. The only problem was that I had a gazillion video tapes and always wished I could watch them whenever I wanted. My desire to go to sleep at night with a movie of my choice playing on the tv was finally realized– and it’s something I often still do (only now it’s with DVDs). Being able to play and record from my bedroom was a huge deal.

snake mountain#6 – Snake Mountain – 1985
In the same vein as the Cobra playset, this was Skeletor’s headquarters. This precedes the Terrordome by a couple years, and it’s thus more memorable. The most significant aspect of Snake Mountain was that it had a microphone and voice changer. You would speak into it, and it came out of the speaker sounding far more evil that you actually spoke it.

Picture 321#5 – Hart Foundation – 1987
LJN Wrestling Figures were the absolute greatest toys out there. My collection of everybody from Hulk Hogan to Ted Arcidi was my most prized possession (much like my toys still are today). However, the newly released Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart were impossible to find at Toys R Us or Kay-Bee. The only place that I ever saw them was in a little local shop called “Colony.” Naturally, Colony had them priced at double what TRU sold LJNs for. My parents refused to buy these extra expensive superstars, and I accepted that they would never be part of my league. Miraculously, my brother snatched them up in spite of the price. I was shocked when I pulled back the wrapping paper to see these guys on Christmas morning.

1990_topps_box-183x300#4 – Topps Baseball Wax Box – 1989
The 1990 baseball season was several months away, but Topps was already producing cards for the upcoming year. I was blown away with a FULL box of packs to open on Christmas morning to get me started on building my own hand-made set.

zartan1#3 – Zartan – 1984
My all-time favorite G.I. Joe character. Known as the master of disguise, Zartan came with a mask, and his body changed colors (he became blue) when exposed to sunlight. “Santa Claus” gave me this one at the Long Beach Rec Center during a Christmas party. I was fascinated how he knew my name, and knew that I wanted Zartan.

StartingLineup#2 – Starting Lineup Talking Baseball – 1988
SLTB was incredibly close to being number one on my list, but when you get to number one you’ll see why it couldn’t be anything else. At this point, I was a rabid Met fan. Baseball had conquered He-Man, G.I. Joe, and even Wrestling. At 8, I knew virtually every player in the major leagues, their team, position, and at least a little about them. I studied the 792 Topps cards, and played against neighbors and friends in Rotisserie Baseball leagues. During a Thanksgiving trip to Ohio (visiting family), I discovered this game in a store. You could call it love at first sight. A computerized, strategy-based baseball game that came with all-star & hall of fame teams, yet was compatible with add-ons of every major league team.

camcorder#1 – Video Camera – 1993
This was several years in the making. From the time I was about 7 or 8, I desperately wanted a camera so I could make my own movies. Getting that camera was so important that I began saving for it. I would put money aside from my allowance or miscellaneous jobs. In 6th and 7th grade, I started selling baseball cards and card holders that I was buying at card shows for a nice profit. All the money that came in went into my camera fund. Finally, when I was older (13 at this point), I was able to get one. I paid for about half of the camera, I think the total was around $600. The excitement this thing brought me was unrivaled by any gift ever.

300 Bucks Damage – Episode 1 – Video Games of the 1980s

300 Bucks Damage Episode 1

NES

Gord and Kev reminisce about some of their favorite classic arcade and console video games from the 1980s.

After listening to the show, check out our Episode 1 video playlist on YouTube!

Ham City Kev’s Top 10 All-Time Video Games

Let me start off by saying: I’m not a serious gamer. You will probably be looking for games on this list that you simply wont find. It could be for the reasons you expect (i.e.: I’m a douchebag who’s not too crazy about Mario 3), but it’s way more likely that the game you’re hoping to read about is missing because I haven’t played it. I’ve never played a PS3. I’ve barely touched the 360. I’ve only played 2 Zeldas, 1 Final Fantasy, and only the original Metroid after the Justin Bailey code. This is by no means a list to be taken seriously–but, you may just see a game on here that you love, and you’ll be glad it’s getting some due respect. Sit back and enjoy. Or not.

Honorable Mentions: Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64), Contra (NES), James Bond: Agent Under Fire (PS2), Smackdown vs Raw (PS2), Sonic 1 (Genesis), Skitchin’ (Genesis), Sports Talk Baseball (Genesis), TMNT 4 (SNES), Virtual On (Arcade)

robocop-20090102045840181_640w

10. Robocop (Arcade, 1988)
It’s the game that got me hooked on going to arcades. As a young kid who loved everything Robocop, this game was the world to me. Authentic music and sound effects from the movie made this such a fun little side-scrolling shooter, and its place on my top-ten list was cemented after a nostalgic trip to my old arcade about a year ago. I found in my old stomping grounds the Gamechoice 2K, a machine that can load up just about every classic arcade game in history. With literally thousands of titles to choose from, I did not hesitate for one moment in deciding what to play first: Robocop.

9. Super Mario Bros (NES, 1986)
Do I need to explain? Fine, I’ll explain with an embarassing admission (one that I know I’m not alone on): I first played this game when I was 4. I first beat this game when I was 20. It never stopped being fun in between. That is a great fucking game–and IMHO, better than Mario 3.

8. Street Fighter series (multi-platform, 1987-present)
Pretty much the sole reason I picked up Capcom Classics Vol 2 for PS2 was because it included Street Fighter 1, a game that I loved even before its HOF sequel sparked the second great age in arcade gaming (a designation I just made up, please don’t take it literally or seriously). I can’t even imagine the amount of time I spent playing/watching SF2 in the arcades or at home on the SNES. I smile thinking back to the shock and awe I had the first time I laid eyes on SF2 Champion Edition. I’m still proud of the fact that I was able to routinely beat Marvel vs Capcom on one quarter in college. The Street Fighter series is simply the gold standard, and WAY better than Mortal Kombat in my book. If only I could figure out the Guile Gun Trick…

7. Grand Theft Auto III (PS2, 2001)
Like GordTep, I would cut class in college simply to play GTA1. It was easily one of the most mind blowing games in history. Now? The game is simply unplayable. Why? Because nobody in their right mind can stand GTA1 after they’ve played GTA3. Pretty much the sole reason I have a PS2 is because of this game. I don’t know which is more fun: playing the actual game, or aquiring 6 stars and then attempting to drive crosstown to the pay-n-spray.

n64-goldeneye6. Goldeneye (N64, 1997)
There was a month during my Freshman Year of college where this game was being played in every other male dorm room. That sounds a little embellished, but I’m honestly not sure if it is. Everyone played that game repeatedly because there was so damn much to do: Multiplayer with Pistols. Multiplayer with Automatics. Multiplayer with, by god, Proximity Mines in the Caverns stage (the holiest of the holy). And let’s not forget how fucking awesome the single-player missions were, even before you get caught up trying to score record times in each mission to unlock cheats! This game is a fucking legend.

5. Super Mario World (SNES, 1991)
Best. Mario. Sidescroller. Ever. Period. Even Yoshi’s annoying pansy ass can’t hold this icon down.

4. Super Mario Kart (SNES, 1992)
The original. Nothing beats it (though the Wii version comes close). Honestly, Nintendo could have released the racing mode and the battle mode as 2 seperate games and nobody would have flinched at buying both. SUCH an awesome game. And really, is there a better feeling than drilling someone with a green shell from 200 yards out?
Hey Nintendo! Release this on Virtual Console already!!! (Pilotwings too, while you’re at it)

3. WWF No Mercy (N64, 2000)
I know that Fire Pro has its followers, and the SD vs Raw series really took it to the next level, but No Mercy is the Grandaddy of all wrestling games. It’s just not debatable. What made it so great? Absolute perfect control and nearly unlimited freedom to make any character, do any move, have any match. Try and find someone who played this game in its time and didn’t like it. You can’t.

2. RBI Baseball (NES, 1988)
There are still RBI Championship Tournaments played these days. Are there Baseball Stars Tournaments? Sorry Gordo. Baseball Stars was highly innovative, but RBI was simply WAYYYYYYY more fun. I wish all modern baseball games had the option to go back to those classic controls.

1. Final Fantasy IV (as “Final Fantasy II” on SNES, 1991)
What can I say? You already get it if you’re a FF person. If you’re not, well… I feel sorry for you. You don’t know what you’re missing. Consider this: in June of 1996 I needed a 92 on my Biology final to avoid summer school, and instead of studying I played this game. That’s how addictive and amazing this game was! The horrifying threat of summer school wasn’t enough to stop it! (got an 82 on that final, btw, and my teacher passed me for the year anyway). I still feel guilty that I haven’t played another Final Fantasy game, before or since, considering how much I love this game.

Gord Tep’s Top 10 All-Time Video Games

This is by no means a definitive list of the greatest games in the history of the universe. It’s just a list of my favorites.

Honorable Mentions: NHL Open Ice (Arcade), Gears of War 2 (XBox 360), River City Ransom (NES), Sonic 1 (Genesis), USA Basketball (Genesis), Smackdown vs. Raw (PS2), Fight Night Round 3 (XBox 360), Legend of Zelda (NES), Superman (Atari), UFC Undisputed 2009 (XBox 360)

tecmobowl10. Tecmo Super Bowl (NES, 1991)
Before EA and Madden monopolized the NFL genre, there was Tecmo. It had the real teams, the real players, and the ability to play a full season with stats. I’ve never even been a big football guy, but I still loved this game.

gi-joe_-_joe_command9. G.I. Joe (Commodore 64, 1985)
Most have never even heard of this game, but I have very fond memories of this one. A two-sided disk was required to hold this graphical monster. For some reason I recall the character selection screens featuring top names form both G.I. Joe and Cobra, including Zartan and Destro, among others.

7thguest8. 7th Guest (PC, 1993)
What an awesome game! In the early Pentium and CD-Rom days, this game was king. There were countless unique, hard-to-solve puzzles and a pretty cool story. It was sort of like Clue in a haunted house, with a whole slew of brain games.

nhl_'957. NHL ’95 (Genesis, 1994)
An NHL game was bound to make this list. I chose ’95 because it was revolutionary in that it was the first to track statistics, hand out year-end-awards, etc. It took the greatness that everybody remembers of ’94 and upped it several notches.

punchout16. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (NES, 1987)
From Glass Joe all the way to Kid Dynamite, this game was pure fun. Everybody who ever owned a Nintendo had to love this game. I can still remember the excitement I felt the first time I knocked out Iron Mike. Give him a call at 007-373-5963.

claudia_400_2905. WWF No Mercy (N64, 2000)
WrestleMania 2000 was great, No Mercy was better. The best gameplay in any wrestling game, bar none, with a phenomenal create-a-wrestler engine. Kev and I spent countless hours playing this one in college. His Bob Backlund creation is legendary.

cyoh4. Baseball Stars (NES, 1989)
This is what a baseball game is supposed to be. Creating players and powering up their stats to reflect real-life counterparts was a blast. My brother and I played season after season in this game, and it never got old– excellent controls and graphics. Amazingly, this game still holds up pretty well 20 years later.

shot113. Star Wars (Arcade, 1983)
I can remember playing this one in the arcades and feeling as if I was actually flying an X-Wing through the death star trench. The cockpit style machine matched with the vector graphics made this one of the coolest video game experiences ever.

Tenta-in-Wrestlefest2. WrestleFest (Arcade, 1991)
Whether you’re playing the Royal Rumble or Saturday Night’s Main Event tag team matches, WrestleFest delivered in every way imaginable. My favorite characters in this game were Mr. Perfect and The Earthquake, but all of them were cool. I got so good that I could beat it on a single quarter– approximately 15 minutes of playtime. It seems like just yesterday I was playing this at the Caribbean Beach resort in between trips to Epcot and MGM Studios.

gta-iv11. GTA IV (XBox 360, 2008)
Simply put, this game is a masterpiece. It’s the most entertaining and complete experience of any video game ever made. Liberty City feels so incredibly real. Driving around, not even worrying about advancing the story or playing the side missions, is remarkable. Throw in tremendous characters, storylines, dialogue, etc. I am not one for long games, nor am I usually willing to put the necessary time in required to beat a game. However, with GTA, every hour was enjoyable. Even after beating the game, I went on to finish the Lost and Damned add-on which was a great game in and of itself. If you haven’t played Grand Theft Auto IV, you must.

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