Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!



2018 Year In Review

I have a confession to make. I nearly forgot about writing this Year In Review. I had a problem for awhile where I would be too many games ahead of my writing and struggled to catch up. I have become much better at this, which in turn means the Year In Review should appear much earlier. My last 2018 review went up at the end of February, but it was only a couple of weeks ago that I realized I was overdue for the review. To make up for my mistake, I’m trying to make this the best Year In Review yet!

I’d say 2018 was my best project year so far. This year was all about agility and trying to clear games more often, and I was able to meet that goal. I finished 42 games in 2018, starting with Desert Commander at #69 and finishing with Pipe Dream at #110, all with written reviews and completions recorded on video. I had hoped I would be able to clear 50 games a year when I first started this project, and now I think I’ll be fortunate if I have a single year when I reach 50 completions. As always, I have many things competing for my time. I work a full time job, and when I’m not working, my wife and daughter keep me plenty busy. I’d say I’m probably smack in the middle of the busiest period of work of my whole career. I’ve done a lot of Switch gaming. I finished up my 275+ hour playthrough of Breath of the Wild, as well as completed both Hollow Knight and Undertale for the first time. I highly anticipated the release of La-Mulana 2 on PC and played through the whole game twice, and I also completed Iconoclasts which was another long-awaited game. I’m also a big fan of game randomizers and I’ve carved out time to play a few Dragon Warrior and Super Metroid randomizer runs among others. On top of all that, I competed once again in the Nintendo Age weekly contest and tournament where I placed third. It’s a miracle I had time for any of this at all, and there’s no way I can keep this up. I have already given up the Nintendo Age contest, and I don’t see any PC games coming up that require immediate attention. I’m at a good pace so far in 2019, but I also know things can change on a dime and there are plenty of highly difficult games and long games still to come.

This year’s installment will cover 42 NES games as mentioned above. I pick two, sometimes three games in each of several categories along with a brief write up of why I chose the game for the category. I added a few new categories as well that seemed fitting: Best/Worst Controls and Best/Worst Playthrough. There’s a mix of good and bad here and all are worth reflecting on. Any game not mentioned against a category will have a final word at the very end. There’s a ton of ground to cover so let’s not waste any more time!

The 2018 Take On The NES Library Year In Review

Hardest Game


As the only 10/10 game in difficulty on this list, it was a no brainer as the hardest game. The really hard games always come along with at least some sense of dread. I had a bit of a leg up on this game since I was familiar enough to get a good start on progress. That’s when the difficulty spiked even further and the dread really set in. I was fortunate enough to keep chipping away and get a solid completion.

This game is ridiculous to beat.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:

With only one possible exception in mind, this is about as hard as an NES game gets while having unlimited continues. I still can’t get over how much they ask of you in the endgame with crossing the fire lake, navigating the giant maze with only a partial map, almost requiring an optional, hidden item to clear a stage, and all that good stuff. The core gameplay is also quite difficult with so many ways to die. I’m happy this game is done and over with.

Sky Kid:

I have to include this game just for how it blindsided me with its difficulty. 26 levels with only a few lives and no continues is quite a hardy challenge, not to mention some of the obstacles you have to deal with are downright brutal. It’s such a cutesy game too and I never knew it had such a painful difficulty hidden underneath the facade.

Easiest Game

Danny Sullivan’s Indy Heat:

This type of game would normally come with a little more challenge, but I found out that you have enough lives and continues to see all the levels without even trying. There’s no real ending and no incentive to winning unless you like high score chasing. I can’t imagine there are too many games that just hand you a completion for free.

Baseball Simulator 1.000:

Then Baseball Simulator 1.000 comes along, which is another game that you can beat without playing! Simply set up a league with all computer opponents and simulate all the games. This one takes more of a time commitment. The ending you get is the same as if you played and beat it yourself. I bet you see the same ending even if you play and lose the season to another team. No one really has to know what exactly you accomplished! Of course, I did beat the game fair and square. Even though Danny Sullivan becomes a dirty cheater later on, winning a season of this was harder than winning a loop of Indy Heat.

Shortest Game

Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure:

Before playing this game, I knew that it was a short and easy experience. I booted it up for the first time with my recording stuff set up, and then promptly reached the ending in just over 20 minutes. The only thing difficult or lengthy about the game is the final boss encounter. It was a tough fight that sucked up a decent amount of time in an otherwise short run.

It’s easy because there isn’t that much to do usually.

Defender of the Crown:

My run of the game took about 25 minutes, which for this game seems to be a fairly long time. I also had numerous resets and attempts in which to figure it all out. Not exactly Shortest Game material. The reason for inclusion is that someone has figured out and publicized a method call the Centerboard Strategy to quickly beat the game. The world record speedrun takes a little over two minutes. That’s pretty darn short.

Longest Game

Dragon Warrior II:

Leave it to an RPG to be the longest game of the year. I estimated this as a 30-40 hour completion, with much of it spent in late game level grinding so that I could tackle the final boss and barely squeak by with a victory. It’s still a fun game that I like a lot, although some of that can be chalked up to nostalgia.


The hardest game and longest game categories will usually have some overlap. I counted 67 attempts at Q*bert over a span of 18 days, with an estimate of 30 hours played total. That’s close to Dragon Warrior II, but the grind of RPG battles certainly feels longer than quick puzzle-action stages.

Oldest Game

Chubby Cherub:

I was a little surprised to find out that Chubby Cherub was the earliest NES release. I also believe it was the earliest Japanese release of the year. Chubby Cherub first released on Famicom in December 1985, and the NES game appeared in October 1986. It was the only 1986 release I played in 2018.

I get the name cause there’s so much to eat everywhere.


This was a close call here for second place. Sqoon just barely edged out Volleyball by release date in Japan, in part because Volleyball was an early Famicom Disk System title. On the NES, Volleyball is the clear winner, debuting in March 1987.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure:

Here’s a special shoutout to Bill & Ted. This was a 1991 NES release, but you do play portions of the game in ancient times which clearly predates any video game technologies of any kind.

Newest Game

Bonk’s Adventure:

It took until Game #90 before I finally got to play an NES release from 1994. There were only 12 licensed NES games released in North America in 1994 so I could have had to wait a lot longer than this. Bonk’s Adventure was released in January 1994, so even among 1994 releases it is an early one. It’s a very expensive game due to the release date, but it is a good one.

Duck Tales 2:

The year 1993 wasn’t exactly overflowing with NES releases either, although there were quite a few considering the SNES was in full swing by then. Duck Tales 2, released in June 1993, was the only 1993 released NES game I played last year. Another expensive title that was a lot of fun to play.

Best Character

A Boy and His Blob:

The friendly alien Blobert was clearly the best character of the games I played last year and may well be one of the best characters on the console. As the boy, you are trailed by the usually jovial blob, who for the price of one jellybean, can transform into one of several tools used to explore the caverns below the city. The game itself is interesting and good, but Blobert steals the show every time.

He’s so happy to help!

Felix the Cat:

The classic cartoon character feels right at home on the NES. Transforming characters must always hold a special place in my heart, I suppose. Felix uses his Magic Bag to produce all sorts of vehicles and attacks that are useful over the numerous stages in the game. While many of the abilities feel about the game, the animations are good and it allowed the game to have fun flying and swimming levels.

Worst Character

Whomp ‘Em:

The game itself is fun, but the racist characterizations are just awful. The name of the game is a terrible pun. The story, if you can call it a story, only concerns the hero Soaring Eagle looking for trinkets to add to his pouch. I get that this was a tough game to try and localize from the Japanese version, but centering it around Native American stereotypes was a poor decision in hindsight. We as a society are a lot more sensitive and less tolerant to these kinds of caricatures now, and for good reason. Native Americans deserve better than being portrayed this way.

Bill Elliott’s NASCAR Challenge:

Now I can get to some more carefree criticism of video game characters. I’m sure the real Bill Elliott is a nice man, but I hate him on the NES. He is always in the lead, always a little bit faster, always a little bit ahead of you. When he wins, you have to see his smug face accepting the trophy with an attitude of “well of course I was going to win this race, I’m Bill Elliott!” For as unfair as Danny Sullivan can be, I had a much harder time beating Bill Elliott as his own game.

Best Ending


NES endings, by and large, are sparse in content and length. Gemfire has one of the more impressive endings I’ve seen. I really like how they made the gems animate and fly around during a few different sections of the ending. There’s a nice scene of the hero riding on horseback with some parallax scrolling, some ending dialogue, and some good music to go along with it. It’s very impressive overall.

They used a lot of colors during this ending

Isolated Warrior:

The next best thing to a well thought out ending is having multiple endings. Isolated Warrior features a simple ending with a teaser of getting a different final stage if you can get that far without using a continue. The better ending features a longer prologue culminating in a single screen of a book titled Isolated Warrior, the idea being someone wrote an entire book of his journey. Great music too.

Duck Tales 2:

The Duck Tales 2 ending is right up there with some of the other great NES endings. There are several screens of images and text that tell the end of the story. The separator here is that there are three different endings depending on how much money you have earned by the end of the adventure, just like in the first Duck Tales. The differences are only in a single screen but it was worth it for me to seek them out. The bad ending where you have no money is not as difficult to get here than in the first game.

Worst Ending

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure:

This might not be an entirely awful ending, but it did not sit right with me at all. Upon completing each level, you are given a Wyld Stallyns concert that gets progressively longer and with more complete music each time. By completing the final stage, however, the music is just obnoxious, grating guitar solos with no melody anymore. After that train wreck, you get a single Game Over screen with Congratulations from Rocket Science written on top. Bleh.

It looks okay, but it’s a bad ending

Bonk’s Adventure:

The ending itself is pretty good, completing the story well and including a full credits roll that fades in and out. The worst part for me though is the creepy ending music. I just can’t stand it. It brought me back to my childhood, playing video games by myself late and night mostly in the dark and getting creeped out by different things. That kind of music would have given me nightmares for sure. Also, one of the Graphics credits is “???”, like they don’t know who made the graphics?

Chubby Cherub, Danny Sullivan’s Indy Heat, Pipe Dream:

The final bad ending shoutouts are the ones that don’t have an ending at all. These games all keep looping when you finish the last level. At least they provide you with an opportunity to snap a photo demonstrating that you completed the last level. I’ll accept that at the very least.

Best Box Art

Laser Invasion:

I had a tough time deciding on the Box Art awards this year, but this cover stood out as a clear winner to me. The worst part of it is the Laserscope offer that covers a good chunk of the box. Everything else on the cover is after you, and I think that’s awesome. Staring down the barrel of the cannon on the tank is my favorite. It’s a great cover.

A Boy and His Blob:

I really like this cover because it is a nicely drawn comic, but it goes a step further and pretty much explains exactly what you will be doing in the game. This had to have been helpful when you would buy this game retail with only the box art as your guide for what game to buy. Not many games do this and I dig the approach.

Worst Box Art

Roundball: 2-on-2 Challenge:

I don’t think any of the boxes are inherently bad or misleading. But I had to pick one, so I went with Roundball, and here’s why. The offensive player is set up for a big dunk, but only because the two defenders on either side are basically useless. The left defender at least tried to stop the drive, but he’s in an awkward position and facing the wrong way. I have no idea if the right player even knows how to play basketball.

Chubby Cherub:

Again, this one is not a bad box either. It is an extremely basic cover, but this was an early NES game and one of the first third-party titles. Companies were just getting their feet wet at this stage. I chose this box cover as one of the worst solely because of the angel on the front. The drawing is kind of goofy looking and there’s nothing chubby about the character at all. If you are going to name a game Chubby Cherub, at least look the part.

Best Graphics

Super C:

This is a beautiful looking game right out of the gate. Everything is drawn well and highly detailed, from the initial helicopter to the final boss encounter. There’s a lot of variety in styles and colors too. I am not much of a graphics snob, but this game made me take notice right away.

The Rocketeer:

This game took me by surprise in the graphics department. In-game, it’s okay, but nothing to sneeze at. Bandai really did an excellent job detailing the cutscenes that play between levels. There are great uses of colors and effects, and the characters are highly detailed and look great. It’s tough to tell that this is an NES game at times, which is a hallmark of good graphics.

Prince of Persia:

The graphics in Prince of Persia are not that outstanding, with only a few graphic backdrops that don’t contain much detail. Of course, I am featuring Prince of Persia due to its rotoscoped animations which look awesome even today. This is still some of the best animation on the NES.

Worst Graphics

The Terminator:

Poor graphics don’t necessarily make or break a game for me. The Terminator was a decent game to play, but I can’t deny the graphics are pretty bad. The graphics somewhat obscure the action and are either too sparse or too cluttered and ugly. The driving portions are particularly bad. I think they tried to hide it a bit with getting you to move so fast.

What’s in the water exactly?


It’s not so much that the graphics are bad, but there’s just not that much to look at here. The stages all contain the same plain green background, with the same style of bricks and solid columns over all 50 levels. It’s just boring. Sure, the explosions aren’t too bad, but if that’s all you have to go on, that’s not saying much.

Best Soundtrack

Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers:

I love a good upbeat soundtrack, and for my money there’s a lot of good tunes here that keep me energized and going. I don’t think there’s a bad song in the whole bunch, even the gloomy tunes of the later levels are still catchy. Any one of these songs can get stuck in my head pretty quickly, so this is an easy choice for best soundtrack.

Dragon Warrior II:

It’s a testament to the music here that it doesn’t get old even though you have to play this game for dozens of hours and hear the music on repeat. This is also a personal pick for me. Something about this game and the music puts me right back into my childhood and sitting for hours playing these games. I know it sounds lonely, but these are good memories and I’m thankful to relive them just a little bit.

Worst Soundtrack

F-117A Stealth Fighter:

To be fair, this game does get a bit of a pass here, even though I don’t like the music much. This is a complicated game with its open structure and all the flight angles that have to be calculated. It might be a bit much for the NES to handle, but it did. The tradeoff is that the framerate takes a hit and the music has to be simplistic to free up valuable processing time. That might be okay if the sound was good, but that’s not the case here. There’s a lot of low, quiet notes for when there is music, and just sound effects for most of the action.

There’s a lot for this game to handle.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:

This is kind of a weird choice for worst soundtrack. The game features the iconic Indiana Jones theme and it is pretty good! The ranking here is twofold. First of all, most of the music in this game is a low, quiet soundtrack that I didn’t much care for and doesn’t add much to the game. The other reason has to do with that iconic theme. When I uploaded my longplay of this game to YouTube, it got flagged for using the Indiana Jones theme. The easiest way to fix it was to upload the video with no sound. Boo!

Best Gameplay

Whomp ‘Em:

I know I already said my piece about the localization of this game, but if I’m being honest, I think the gameplay is really good. Your character jumps and controls well. You have a high and low attack with your staff, not to mention both an upstab and downstab at your convenience. You also get new weapons from defeating bosses a la Mega Man, and the levels move in different directions to utilize all of your abilities.

Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers:

This is another game with excellent gameplay. The main mechanic of lifting and throwing boxes is fun and used to great effect often in the game. Boxes can be one-hit shields or can be thrown high, low, or straight up. The levels wind around in multiple directions, and there are some interesting gimmicks like shutting off switches and turning faucets. It’s fast paced too but never too difficult until perhaps right at the end.

Worst Gameplay

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure:

The core gameplay here is something that turns off a lot of people. You have to explore these expansive levels that take several minutes to cross. The goal is to find random items and match them up to a person at a random location on the map. Searching for the items and clues is slow and plodding, and straying off path means you usually get slowed down much more. Get caught by an angry local, and you get thrown in jail, setting you back in terms of distance across the map. Then you have to sit through six progressively longer stages of the same stuff.


I will give Nintendo credit here for trying to make a competent, early volleyball game. There’s some nuance to controlling all the team members at once, which sometimes made sense and sometimes was frustrating when I controlled the wrong character. I don’t know if it’s random, but it seems that spiking or defending a spike launches the ball in a random direction that usually goes against me. I never could get the hang of it and didn’t fare all that well even against the easiest team.

Oh no, the ball hit off my head so it’s gone.

Best Controls

Super C:

This game offers controls that are both responsive and comprehensive. You have perfect control of your character, even after committing to a jump. You can also fire in all eight directions and can do so with ease and grace. I like that your firepower aligns to a slope you are standing on one. This is one of those games where when you die, it’s your own fault. That is often the hallmark of good controls.


Bear with me on this one. I know I already ripped the game a bit on graphics and repetitiveness. For a simple enough game like this, the controls are exactly right. Bombs are easy to place, locking to the nearest square on the board, and they are equally easy to detonate on demand with the right powerup. I appreciate that Bomberman sort of auto slides into a row when you change direction perpendicularly but aren’t quite lined up properly so that you don’t get stuck. It’s a minor touch that you may not notice, but that’s because it works seamlessly.

Worst Controls

Defender of the Crown:

This is a game with a lot of modes with mostly poor feel and controls around them. There’s a sluggishness the creeps over the whole game. Swordfighting is slow and jousting is equally frustrating. Even the menu during combat doesn’t respond to commands right away. The crossbow defense is a little better but not great. Menuing and cursor movements are just about perfect, but those are not reaction based at all and don’t help much for some of the trickier actions.

Lining this up is maddening.

Kung-Fu Heroes:

The controls here are mostly good. Punching, kicking, and moving around are responsive and easy to pull off. Good luck though trying an action that requires pressing A and B together. Some other games provide a little bit of a buffer for simultaneous presses so they are easier to execute, but not Kung-Fu Heroes. I don’t know if you have to press A and B on the same frame but it feels like it. When you need the bomb or the sword, it often takes several tries to get what you need.

Isolated Warrior:

I’m highlighting this game for one bad control choice. The motorcycle in Stage 4 has a feature where you do a wheelie by pressing Down and A. This makes you invulnerable to bullets briefly because you drive over them apparently. This becomes a problem when the road has holes in it and your instinct is to move down before jumping to give you more time. Then you do a wheelie and can’t jump so you fall to your doom.

Best Playthrough


My winning run was not perfect by any means, but for a game that is as hard as Q*bert, I’d say it was impressive for a first-time completion. I got all the way to Level 8 with all continues intact, used all of them in Level 8, and then had a great run through Level 9 to the end, some parts of which I played for the first time. I ended up with the 3rd fastest completion of the game according to speedrun.com.


I’ve owned and played RoadBlasters for a long time, so it’s not a shock that I would do well at the game. I only took one attempt at it but managed to clear all stages without needing to continue once. Sure, I crashed a lot, that is to be expected in this game where you can manage several crashes and be fine. I like being able to try a game once and be happy with the result.

A sweet sigh of relief.

Milon’s Secret Castle:

I am thankful that the continue code for this game is listed in the manual. It is the only way I was able to beat this game many years ago, and this time too. I knew I wanted to try and beat the game without needing the code, and after a few tries I was able to complete a decent enough run without dying. The second loop did not go that well, it is harder and faster after all, but the continue code bailed me out again and I’m happy with how the second loop went for my first time anyway.

Worst Playthrough


Maybe I should have given this game some more time. My playthrough was right before vacation so I settled with whatever I could get. I know this game is sneaky hard, and I have learned that’s true. I could not get the hang of playing against most of the teams in this game. My playthrough was against the second-easiest team and it still took five sets to pull out the victory. It’s not good, just adequate.

F-117A Stealth Fighter:

Beating this game was slow and took a long time. Any time you fail, you make no progress, even if you’ve been working at a mission for a long time. Unfortunately, I failed quite a lot. I also figured out a little trick late in my playthrough that would have made things much easier and saved me a lot of time. I will get to that a little later!

Best Moment


I think I need to pay attention better to some less heralded moments where I did something neat or unexpected in the game. As it is, there is often overlap between Best Moment and some other accomplishment. This time, the thrill of beating Q*bert was a great moment for me, even though it was entirely expected to happen at some point.

Bill Elliott’s NASCAR Challenge:

I really struggled to get the hang of this game and racing here. Even though I was able to run short races, one small mistake is all it takes to crash and end up in last place. A great moment is that moment of enlightenment, or in this case finding an exploit and exercising it. I learned that on the Watkins Glen course, you can drive full speed all the way on the outside of a turn and the game pushes you along the curve without crashing. Your car will get damaged but not enough to have to pit in a short race. The trick works on Sears point too but there are fewer places where it is useful. Anyway, any time I can avoid seeing Bill on the winner’s podium, I’ll take it.

Just drive directly into wide turns and you’ll be okay.

Worst Moment

Sky Kid:

You know a game will take the top spot when you have multiple worst moment candidates. I have two bad moments that came to mind when playing in the late levels of Sky Kid. The first was a very promising run lost to technological problems. I reached the final stage with several lives in stock, only for the TV to spontaneously lose power, which also cut off the AVS that was powered through the TV’s USB port. In the second bad moment, I reached the very end of the game. To win, you have to drop a bomb on the spaceship at the end. I lost the bomb early, watched the spaceship go by, and then force-crashed into the water past the end on my last life. I was stunned.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:

The close, but not quite beaten, runs of any game are always a good topic for Worst Moment, and I sure had that here. Level 10 is an awfully hard level that sometimes can be completed quickly with good luck. I got through it and made it to the final level only to run out of equipment, preventing me from reaching the end. Losing there meant I would have to replay Level 10 all over again if I wanted victory.

Jordan vs. Bird: One on One:

I suppose we have hit the trifecta of bad moments in 2018. First is the issue external to the game, second is the close call runs that weren’t meant to be, and the third is the soft lock. Near the end of a match in Jordan vs. Bird, I made a shot and the ball bounced up and down on the rim into perpetuity. I couldn’t knock the ball down or make it fall in any way. It’s a soft lock because the game didn’t freeze, but I couldn’t proceed and was forced to reset and try again. Not a huge loss here but it’s annoying (though sometimes comical) when it happens.

Imagine this with the ball just bouncing forever.

Best Surprise


I have long dreaded playing the Koei-developed strategy titles on the NES. They have thick manuals, tons of options, and seem to be very long games to complete. I knew that Gemfire was the best option as a starter game for the series, but little did I know that I would come to genuinely enjoy playing the game. There are plenty of options, sure, but it didn’t take long to figure out what to do. Combat was streamlined a bit with simple square grids and cool extra abilities. Now I don’t feel so bad about trying one of the more complicated games later.

Baseball Simulator 1.000:

I assumed that nothing would top R.B.I. Baseball for me as the essential NES baseball experience. Baseball Simulator 1.000 has a similar feel but has way more customization. It also introduces the Ultra League where you can assign special powers to pitchers, hitters, and fielders. That adds an additional strategy element to the game while also being wacky, unpredictable, and fun, and that was one of the best surprises in 2018. I’ll always have a soft spot for R.B.I. even though Baseball Simulator 1.000 is probably the better game.

Worst Surprise

Pipe Dream:

In this project, there aren’t that many things worse than turning the game on and realizing it doesn’t work. Pipe Dream would not load past a garbled title screen on my AVS, but it ran just fine on my top loading console. I test all my carts but I must have tested Pipe Dream before I bought the AVS. I ended up buying another copy of the game that worked and I skipped ahead a game on my list so I wouldn’t be left without anything to play.

The pipeline might not look great, but at least it’s not glitchy.

F-117A Stealth Fighter:

This is actually a good surprise that I perceive as bad. To get medals in this game, you have to complete missions scoring a certain number of points. I figured out how to fly through most levels and clear out everything in one go to earn enough points, but it was a huge challenge to do so. Just before the last mission, I learned a trick where you can land and fix up your plane as many times as you want as long as you don’t destroy the primary target in a mission. This helped greatly in meeting the medal requirements, but I was so annoyed that I wasted a lot of time trying to clear missions the hard way.

Best Familiar Game

Super C:

Contra is always one of the highest regarded games on the NES. Super C is less heralded but is just as good if not a little better. Everything about this game is great. The music, graphics, controls, and gameplay are all top notch. There’s great level design and boss battles and a bunch of great weapons. I’ll always have a good time playing through Super C.

Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers:

I’ve probably spent more time playing through Chip ‘n Dale than I have Super C. I love the cheery, upbeat music here. It really gets me going and makes me happy. I enjoy throwing boxes all over the place and fighting the level bosses. I just wish it were a tiny bit harder, but then again I don’t mind romping through this one at any time.

Best New Game

Laser Invasion:

Color me surprised for sure. Zapper games aren’t especially my forte, and neither are flight combat games. Laser Invasion kind of came out of nowhere and combined genres I don’t terribly care for into an excellent overall package. The flight sections play well and have some cool boss fights. Some of the dodging flight segments are well done and exciting looking. The zapper sections are done well, and the mazes are a lot more fun to go through than I would have thought. The graphics, music, and presentation are all in that well-done Konami style. It’s a tough game, but a fun one to play that many people don’t know about.

Brief bouts of lightning sure are pretty.

Baseball Simulator 1.000:

This might end up being the only sports game to make this category. Baseball Simulator 1.000 took the familiar style of R.B.I. Baseball and added in a ton of extra content. You can run a league, build and customize a team, view various statistics collected over many sessions, watch or simulate full games, and participate in the wacky Ultra League. All those things made the game a ton of fun to play.

Worst Game

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure:

While not bad on technical terms, this game was such a drag to play. Making hand drawn maps are required for this game and they are more difficult to create due to the perspective. You have to check every door, every bush, every fence, every little detail in the stages in hopes of finding something useful. The levels are huge and it’s easy to suffer setbacks such as getting thrown in jail. It’s repetitive, long, and boring.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:

This game is better with some good action parts. The enemies and traps are really annoying in this game. You are always under threat, getting knocked around into lava, into traps, or off ledges. The jumping perspective is tricky when traversing complicated ledges. Switching weapons is so frequent you are prone to mistakes. There’s also hidden items appearing in random places that aren’t required but make things easier. Even then, the end game is still one of the hardest parts of any game I’ve played in recent memory. Bill & Ted will put you to sleep, and this game will make you rage.

I can’t believe I didn’t mention these awful conveyors.

F-117A Stealth Fighter:

This game annoyed me, in part because of the trick to completing long missions, and also because there are a bunch of missions that are long in the first place. The action is okay but it’s mostly too slow. It’s too easy to get turned around when you have to shake off an enemy fighter. The music isn’t that great. I thought it was harder than it really is, which didn’t help sell the game to me either.

Ignored But Not Forgotten

The Black Bass:

I am not a fishing fan and I figured this game would be a drag. It was a long game, but I had a lot more fun with it than I expected. Explore a few different lakes to find the best spots for fishing, then choose bait, throw out your line, and get into some tricky battles between the fish and your gear. The music was surprisingly good too.

Desert Commander:

This was really my first foray into NES strategy games and it was pretty enjoyable. Nice graphics, good music, and even some cutscenes are featured in this game. What I didn’t like was being severely outnumbered in the later missions, but somehow I found a way.

James Bond Jr.:

Here’s another surprisingly good game on the list that didn’t get any other recognition. THQ has a bad reputation for their NES games but this one is better than that would suggest. I actually submitted my playthrough as a world record on speedrun.com, only to have a much better time uploaded just before mine went through.

There’s lots to do in the game and it looks pretty good.


Both the movie and the game are pretty good. The NES game is a fairly straightforward game. It controls a bit sluggish for a game where you are forced to proceed quickly if you don’t want to run out of energy. This was my first time beating this game since I was 9 or 10 years old.

Snoopy’s Silly Sports Spectacular:

Snoopy and his friends are here for some quirky minigames. To get the gold medal, you have to master all six events and perform well enough at them three times. It is an easy game for the most part, but it may take several attempts to bring it all together. It’s a nice game that didn’t fit any of the categories.


This is an early shoot-em-up game that just barely missed the list for Oldest Game. It has some neat ideas, such as rescuing people in exchange for fuel or weapon upgrades. Unfortunately, the game drags on too long for it to have been better remembered.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

I’m surprised I didn’t find a way to sneak this game in earlier. Almost every 90’s kid interested in TMNT also played the NES game. It is a tough game with many issues but one that is well regarded for the most part. I really enjoy this game and it has some good music to go along with the turtle swapping and scroll weapon throwing.

Always stop for the scroll weapon.

Wacky Races:

This game is best known for being very expensive, with loose carts selling near $200. It is not a racing game, but an easy platformer where you can rack up a bunch of lives and refill your health on demand. Still, it is a fun romp. It was close to making the list for Best Soundtrack just for the title screen theme alone.

WWF Wrestlemania:

I find wrestling games to be tedious to play and not that much fun, with the caveat that my experiences do not go beyond the N64 era. I remember being really frustrated playing through this game and having issues on just the second fight. I ended up learning an exploit that helped me win the game. At least I got to play as The Macho Man!

tag : , , ,
by :
comment : 2