Ah, that glorious feeling of getting your favorite video game to finally work again. It’s been caked with dust for years, but a few quick breaths on the cartridge, a little bit of tapping here and there and the spark of those fond memories rekindle.
The Golden Era
I’m a bit of a video game nerd, but I stopped keeping up with the trends back in the late 90s. Most of my favorite games hail from when I was just a babe in diapers. Mario, Link, Donkey Kong – these were my homeboys, and still are today.
The shift from Arcade games to in-home consoles was in full swing, and game developers were cranking out one masterpiece after another. It was a great time to be alive. Beating levels and getting power-ups were my main concerns, and saving princesses and finding treasure chests was how I spent my free time.
I’ve managed to collect, buy, and rebuy consoles and games that I loved the most over the years. Four systems with an array of games currently lives in a giant cardboard box in my apartment with no good place to live other than on the floor, right beside the TV.
Each game has a memory locked up in it. Staying up late in blanket forts, conquering Super Mario World with friends, and shaming those who dared bump the console and freeze the game, dooming us to start all the way back at the beginning.
So, what are my go-to games? What do I play when I untangle the mess of cords and try to figure out how to hook up a game console from 1989 to a TV from 2015?
Well let’s start with the basics:
Super Mario 3 (1988)
Nostalgia – ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
By far one of my favorite games to waste some serious time on. Even though I know all the worlds front to back, it’s never become boring. Super Mario 3 always had a special place in my heart and is the winner for ultimate nostalgia.
Sega Genesis (1989)
Streets of Rage 2 (1992)
Multiplayer – ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Looking for a little taste of violence, but also justice? In a very Gotham-esque city, four young friends make a stand for friendship and peace. It’s all the best parts of Street Fighter, but has a great story mode.
Super NES (1990)
Donkey Kong Country (1994)
Video Game Cuteness – ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Super Nintendo had 4 more buttons and 8 more bits of graphics. The introduction of a new version of Donkey Kong popped off the screen and into our hearts. As an added bonus and familiar values, it featured synchronized multiplayer with Donkey’s nephew Diddy Kong.
Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (1998)
Gameplay – ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Nintendo finally got Zelda right with this cult classic. Unlike some adventures of the past, you’re going to need a full Saturday and Sunday of dedication to beat this one. But, it does not disappoint. From all the mini-games and exploring a seriously extensive map, to getting to bridge the gap from young to adult Link, this game has it all. You even get to travel through time.
Critics who aren’t me will tell you that it’s possibly the best video game of all time. I would have to agree wholeheartedly.
The best part about technology and gaming today, is that it’s easier than ever to play these old games without having to own the original system. Game emulators are basically free, and you can load them onto a computer or even your phone and play whenever you want.
All this being said, I’ll still choose setting up an original console and risk losing my progress halfway through a game. It’s the charm of remembering where we came from and appreciating what we have today.
Sorry, the princess is in another castle.