Review by Aganar

"The most innovative system ever? Probably."

In the early days of the 80's, gaming was still in its youth. There were systems like the arcade systems, the Colecovision, and the mighty Atari. But, during the great gaming crash, they all slowly died. However, one system survived. One little system made by a company, which had made cards for the last 100 years. The company? Nintendo. The System? The Famicom, or the Family Computer. It was more well known as the Nintendo Entertainment System, or the NES for short.

The graphics were amazing for the time. Never had a console displayed such an amazing array of colors. While launch titles looked like Atari games, as little as a couple months later they started to take form. They evolved into gorgeous graphics from which no one had ever seen before on a console. Not only were some of them very well done on their own, but the NES even managed to have some arcade perfect ports! Now, taking into account that before 1999, Arcade games ALWAYS looked better than anything else, that was outstanding.

Its sound capabilities were also superior for the time. While most Atari games had one-instrument beeps, which didn’t, even sound very good, the NES was far ahead. Its quality was alot higher than anything else at the time. And, it could do many instruments at a time. If you don't believe me, play games like Simon's Quest, Marble Madness,, or Wizard's and Warriors. Even today game tunes like these still manage to rival modern soundtracks. The Atari couldn't do great tracks like this.

The NES consists of one of the most amazing libraries of games you will ever find. Not only does it have the largest library of quality games, second only to the Super NES, but it still probably has the largest library period of any console game. Naming all of them would take an eternity.

No matter what category you chose, there were many games to suit your needs. Want a platformer? We've got Super Mario Bros for you. Shooters? Which one will that be, space or action? Contra and Gradius are there for you. Or maybe Metroid if you're into more exploration. RPG's you say? Well, we've got Dragon Warrior and the Final Fantasy series for you. Action RPG? Try out The Legend of Zelda, or Radia Senki. Strategy? Here's Fire Emblem. The list goes on forever. If you could think up a game genre, chances are there are at least 3 of its type on the NES.

And it is not only the quantity of the games that were on the NES, but the amazing quality. Even with all these new next-gen systems, there are still many NES games I find to be better. Super Mario Bros 3 still destroys any other plat-former besides its sequels. The Final Fantasy's and Dragon Warrior games still pack a punch. The Legend of Zelda is still fun to play. Hell, some games I enjoy even more than some modern games. Give me a classic like River City Ransom over a game like Blood Omen II any day.

But perhaps my favorite thing about the system is the sheer innovation that every game had. Because no genre typed had been invented yet, no one really had any idea of how to make a game. As a result, games were extremely innovative and unique. Take a game like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for example. Instead of taking form of just a pure beat-em'-up, it had a bunch of different features. There was an overworld, you could change characters during battle, and get a variety of different weapons. Or take a game like Little Nemo. I doubt we'll ever see a game like that anymore. No formulas meant that the game designers could let their imaginations run wild. Now, very few games are completely original. To be totally new and innovative is a task. So far, only Pikmin seems to have succeeded. However, here, since there was nothing before, unless you just stole an engine from another game, your game would be fairly unique.

The add-ons are still fairly decent for a console. There was the joy-pad, which while good for some games, failed to sell well and sucked at others. There was the power glove, introduced in ''The Wizard'', which could be used for games like Punch-out, but that too suffered from problems. The U-Force was a total failure, so I won't even get into it. Arguably its best add-on was the Light gun, which was used for over 20 NES games. It could be used to do some Duck Hunting in Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt, or for the light gun portion of Bayou Billy. There was also that ROB thing, but the less said about that the better.

A fun fact that many people do not know, the Sega Master system was actually slightly more powerful than the NES. But, few owned it. How did Nintendo manage to edge out? Well, for one thing, they brought the videogame industry out of the depression. So, everyone had one. Nintendo had a monopoly. But also, it was the fact that the Master System had like 4 games for it, which anyone actually cared about.

Even with a two-button control, all of the games managed to work perfectly. The control, while not very smooth, still felt good. You could play for hours on end with this control and never have any problems. It later caused its offsprings to become more and more comfortable till we have the controls of today, which literally curve around your hands.

Overall, this is one of the best systems ever created. If you want a good selection of quality titles that are aged to perfection, pick this up. If you want a system with a library of games where each game was something new and unique, grab this. Or, if you just want some cheap games that will still supply you with hours of fun, GET THIS! It's the legendary Nintendo…you won't be disappointed.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/17/03, Updated 02/17/03


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