Tag Archives: NES

1. Wart

Bosses, especially in NES games, fall into one of two categories. They’re either insanely easy once you determine the trick to beating them, or they’re insanely hard, requiring perseverance and multiple hits. Wart is neither of those. While there are strategies to defeating him and avoiding getting hit, there’s no automatic road to victory. On the other hand, it is very possible to get very good at defeating him, taking no to minimal damage. In a way, he’s like Mike Tyson.

He wants to eat your children

Continue reading 1. Wart

6. Stop! Hammer Time

Once you get the hang of things in Super Mario Bros. the game becomes pretty easy. Enemies have predictable patterns, and with a little patience, there’s little in the way of challenge outside of timing your mad dash for every Bowser visit. But there’s one area of the game that never gets easy and to this day still makes me nervous.

Oh, and there’s bullets.

Continue reading 6. Stop! Hammer Time

8. Traction Control

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Mario’s ice worlds (one per game!) get a bad rep.

Okay, controlling Mario as he slips and slides around some frozen hellhole, completely unable to maintain any sort of his momentum without jumping first is irritating, but it’s a gameplay mechanic that can lead to some interesting ideas.

Also, here’s as good a place as any to admit that I liked the stage music to this world

Continue reading 8. Traction Control

10. Into the Wild Blue Yonder

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The first time I played Super Mario Brothers 3, I was at my cousin’s house. He sat beside me and watched as I marveled at things like an actual intro screen and a world map. I was hooked, and I hadn’t even actually played the damned thing yet.

Soon enough, I was playing, and loving it. I got the mushroom soon enough, then managed to unlock another, different powerup – one I hadn’t seen before.

I am a leaf on the wind…

I picked it up, and… gained raccoon ears and a tail. I knew nothing about the manual, and hadn’t seen any gameplay to this point (missed out on The Wizard), so I had no earthly idea what being turned into a raccoon could possibly mean.

“Ooh!” my cousin said, barely able to contain his enthusiasm, “get running really fast and then jump.”

Mario would never be the same.

Watch how I soar…

11. Source Code

Plumbers, upon birth, are granted the great fortune of being able to die twice and still continue their existence. It doesn’t matter how, either. Fall down a pit? Second chance. Hit by a bullet? No problem. Run out of an arbitrary amount of time presumably set by the Koopa Gods? Just wind back the clock. Of course, it’s likely those things will happen to plumbers more than just three times during the span of their careers. They can earn more chances to fuck up. Why, the St. Peter of plumbers takes 100 gold coins in exchange for a second life. He also takes poisonous mushrooms.

Don’t try this at home kids. You will die.

Continue reading 11. Source Code

12. Leap of Faith

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The first level of world 8 featured a jump which needed a fair bit of precision (the jump onto the singular pillar towards the end of the level), but at least you could see the landing zone when you made the jump. About halfway through the second level, you were denied that opportunity.

Well, I mean… there has to be something over there, right?

Continue reading 12. Leap of Faith

13. LASERS!!!

I remember when I was 11 years old and got to the final castle in SMB3 for the first time. I was so excited, and so nervous. So nervous, in fact, that I literally tiptoed over each square, terrified of what might be coming. As it turns out, tip-toeing is not the best strategy.

Somehow, though, I was able to avoid instant death. I just wish there were more surprises like this throughout the game.