Game Reviews: Techmo Bowl (NES)

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It didn’t get more real that this in 1989 in which Techmo Bowl, the first NFLPA licensed game, was released. This was around the same time I began rooting for my team, the Washington Redskins.

Except in this game, I separated loyalty from awesomeness and seldom played with them.

Out of the 12 teams, there was only two real choices in a game that offered two pass plays and two run plays each time, in which I would only use master half of them: The off-tackle run, and the all go pass.

The team I would pick would be the Chicago Bears. Why? Because it had the best player in the game, Walter Payton. He was fast as hell and could rarely be stopped. If he got out in the open, watch out because he was going to take it to the house (and make a ton of players miss) For the pass play, I would roll back and off to the side and throw a bomb down the sideline every time, without seeing the receiver at all. The game had this little highlighted flag at the edge of the screen that told you approximately where the receiver was and you had to have faith to let your players make a play.

That’s what playmakers do.

On the season mode, I would beat it pretty easily. I think I beat the game with half the teams, including the Washington Redskins just to see if I could do it.

The real rivalry, was when I played my father. He used the only team that could really rival the Bears, the Raiders. You see, if you couldn’t play Techmo Bowl with Walter Payton, you would play with Bo Jackson. He was fast a hell too.

I don’t remember the final tally of who won the most. Most of the games would come down to the final possession, or one rare interception from one of my throws … because I’m sure even my father figured out that I ran only two plays in my offensive playbook. It was essentially a 50/50 guess each time.

It was awesome and fun, and I hope to find another copy of it someday.

SEE ANOTHER NES GAME REVIEW

 

Game Reviews: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

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This was the second game I ever beat on the Nintendo. Well, when I say “I” that means it was really a group effort. You see, this was a game that took a little time to beat. One couldn’t merely load a checkpoint and continue from a previous day. Nope, back in those days we had to blow on our cartridge, stick in the game, and hope for the best.

Some things in life don’t change.

The game was famous for allowing players to switch between Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. If you lost one in combat, you would start the stage over, less one turtle, but no matter, you could rescue them during certain stages (I believe the long stage 3 come is the first opportunity).

Back to the group effort. You see, I was pretty good at the first couple stages. We had this thing where my brother and I would test to see if we could beat the swim stage without getting hit once. This proved pretty easy. Then we would test if we could beat it on a single breath without getting hit, and we never could. I dare you to try. It wasn’t until stage 3 that we had some difficulty.

This is because of the fucking scrolls.

I looked online for some pictures of a turtle actually throwing one of these weapons of mass foot soldier destruction, but couldn’t find one in 10 minutes of searching. You see, the scrolls were the only weapon that could beat Shredder, so my brother and I loaded each turtle with the max (I think 99).

Then, this is where the plot thickens, because the biggest gamer in the house happened to be my father, who actually seemed to play this game more than us. So on stage 4, we would hand the controller to our father, who had come the closest to beating the game on a random Saturday.

The goal was simple.

We wanted to beat the game as a family. So over and over, my brother and I were essentially tricked to becoming my father’s scroll mules as we essentially became his restart button. I can’t blame him, this is what I would do today if there was no save function. Just truck the kid that it was a quest together, and they would do the hard work getting the turtles prepped for the harder stages to come.

In any case, I still remember each time “we” would descend down to Shredders lair, which was the most boobytrapped place since King Tut’s tomb. The walls would collapse in with spikes and there was this maneuver where you had to drop three levels just in time. If you lost a turtle, you were fucked, because you needed four turtles to beat Shredder.

This is where my father came in. He had a certain sense of timing. So on the day of reckoning, my brother and I watched as he made the drop and we finally saw Shredder for the first time. My father then unleashed a shitload of scrolls on him, in a deadly battle of wills. My father didn’t have the full compliment of scrolls, but he had enough to win, in which we all jumped in gamer glory.

Then the hard part happened. My brother and I wanted to beat it by ourselves and never could. We tried and tried but always hit a wall (pun intended).

I’m sure there was some gamer trick to it, but eventually, we reached the conclusion that my father and the secret touch. So whenever the time was at hand, we would give the controller to our father, or run outside and tell him to stop mowing the lawn, because we were near the end of stage 6. He would stop whatever he was doing and pull the miracle.

I forget how many times we beat the game, maybe 7 to 10 times or so, but I’ll never forget the father would answer the call to arms.

MY REVIEW ON A SNES CLASSIC

Game Reviews: Super Mario Speed Running

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I discovered a few months ago the video game subculture of Super Mario speed running. If you search youtube, there are many champions of past and present showing replays of their great achievements.  According to the official site http://www.speedrun.com this the current record list. Behold the glory. If there was a Gamer Olympics, America would dominate the sport of Super Mario speed running. We hold 16 of the top 20 spots.

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An interesting observation is that there seems to be a new breed of speed runners. The vast majority of the records have been set in the last few years. Can you imagine Trevor Sequin right now? He was king of the Super Mario world 11 years ago. He walked the walk, and strutted his stuff like he was about to get his own brand of hot sauce (that’s another story). Trevor reigned for 2 years until Scott Kessler beat him. I want to know this story. Did Trevor come out of retirement and start training to regain the record at this point? Or was he fine watching his title get smashed over and over? (Trevor, DM me on twitter and we can tell your story)

The current record holder is a player named darbian. Wow. What a time. You can watch his accomplishments on youtube. I don’t know how many hours it took to accomplish such a feet. I surely would like to know the training involved. People might not respect eSports at the moment, but I believe it is the future. The hand to eye coordination required and dexterity is something we might need when the Alien Invasion comes (i.e. Pixels, The Last Starfighter, etc).

As for me. I played Super Mario a ton. It was the first NES game I ever played (no, duh, right? It came in the system along with Duck Hunt). I never beat the game. I always got stuck at level 8-2. It would be the story of my adolescence. I took the crazy beanstalk adventures but never got the princess.

She was always in another castle.

WHY STREET FIGHTER 2 IS MY FAVORITE FIGHTING GAME EVER

Game Reviews: Contra (NES)

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For those of you born after 1990, you do not know the awesome that is known as Contra. This was the game where you could enter the secret thirty-man code (up up, down down, left right left right, B, A, start!) and boom, you and your buddy would run the through the game blasting the enemy as if you were invincible.

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And do you remember the S-gun? Spreading red balls of glory to an enemy near you. It was glorious and epic and deadly. I don’t remember how many times I beat the game without the thirty-man code, but it doesn’t matter now, does it? It was the coolest feeling you could have without having a damn game genie.

I played this game with friends whenever they came over. The coolest thing you could do to help a bro out was to lend them a life. To ask, “Can I borrow a life” was like “Shit man, I suck.”

I don’t know how many times I beat it, but I think I want to beat it one more time. It is time to search ebay and score myself a great copy.

Classic Game rating: 9/10

CHECK OUT MY STORY ON BUYING THE XBOX 360