Nostalgia Hit – Nintendo A-Z Part 1

I thought it might be nice to have a little change of pace and post something as a bit of fun. I’ve always been a bit of a Nintendo fanboy, as have my 2 brothers and I have many fond memories of playing the games as I was growing up, way back to the days of the NES and Super NES. My children now play on the switch and it’s nice to see things come full circle, there is certainly a lot of comfort that I take from the nostalgia hit!

Anyway, my brother put together a bit of a Nintendo A-Z recently and I’d thought I’d share as I found it to be a nice coffee break piece and thought others may enjoy it too. Here is A-M.

Hi everyone. Less so now but I was always a big gamer growing up and have always been a huge fan of Nintendo and have owned almost all of the machines they’ve released. I would like to share with you some facts about what makes them such a great company and why I still love them to his day as we travel from A to Z through Nintendo! This is going to be a real whistlestop tour. If you have any questions please put them in the chat box and I’ll get to them at the end otherwise I’ll never get through this in half an hour! So we’ll start with A which is for….
Launching in 2001 with the original Animal Crossing on Gamecube the Animal Crossing games are all largely the same. You control a pre teen child who moves into a rural village filled with anthropomorphic characters and you do stuff. Plant plants, play hide and seek, go fishing. It all sounds pretty boring to me (I’ve never played one) but it’s pretty big business for Nintendo. The latest game on the Switch, Animal Crossing:New Horizons, saw the biggest ever week 1 sales for a Switch game in Japan and in the UK and in America it was the third highest selling Nintendo game in a launch month ever. Not bad for a game where you essentially do nothing.
May not look like much today but when my brother got this one Christmas on our NES it changed our lives forever. Simple gameplay but so addictive. Got converted to pretty much every system out there and still gets remakes today. The only time I was ever jealous of Master System owners is because their version of Bubble Bobble had 200 levels. Bub and Bob have to rescue their girlfriends, that’s it in terms of plot! Okay in 1 player, AMAZING in 2 player and a true retro classic. This and Mariokart were the only things I had in common with my oldest brother growing up
Capcom is a giant in the games industry responsible for some huge franchises. Streetfighter 2’s importance to the industry cannot be understated and this is arguably the biggest 3rd party release on Nintendo consoles ever. The original on the SNES was mind blowing at the time and a key reason for customers to buy a Super Nintendo over a Megadrive.
Have to mention Resident Evil and specifically Resident Evil 4 which was originally a Gamecube exclusive and regularly cited as one of the greatest games of all time.
The Megaman series started out on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The titular character operating in a platform universe with a gun in ultra hard games with the gimmicks that you could tackle levels in whatever order you wanted and in each level you completed you would gain the weapon of that levels’ boss opening up options for tackling the other levels.
Megaman 2 is a series highlight despite some of the worst gamebox art you will ever see.  Megaman is supposed to be a robot man with a gun arm, not some weedy guy in a blue morph suit with a pistol!
Seminal title for the original NES and the first light gun game I remember. We didn’t have it and it caused lots of jealousy of friends who did have it… until we borrowed it and realised it got pretty dull pretty quickly… couple of ducks fly up, you have three shots to take them down. Repeat. That gun is pretty cool though
Some of the best enemies in the industry were born on Nintendo.
Bowser (Daimao in Japan – Great Demon King) is in practically every Mario game there is. Obsessed with capturing Princess peach and, as fans of the Mario RPG games will know, a
hidden talent for comedy.
Donkey Kong famously named because Monkey got lost in translation
Ganon the chief protagonist in the Zelda series
Mother Brain is in Metroid
Gruntilda from Banjo Kazooie
Dracula in Castlevania
Dr. Wily in Megaman
These days Wario is more mischievous than evil and Donkey Kong is just outright good. Little known fact, in Donkey Kong Jr the tables are turned and it’s actually Mario who’s the villain with DK Jr trying to rescue his dad from the evil mustachioed plumber. Boo Mario.
Nintendo has always had a family and friends image both in terms of content and in terms of wanting gamers to crowd round a television. Local multiplayer seems unimportant to Sony and Microsoft but in my mind this is a huge shame. Very little compares to 4 player Goldeneye with all of you in the same room pretending not to look at each others’ screens or the joy you get when you trap someone in Bomberman. You just can’t replicate that over the internet.
At the outset of the first episode the hero of the series, Kevin Keene, a teenager from Northridge, Los Angeles and his dog Duke are taken to another universe known as Videoland when they are sucked into a vortex called the Ultimate Warp Zone that formed in his television.
Kid Icarus – He often ends many words in his speech with the suffix “-icus”. For example, moments before a wrestling match against King Hippo, Kid Icarus declares, “If King Hippocis sits on me, I’ll be squashicus maximus!” 
Goodies – Kevin, Princess Lana, Duke (his dog), Simon Belmont, Megaman, Kid Icarus, Gameboy
Baddies – Mother Brain, King Hippo, Dr Wily Eggplant Wizard
Controller evolutions have generally been Nintendo have lead and others follow. Original controller with the d pad. SNES found an ergonomic way for players to have 6 buttons. N64 truly brought gaming into 3D and the controller was was huge part of this. Wii was expected to be a complete flop with the motion controls but Nintendo ripped up the rulebook and catered for an audience that Sony and Microsoft ignored (and this continues today). Wii-U was huge flop but laid the groundwork for the Switch. Rumblepack on the N64 was a precursor to rumble feedback being in all controllers now. Ring Fit which is basically an interactive tension band is very Nintendo
JRPGs or Japanese Role Playing Games are well represented by Nintendo with lots of marquee franchises getting their start on Nintendo machines. Final Fantasy started on the NES and stayed exclusive to Nintendo until Final Fantasy 7 when Squaresoft made the move to Playstation to take advantage of CD storage. Final Fantasy 6 is an amazing NES swan song though, quite possibly my favourite game of all time with a storyline and mature themes that are rarely seen in games today yet alone in 1994. Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were never released in the UK at the time but were always huge in Japan and, to a lesser extent, America. “Terranigma” is an obscure JRPG on the Snes that unusually was not released in America and is rather rare today. A fact I took advantage of a few years ago when I sold my cartridge on ebay for just shy of £100
Japanese software powerhouse that launched several franchises on the NES. Castlevania was a gothic platformer where the player goes through a castle using their whip to take out undead ghoulies before eventually taking on Dracula himself. Spawned loads of sequels across many systems and even has a decent Netflix series these days. Metal Gear started on the NES. It wasn’t great but can see all the stealth hallmarks that later were popularised by the Metal Gear Solid series. The Contra games are hard as nails run and guns, no finesse, just action heroes running along shooting things. International Superstar Soccer was the precursor to the modern day Pro Evolution series. Konami code would grant things like extra lives. Debuted in Gradius. And check out all the awesome box art
Nintendo is actually fairly poorly represented by female role models, get more progressive here Nintendo! But for me one sticks out way ahead of everyone else. Not Princess Peach nor Princess Zelda but Samus Aran. She is the lead character in the Metroid series of games and is a total bad ass. Running around an alien planet taking out whatever aliens she can and solving puzzles, she can do it all really. Metroid doesn’t have as many games as something like Mario or Zelda but the quality of these games is fantastic. Super Metroid on the SNES is possibly the best 2d game around. Metroid Prime on the Gamecube and its sequels made a seamless jump to 3d that critics thought would be impossible. Metroid Prime 4 will come out on the Switch one day. I’m pretty sure it will rock.
Not all great news though, in the early Metroid games depending on how quickly you completed the game you would be “rewarded” with Samus showing off fewer and fewer clothes!
More than 600 million units sold worldwide
Super Mario Bros in 1985 helped launch the NES
Super Mario World and/or Mario 64 regularly appear in greatest games of all time top 10 lists
Had a terrible movie where he was portrayed by Bob Hoskins. Do not watch it.
Crossed over into practically every genre around – starting with Mariokart

Hope that was a bit of fun, part 2 to follow shortly.

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