Flashback to videogames of yore with Mario, Sonic

Seth Roy

Nostalgia: “A wistful or sentimental longing for places, things, acquaintances or conditions belonging to the past.” (from Random House Webster’s Concise College Dictionary)

Ahh, yearning for the days of our youth. The days when our biggest worries were eating lunch at noon, the monster in the closet and rescuing Princess Toadstool.

Our generation is a generation that has grown up with videogames in our lives. We have witnessed growth in quality from the 8-Bit Nintendo NES to the 128-Bit Playstation 2. By the end of 2006, the next generation of consoles will officially be on the market, upping the realism and experience of the games.

But, do better graphics and a more “realistic” experience really mean a better experience? (Yeah, yeah…Seeing LeBron James wince as he misses a jumper or Ethan Hunt disarm a bomb is pretty cool.)

No matter how much I like the authentic experience of this new generation of games, I absolutely love playing games that take me back to my younger days.

Last semester, my PS2 was kaput with about five weeks left. So, what did I do? I brought up the good old Sega Genesis.

In those five weeks, I conquered old favorites like Sunset Riders and Sonic & Knuckles, while getting my rear end handed to me in some other of my favorite games, such as Jurassic Park and Desert Strike.

Now, please indulge me as I reminisce on my younger days as a gamer. What follows is a concise list of my 10 favorite games from older generations of consoles.

10. Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES): Really, any of the Mario games could be here, but this was my favorite. In part because it’s the only one I ever beat.

9. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis): I seem to have a thing for sequels; as well as for Tails.

8. Shaq-Fu (Genesis): Released during Shaq’s multi-platform phase (basketball, music, acting, videogames), Shaq-Fu is just a fun fighting game. Playing as Shaq, you are the Chosen One, transported to the desert-laden Second World to save the “fair” First World from being conquered by the evil mummy Sett Ra. Okay, so the plot is a little out there, but don’t knock it till you’ve rocked it.

7. Altered Beast (Genesis): “Rise from your grave.” Play as a recently deceased warrior who gets resurrected by a god to save the god’s doctor. The fun comes in when the main character powers up into a werewolf.

6. Battletoads and Double Dragon (Genesis): More fun as a two-player game; less challenging as a single-player game.

5. Sonic & Knuckles (Genesis): Dual, intertwining stories between Sonic and Knuckles. Knuckles can fly. Also, plug in either Sonic 2 or Sonic 3 and play as Knuckles in them.

4. Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (Genesis): Nothing brings back the joys of boyhood like a Michael Jackson game. Rescue small children as the King of Pop by dancing and kicking dogs.

3. Sunset Riders (Genesis/SNES): Wildly challenging game of cowboys and outlaws. For full enjoyment, play with a partner.

2. Contra (NES): A classic in all senses of the word. Fight aliens alone or with a partner. A side-scrolling, shoot ‘em up game set in the future.

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (NES): Raphael was, and still is, my favorite turtle. I even have his autograph. I still have the toys. I even watch the new cartoons, even though they don’t hold a candle to the original.

Surely, I neglected to mention many great games. Other games I can remember playing when I was younger are Mike Tyson’s Punchout, Bases Loaded and, of course, Zelda.

Contact pop arts reporter Seth Roy at [email protected].