Last week, on Retroforce GO!, someone asked the crew what video games they got from their parents that they didn’t ask for. While the question was (it seemed to me) supposed to be about bad games that they got, it got me thinking. I don’t remember getting any games that I didn’t like from my parents. Not a one.
Now, that could be because I didn’t have any choice in the matter and I was just thankful to get anything. But even now, going back to think about the games I had as a kid, I still enjoy playing them all.
So I thought I would give you guys a list of my favorite games that I’d never heard of that my parents bought for us, starting with my favorite and working down:
- Clash at Demonhead – This is the one game that had me scratching at my head forever when I first opened it up. Why did the main character look like those weird Bible cartoons on the Christian network? What the hell is up with this storyline? Who the hell names their hero ‘Bang’? I loved every minute of it, but I never once saw a picture, review, or anything related to this game before it was in my lap. Thank you Mom and Dad for blessing me with this awesomeness. If only they’d put the damned thing on the Virtual Console.
- Blaster Master – This is one of my favorite games of all time, and certainly one of my favorite NES soundtracks of all time. I mean, your frog falls in a hole, you go after him, and you find the most badass car in the world and this awesome mutagenic ooze (the best part of growing up in the 80’s) that made monsters pop up everywhere! Plus, the switch from a side-scrolling platformer to an isometric shooter made this one of the coolest games on any system. Seriously, Nintendo. Find out who owns the copyright on this thing and get it on the VC!
- Bionic Commando – A classic that likely needs no explanation, but is on this list because it was a) awesome, and b) a complete surprise. At first, I didn’t like the game. I didn’t understand how the hell I was supposed to play a platformer with no jump button. But, once I got the hang of it, I was hooked. Not to mention the story was awesome. I remember the first time I beat this game, my dad took me to the middle school where he worked (it was either a weekend, inservice day, or summer break) and I played it on the TV in his room. I spent all day on this game, and when I finally blew up Hitler Master-D with a bazooka to the face and watched his head explode, I felt so proud that I think I actually did a fist pump. Plus, it was the first game I’d played that had a curse word in it.
- Double Dragon II: The Revenge – My brother and I spent hour upon hour playing this game. We started on the lowest difficulty, which only lets you play the first three levels. Once we got good enough, we played the next difficulty and it took us a long time to finally beat it. When we found out that even on that difficulty you still didn’t get to see the real ending, we thought we were screwed. How could we possibly beat the whole game? Then we found the trick to steal each other’s lives. First, it was just an excuse to beat the crap out of each other. Then, it was a challenge to see who could screw the other over when he was in the middle of a fight. Finally, we used it to our advantage to kill each other when our health was low to preserve our reserve lives. It was enough to finish the game, and probably the best co-op experience I ever had as a child. Thanks again, Mom and Dad, for picking an awesome game for your kids.
- Gradius – This was the second game I ever got for the NES. My brother got Ghosts ‘n Goblins at the same time. It was my first experience with shmup of any sort and it was the first game that ever inspired me to create my own levels to play. Even if those levels were just derivatives of those located in the game already, I felt like a badass for drawing them out on paper during church. And I can say with 100% certainty that my love of Easter Island and the Moai stems from this game’s third level.
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of games that my parents bought that I hadn’t heard about. For starters, I had never played a Nintendo in my life when we first got one. My parents were just that awesome. So right off, Super Mario Bros. is technically a part of that list. In fact, the only games that we had that I can remember specifically asking for are The Legend of Zelda and Metroid. Also, I never specifically asked for Mega Man 3 (though my brother may have), but it’s possible that my parents picked it out because they knew how much fun we had with a borrowed copy of Mega Man 2.
My parents were so cool that they even subscribed to the Nintendo Fun Club (and ultimately, Nintendo Power) at no prodding from us. And, whenever Nintendo Power had a cool bonus for renewing your subscription, they usually did it without us having to say a word. They’re pretty much the best parents ever.
Also, my dad was the first person I ever saw reach World 2 (I think I’ll save that story for another post), and both of my parents spent some time being addicted to Tetris.