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#NES

Double Dribble Review Rewind

A slam dunk on the NES.

With the 2022 NBA Finals set to conclude this week (possibly tonight), now is as good a time as any to look back at Double Dribble- Konami’s take on professional basketball initially released in 1986. Like many of their arcade hits arcades, the game was forever immortalized when it was ported to the NES a year later. With its accessible gameplay mechanics and realistic presentation, Double Dribble quickly became known as one of the best sports experiences on the home console.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Review Rewind

Link’s 16-bit debut still sticks the landing 30 years later.

If there’s ever a time I dread writing a review, it’s when my subject is a highly favored game that has received so much praise over the years that it’s a bit hard not to sound like I’ve just hopped aboard the nostalgic hype train at this point. Check any top 10 list of the best Super Nintendo games, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to find The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past floating somewhere within the top five, if not the number one spot. It’s a testament to its staying power in the minds of the gaming community at large. When I sat down to play this game for myself, I only had one question- is the game really that good? Yes. Yes, it is.

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Knight Rider Review Rewind

KITT turbo boosts onto the NES.

The 1980s was a decade with no shortage of TV action/crime dramas featuring a suave loner with a high-tech vehicle on a crusade to champion all that is good. At the top of the pile was Knight Rider. Each week, David Hasselhoff hit the road to stop criminals with the help of KITT- a super-advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am voiced by William Daniels (aka Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World). A popular show in syndication by 1988, Knight Rider was the perfect candidate to get a licensed video game on the even more popular Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). So now, sit back and join me on this shadowy flight into a dangerous world of a man who does not exist.

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Elevator Action Review Rewind

Tactical Espionage Action

“Elevator” and “action” aren’t words that typically belong in the same sentence. But lo and behold, Taito released an arcade game in 1983 that would pair a mundane function with the trappings of a spy thriller in the game Elevator Action. You play the role of a secret agent that finds himself at the top of everyone’s hit list. Avoiding certain death requires cunning, skill, and riding a lot of elevators. It made a big enough impression to become a cult classic that people remembered fondly.

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Renegade Review Rewind

The Street Fighter

Sometime in May 1986, Japanese arcades saw the release of a brawler called Nekketsu Koha Kunio-kun (roughly meaning Hot-Blooded Tough Guy Kunio in English). It stars Kunio- a miscreant high schooler fighting for a classmate being picked on by rival gangs. The game is notable for being the first brawler to feature an urban setting and introduced many trademarks common to the genre- a tough guy protagonist, themes of street justice, generic thugs, female villains, and so on. The game underwent significant revisions for its Western release and subsequent NES port, including a name change to Renegade and the story wholly disconnected from its source material.

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Super Mario World Review Rewind

A whole new world.

Witnessing the leap from the NES to the new 16-bit Super Nintendo in 1991 was downright magical. The console had an eye-catching futuristic design (in the eyes of my six-year-old self anyway), and the hardware produced higher-quality graphics and sound that delivered an experience impossible for the previous generation. And what better title to lead the charge than Super Mario World? I remember seeing the game for the first time at a graduation party for a friend going to middle school. We all huddled around her TV, taking turns playing the game. As soon as that giant Banzai Bill streaked across the screen, I was hooked.

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Final Fantasy IV Review Rewind

The “Golden Age” started here.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy IV. Originally released on July 19, 1991, it was a momentous event due in no small part to the fact that this was the first in the series to debut on the Super Famicom. It was released to critical acclaim, and once again several months later when it came to the US on the Super Nintendo as Final Fantasy II (since we missed the first two sequels on the NES). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play it until a decade later, when it was re-released as part of Final Fantasy Chronicles. And although I was late experiencing my first 16-bit RPG, it was undoubtedly worth the wait.

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Out of this World Review Rewind

The Great Escape

Out of this World (aka Another World) was initially developed and released for the Amiga and Atari ST personal computers by French game designer Eric Chahi in 1991. The game was later ported to the Super Nintendo, among other home consoles. Out of this World garnered much praise for its intriguing visual style and storytelling ability. In most games from this era, text or dialogue was usually the vehicle used to drive the story forward. But this one did it differently. Instead, the ever-changing situations, dangers, and victories all worked together to tell the story without a word.

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Donkey Kong Review Rewind

More fun than a barrel of monkeys.

It all began on this day 40 years ago, in 1981. Nintendo- a then-obscure arcade machine manufacturer- had a problem with their latest game, Radar Scope. The machines weren’t selling as well as hoped, so the company decided to refit the unsold units with a brand new game. Young staff artist Shigeru Miyamoto was tasked with creating an arcade game that would capture the attention of the American audience. The finished product starred a stressed-out gorilla with an infinite supply of barrels who wasn't afraid to use them. It's the stubborn monkey himself, Donkey Kong.

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Life Force Review Rewind

Journey to the belly of the beast.

If you ever want to know how Konami became so successful, just look at their arcade history of the 1980s. Not only were the games entertaining, but there was also a good chance that their best hits would appear on NES and a wealth of other home consoles. Life Force was no exception. Released initially as Salamander in Japan 35 years ago today, the game came to America as Life Force and received an NES port two years later.

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