Nintendo Entertainment System was all the rage in the 80’s. My older brother got a NES for Christmas. Dad engraved his initials J.V.D into the bottom of the console. I have to admit my brother is good at everything he does, games included. My dad was thrilled when he beat him once but it never happened again. My older brother is not one to play games against, you will lose. Welcome to my childhood of always being player number two and waiting forever until he beat the game. Only to get a thirty second chance to play before I died. I was always Luigi and I could never beat any of the games. We would spend hours trying to find the princess only to find she’s in another castle. How many castles does this princess need? Don’t you dare get me started on Duck Hunt. If that dog pops up and laughs one more time about my shooting skills so help me. Maybe my anger started here in the pixels of Duck Hunt. ha.

Did you ever play NES for so long you had the arrow button became impressed into your thumb? Your hands cramped up from holding that controller for what seemed like an eternity? For some reason it felt like you could make the jump if you squeezed the controller harder and threw the cord with you whichever way you were going. No? Just me? My eyes felt like they were going to bleed from all the pixel goodness. I might have needed the glasses I have today from all the NES I played in my childhood.

My brother wasn’t the only good gamer, oh no move over sir, enter my step mom. Growing up she played Dr. Mario like it was her job. She and her friends stacked the pills and killed the germs like professionals. She started on the hardest levels with the fastest settings. I can remember sitting with my step sisters and the game was going so fast it hurt our eyes to watch. Then when we got a turn to play it was on the slowest setting and on the first level and we struggled to stay alive. The struggle was real!

Oh how the times have changed and the gaming systems have gotten far too complex. What’s up with all the buttons? I miss the simple days of the NES. Whatever happened to start, select and keeping it simple? Now they have buttons on the sides, top, back, and front of controllers. Sweet goodness, there’s a reason I can’t game in current times. The graphics are so clear and the button combos are far too complex for me to master.

When I moved out on my own I tried to convince my step mom to give me the old Nintendo but that didn’t happen so I turned to Kijiji and e-bay. I am happy to say I purchased not only the NES console, controllers, duck hunt gun and most of the games I once tried to beat and some new games too. Yes you still have to hit reset a million times until the picture loads correctly. Sometimes you have to wiggle the cartridge or take it out and blow on it. But after all these years it still runs like a dream.

Nothing is as calming as kicking it old school with the NES. I am happy to report as an adult and not being playing number two. I am pretty darn good at these games from the 80’s. I have even beaten a few.

The controller now seems smaller in my hand. As a kid I felt like it was a giant thing to hold. The victory of beating the game is a feeling that cannot be topped. I played Dr. Mario against my step mom as an adult and I won! Victory is mine! I have yet to meet anyone who can beat me in Dr. Mario. No need to challenge me, I like thinking I am the best. I even have a Dr. Mario tattoo on my hip. Forever making Dr. Mario my favourite NES game.

Jaws is a game I never experienced as a kid, but have come to love as an adult. It didn’t come with any instructions and it makes no sense but when you win and fly off into the pixel sunset. It makes the struggle of killing jellyfish and stingrays, collecting shells, fly planes, finding submarines and hit jaws with a boat all worth it.

It has all been fun and games, until recently when I thought it would be exciting to set up and play duck hunt with my son and my niece. Both kids are 7 years old about the age I was when I started learning to play Nintendo. I was showing them how the game worked and I reached level 10. Something I have never done before, apparently I am really down right horrible at this game. I felt like I was finally on fire and making great headway. Feeling great, until my niece, first try makes it to level 13 like she was hired and paid to take those ducks out. Even worse my son, comes up after her, boom same right to level 13. Oh duck hunt, a game I will forever dislike. Keep laughing dog!

Here’s too many more days and nights filled with NES goodness. Thank you to the friends and family who have come and shared some laughs and played some games.

What was your favourite NES game? What is a game you would recommend I try?

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