The twenty-fifth anniversary of a major milestone in gaming history is coming next Monday, October 18, 2010. It was on that day, a quarter century ago, when the Nintendo Entertainment System was first released in North America. That first holiday shopping season back in 1985, the NES, bundled with the Zapper Lightgun and unique R.O.B. peripheral, was only marketed in New York City. Sales were only moderately successful, but one thing was clear: Nintendo's console was just the thing to revive the video game industry after the crash of 1983.
To celebrate the launch of what many (including myself) consider the greatest video game system of all time, I asked the Co-Optimus staff to share their memories of the NES. We will then take a look at the Top 5 greatest cooperative experiences the original Nintendo had to offer.
"My earliest co-op memory (if you could call it that) was playing Super Mario Brothers, and having to take turns playing. I know it really wasn't co-op, kind of more competitive, but it enabled social gaming as your siblings and friends shouted encouragement or disdain. There were a couple of games I would play with my friend down the street where we would take turns, exchanging the controller after we had 'lost a guy'. I remember doing this with Rygar and Kung-fu, in particular."
An interesting fact about Super Mario Bros. was that it was not one of the NES launch titles. Those honors belonged to such "timeless classics" as Gyromite, Clu Clu Land, and Donkey Kong Jr. Math, the latter of which I purchased via Wiiware in a moment of inexplicable insanity. Of course, you also could buy Excitebike and Hogan's Alley on day one, so that pretty much made up for it.
"I just remember playing a lot of games like Battletoads, Double Dragon, Gauntlet, and Contra. Contra is probably my fondest memory - showing off to family and friends the 30 lives code and then proceeding to still up run out. Don't forget folks - for co-op you need to press SELECT START! ;)"
Indeed, the classic Konami code was one of the most fondly remembered things about the NES era. Another random bit of trivia: the original Double Dragon port for the NES didn't include co-op! Later titles in the series did, so you and a buddy could beat up on thugs together at the same time, thank Billy.