"The Nintendo Entertainment System was my first video game system, one that I shared with my brother. My father bought it for us several years after the family split, knowing that my mother did not explicitly support our growing video game enthusiasm (developed by playing at friends' houses).
For the most part we were still attached to outdoor activities like riding bicycles, swimming at the community pool, playing baseball, and walking to the corner store for a Coke. But our evenings generally consisted of falling asleep to The Howard Stern Show and reruns of The Jeffersons. If we were especially jittery, our attention would turn to the trusty NES and a small library of two-player games.
Southern New Jersey being the farm land that it is, you can expect to see a lot of "farmer's markets". Back in the late 1980's, that was the place to find hundreds of cheap NES games and audio cassette tapes. We procured most of our classic favorites - like Jackal, Blades of Steel, Double Dragon II, Baseball, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project - in barns converted to flea market booths.
I still have our NES, and both controllers, and both NES Zappers, and most of the games that we enjoyed as kids. All it takes is a can of compressed air to get the dust out, and a hard slap on the top - near the back - to get it booted."
Jim wasn't the only staff member who recalled the miraculous healing power of blowing on the cartridge or the loading slot. Anytime a game didn't work right, that was the first thing to try. I suppose it was the 80s precursor to wrapping a red-ringed Xbox 360 in a towel.
"I grew up in Blighty were we shunned the NES in favour of the far superior ZX Spectrum - now that was a computer."
Goofy European! I actually had to look up what "Blighty" meant. Sam is referring to his native Great Britain. As he points out, Nintendo's console wasn't the market dominator in Europe that it was in North America and Japan (where it was known as the Famicom). The ZX Spectrum was one of the earliest home computers in Europe, which may have been one reason why the NES never caught on there. Sega's Master System, an also-ran here in the United States, was also quite popular in "Blighty".
My own recollections of the Nintendo Entertainment system have been covered in Co-Op Classics before, but I will share a few memories. I remember playing Top Gun and Castlevania at a friend's house in 1987, and asking for an NES for Christmas. Unfortunately, we got an Atari 2600 Jr. instead. It wasn't until the summer of 1989 that we finally got one. My favorite titles were Final Fantasy, Metroid, Dragon Warrior, and of course, Contra. Though I have a copy of every other Nintendo console in my collection, and most of the handhelds, my original NES is long gone. With all this nostalgia about the system running through my brain right now, I'm sure it won't be long before I manage to track one down at the right price.
Without further delay, we present Co-Optimus' Official Top 5 Co-Op Games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Since this is an editorial, the list is entirely based on my own opinions. Are we forgetting your favorite? Do I have the order all wrong? Let us know!