Video Games That Ruled My Youth: The NES Years

Everyone has a few video games in their life that sucked away hours of their youth. Some games I couldn’t help but stay glued to the TV playing over, and over, and over again–even when I could move on to another game. I’ve had a few games in my past that lured me in and would vice grip my existence. Unfortunately, I can’t list all the games that have done that to me through my life, so I am keeping it restricted to a few games from my childhood and teenage years. I started playing video games on the Atari 2600 and Coleco ADAM, but it wasn’t until the NES came on to the scene that my video game addiction began, and carried into my teenage years. I played plenty of games in the mid 80’s, but it wasn’t until the late 80’s and the 90’s that I found my favorite time-murdering games.

Building this list was quite the challenge, and it’s the most concise list I could manage. It still resulted in a long list which is why the list will be three parts, beginning with NES games. I decided the best order would be by the year each was released instead of figuring out how much I favored one over another. It’s the best way to make my life easier, so here are the first five games the stole many hours of my childhood.

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! – 1987
Punch Out!! was given to me by my father. I never found out where he got it from, but I’m sure glad he did. He didn’t know anything about games, so I feel lucky I didn’t end up with another Bayou Billy or something. When my sister and I first played this we were glued to it. The characters are comical caricatures of stereotypes and so damn memorable. Figuring out how to take down each opponent makes Punch Out!! more of a puzzle game than one would expect, and the presentation holds up very well after all these years.

Mega Man 2 – 1989
Mega Man 2 was the first Mega Man game I ever played. It was the beginning of my long love affair with the series; I thought it was amazing. Running around, jumping, climbing, and shooting “pellets” never felt so damn good. The rental shop down the street constantly had one kid renting Mega Man 2…and that was ME! I spent so much time battling my way through this game. Figuring out which robot master to take on and what weapon to use for an advantage was so refreshing. The first robot master I fondly remember taking down with the mega buster was Wood Man. I must have been a crazy person, because Metal Man is supposed to be the first stop, right?

Super Mario Bros. 3 – 1990
I had a lot of fun with the first two Super Mario Bros. games, but it was the third one that made me a big time Mario fan. I remember playing this game multiple times. Trying to see all the levels in the game was an absolute time destroyer, months of my life are missing. I did use the warp flutes when I wanted to reach world 8 quickly, but I had to see all the different worlds and power-ups available. Eventually I wore down my cartridge to the point that it stop working. It resulted in me becoming super-frustrated and throwing the cart at the wall. Talk about rage. Man… I loved this game.

Double Dragon II: The Revenge – 1990
Double Dragon II is one of my favorite beat ’em ups, and there were plenty on the NES to choose from. There is a reason this one beat out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game and others… Hurricane kicks and super knees to the face. Every time one of those moves connected with a villain’s face, that sound effect was so cool and satisfying. Whenever a street punk flew across the screen, off a rooftop or ledge, it was a golden moment. I don’t remember if I finished this game, but I remember getting far and enjoying every minute. Double Dragon II was always in my game rotation back then.

Battletoads – 1991
One of the most difficult games I ever played in my life, repeatedly, has to be Battletoads. A game that I know I never beat, and the farthest I ever got was the Intruder Excluder level. Since I was a big fan of animation and cartoons I loved the slapstick nature of Battletoads; it kept me coming back no matter how difficult the going got. I hate to admit how much time I spent playing this, so masochistic…what was I thinking? It was still fun though, even with all the frustrating deaths.

These were the five lovely bastards that took away so much precious time from me. It didn’t end there either. Next time I will list the five games from the 16-bit era to ravage my young adolescent years. What about you?

What were some of your most precious time-murdering games on the NES?

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The Author

Rafael Berrios

Rafael Berrios

A New York native trying to make an impact. When not dealing with "norm" life, he spends his time reading comics, writing, gaming, watching movies and TV shows, and enjoys contributing to podcasts whenever the chance presents itself.