“Genre-defining” is not a term that should be thrown about lightly. Any game that truly defines a genre must have elements that, to date, were unique and special. Elements that made the game groundbreaking – that really stuck with players and made them excited to be playing the game.
Metroid has since become one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, with speedrun competitions still raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. But its humble beginnings were in this NES title, jam packed with exploration, frustration and… something else-ation.
Never send a man to do a robot’s job. Sometimes you have to fight robots with robots. A robot a day keeps Doc Wily away. Today’s game is Mega Man – the game that kicked off one of the greatest game franchises in history.
You’ve probably never had to program a physics engine from scratch. I mean, anyone can program a simple physics engine these days in Python, Java, or whatever, but there was a time when all that sort of programming was groundbreaking.
Lode Runner… where to begin? In this “action packed” game, you are a galactic commando, deep behind enemy lines. The evil Bungeling Empire (no, I am not making this up) have extorted a fortune in gold from the people of the galaxy with (still not making this up) excessive fast food taxes.
Ignoring the double-grey morality of robbing the government of money they earned through vice taxes, this game sucks. Despite being some sort of space commando, your only weapon is a drill pistol that can cut holes in the brick floors. These holes, however, regenerate slowly, which can kill you or the guards. And that’s the whole game.
I don’t want to waste more time on this game than it deserves. Not being able to jump in a platform game is not, I suppose, an absolute proof of poor design, but it seems to be a tell. As with Wrecking Crew, the designers realized that removing this feature could potentially leave the player unable to win a given level, and built in a failsafe that takes you right back to the level select screen simply by hitting select… instantly wiping out your score! What a great feature!
John’s Rating: 1.5 out of 5. Technically, this is a game. Technically, you can play it. I just don’t see why you would.
The Nintendo Entertainment System was, for its time, very powerful. This was a relative term, however, and the console has some limitations that, by modern standards, are absolutely suffocating. It’s little wonder, then, the variety of creative solutions employed to work around these limits and create the games that made the Nintendo the console that restored hope to the electronic games market.