So growing up, I had many games that I would play over and over and over again. Each one shaped how I game today. I was the only one in my family that really ever got into gaming and could do it for hours on end, so some of these I borrowed from my brothers and sister, and many times, I was the first one in the family to beat them. And some I never completed because I didn’t quite understand what to do.
Pokemon – I did not play this as a kid. Why is this here? To show that my love for RPGs came from elsewhere
Mr Chin’s Gourmet Paradise – this game taught me to troll enemies and the game. The point of the game was to turn little spikey creatures called Mos into peaches and eat them. You laid down little turret things and if you aimed 2 at each other, a beam would fire and turn all Mos between them to peaches. BUT, you could use them to trap the Mos against a wall and take the time to break the blocks to look for power ups – notably the apple dumpling which gave you the ability to fly through every level.
There were also bonus rounds where you had to eat as many peaches as you could (no enemies) and, if you jumped at the right spot underneath the peach spawn pipe, you could hover in midair eating peaches nonstop.
Weirdest game I think I played.
Penguin Wars – This game was the first competitive game. Choose one of 5-6 characters and engage in a game of dodge ball/ping pong. Cute graphics with each character having a different build made this game replayable on many levels.
TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan – FIRST EXPERIENCE OF THE KONAMI CODE! COMPLETE PIZZA REFILL!
Super Marioland – First game (besides Tetris) that my family ever owned. It took me ages to get my own copy – my brother knew I liked this game and rarely let me borrow it. I think it was something of a prize possession to him I guess.
Beating this game was the hardest for me at age 6. I think I finally beat it when I was 9. I couldn’t keep the superball powerup for the life of me and jumping mechanics were never (and still aren’t) my strong suit.
Cat Trap – the puzzle game to beat all puzzle games. Still never beat the final level on this one.
Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle – oh my god, I wanted to jump so badly in this game. This game helped me get enemy movement and timing down. Hard as hell, but a lot of fun. Totally used cheat codes to get through this one. Thanks, Dial-up internet!
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – no the DX version for the GBC either. This was my first introduction to the LoZ series and the first LoZ game I ever beat (fun fact, I’ve never gotten through a LoZ without a walkthrough and have only ever completed 3 LoZ games). This game, speaking of Dial-Up internet, was the first time I looked up a walkthrough and information to get me through the game – the trade quest, right up to the end and getting through the damn egg and waking the Wind Fish.
Super Marioland 2: 6 Golden Coins – This is still one of the BEST birthday presents I’ve ever received. It was released after my birthday so I had to wait almost an entire year to get it. I STILL remember the commercials for it, Wario doing a voiceover actual gameplay. The genie hat for fireballs because they couldn’t do different colored overalls. The bunny ears which have never made a return since.
My sister and I both received this (to avoid fights) and we both dove right in. I actually went back and revisited this a couple years ago and I don’t think the concept of how hard it could get ever dawned on me. I still remembered all the levels and all the bosses, but jeez. Why would they give that to a child?
We went back and forth on who had more Golden Coins – I think she beat Pumpkin and Macro zones first, I beat Mario and Space zones first. Can’t remember who did the other 2, Turtle and Tree zones. We both got into the castle around the same time and again, timing with us. This is where it gets interesting. My sister got to Wario first, but she didn’t know it. I heard the music change and I asked what happened and she said she was fighting “this weird duck thing.” Thanks GB graphics!!
That “weird duck thing” was Wario. I hunkered down and got to him the same day…and beat him the same day. It made me determined to beat the game first and is probably the fastest any of us ever finished a GB game back in the day.
Donkey Kong Land – Who knew there were so many different shades of gray and black that could hide enemies. Love the game, died a lot. Never beat any of the three of them.
Kirby’s Dreamland – Just because it’s still a favorite of mine that I can speed run.
Turrican – obscure game. Taught me the importance of recognizing different power ups and choosing the right one for different situations. Never beat this game as it made less and less sense the longer I played.
Cosmo Tank – I gave up on this one. I still don’t get it. It came with my sister’s purchase of yard sale Gameboy and if this was their frame of reference for how the system operated and what games were available, no wonder they sold it.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – Like Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle, CHEAT CODES. I still remember at least one of the level codes: DLT3QYBY. Gets you to the second level (though the first level isn’t really that hard to get through). This was another game that took perseverance to get through and beat. I did beat this game, but I did the levels out of order and used the trusty dial-up internet for help when I needed it. I swear, internet was made for gamers to get through games. I had all the level codes and would go through and play each level over and over until I beat it. None of my friends at school (mainly because I had very few friends to begin with) had a Gameboy or were as into games as me so my only sources of ideas and tips were my family – and they were pretty much useless.
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters – Quite possibly my favorite game from my childhood. This was an incredibly tough game – to the point where I often wonder why they would give it to a child. The amount of work you had to put in to get every single power upgrade and health upgrade still astounds me. The areas were never that intuitive and the dungeons were even worse. Dangers could pop up from the floor or see you and summon more enemies for you. Dungeons were even worse where the entire room wouldn’t fit on one screen and you could get smacked in the head with a slime if you didn’t know what to expect. Boss battles involved being able to tank necessary damage and you needed to be prepared.
It was my brother’s game and the furthest he ever got was the second dungeon, but he couldn’t get past the bat skull. I was the only one in my family to play and beat this game. Wearing the three legendary treasures and defeating Orcos was probably the hardest thing I did as a kid.
These games really helped shape me as a gamer – they gave me a variety of mechanics and genres and set me up to always try any game once. I have a 3DS XL and I did buy the ones I could on the Virtual Console and I do go back and play them sometimes. But since there are no trophies and they aren’t Sony games, they don’t get as much replay as they probably should.