Browse By

Category Archives: NES

The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection Made Us Wonder What Bowser Smells Like

It’s hard not to be curious about the lives of your favorite video game characters. What do they do when they’re not off fighting monsters or saving the world? While old video game instruction manuals provided the occasional morsel, one of the most interesting tidbits we’ve discovered came from a little-remembered piece of merchandise: The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection. Released in Japan in 2014, the collection consisted of four scents that represented four of Nintendo’s most famous characters: Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser. Most of the scents featured in the collection weren’t too surprising. The Luigi cologne had a manly musk scent, and, to the shock of no one, the Peach fragranced smelled like peaches. Mario and Bowser are where things get interesting.…
Disney Afternoon Collection

Capcom’s Disney Afternoon Collection Is a Nostalgia Overload

Nowadays, a new licensed video game is typically met with eye rolls and groans. But there was a time — an oh-so-wonderful time — when Disney’s licensed video game lineup was legendary. From the incredible, Mega Man-like DuckTales to Darkwing Duck, the Disney games for NES were almost all pure gold. It seemed the teaming up of Capcom and Disney had uncorked some sort of genie’s lamp of inexplicably awesome video games. Well, Capcom has announced that it’s bringing back six of its NES classics in The Disney Afternoon Collection for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. For a complete list of games, check out the list below. Included games: DuckTales DuckTales 2 Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 TaleSpin Darkwing Duck On top of these games, Capcom also promises new features, like Boss Rush and Time Attack modes, A Braid-like rewind mechanic, and full 1080p support.…
Mega Man 2 Box Art

Mega Man 2’s Box Art Explained by Artist Marc Ericksen

Like many Mega Man fans out there, we at Retrvolve have always been fascinated by the American box art for Mega Man and Mega Man 2. (In the 23rd episode of the Half-Glass Gaming podcast, we spend a bit of time pondering the mysteries of such art.) An an interview conducted by NintendoAge at the 2012 Portland Retro Gaming Expo (and archived by Rockman Corner), Marc Ericksen, the artist behind the Mega Man 2 cover, explains how it came to be: What happened was I had to go down to Capcom and do a game they just got in from Japan. They had a beta version; they were in a hurry to get this thing out. So I went down there.…
mike tysons punch out easter egg

This Punch-Out!! Easter Egg Stayed Hidden for 29 Years

In the 80s, video game Easter Eggs felt like elusive treasures. Although you could occasionally stumble across a secret in the pages of a video game magazine, most gamers had to uncover mysteries on their own. Many now-famous Easter Eggs were the stuff of legend — or playground gossip — for years. Nowadays, it sometimes feels like that magic has been lost. Secrets spread like wildfire the second a game hits shelves. Cheats, dialogues, and even endings can leak long before a game is officially released. But every now and then, someone manages to prove that there are still a few treasures buried away. In April 2016, nearly 20 years after the game’s 1987 release, Reddit user midwesternhousewives stumbled upon a Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!…
Einstein Shadowgate

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Castle Shadowgate

1. Share and share alike. You share it, I like it. 2. Play dirty. Do not pay the troll a single gold coin. 3. Don’t hit yourself, or set yourself on fire, or hit yourself with the hammer, or jump out windows. 4. Put all the items you’ve “found” in your limitless inventory. 5. Clean up nothing. Break the mirror. Do not pass go. It was like this when you got here. 6. Take everything that isn’t nailed down, except the book in the hallway. And if you can’t take it, torch it. 7. Please apologize if you’ve inadvertently hurt and/or killed any person and/or magical creature that is not related to the completion of your quest. 8. Wash your hands after you’ve sent Cerberus back to the depths of hell.…
Zelda Toys

The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary – Celebrate with Us

February 21, 2016, marks the 30-year anniversary of the Japanese release of The Legend of Zelda. We here at Retrovolve are longtime fans of the franchise, and we wanted to find a fitting way to celebrate such a milestone with our staff and readers. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Zelda-related things we’ve published and we thought it’d be fun to share those. You’ll find them below in no particular order. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Is a Beautiful, Profound Masterpiece Josh Wirtanen explains why he thinks The Wind Waker is one of the best video games ever made, looking at the art, story, and emotional impact of the game. Read it here. A Link to the Past and the Mystery of Link’s Missing Pants Mandi Odoerfer explores the instruction manual art of the Zelda series to get to the bottom of a strange mystery: Where are Link’s pants?…
Super Mario Bros 2

5 Reasons Super Mario Bros. 2 Was Better Than Super Mario Bros. 3

I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but I actually consider Super Mario Bros. 2 to be superior to Super Mario Bros. 3. How could I enjoy Super Mario Bros. 2, the much-maligned re-skin of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, more than Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the most beloved video games of all time? Well, here are five reasons: 5. Freedom of Choice Super Mario Bros., as a series, has not exactly been known for having a plethora of character choices. Yet when Super Mario Bros. 2 came around, it proved that you could make character choice a genuine part of level planning. Who doesn’t remember using Toad for the desert levels, because Toad could pick up things and dig faster?…
Stadium Events

A Copy of Stadium Events for NES Sold For $35,100 on eBay

In January of 2015, a complete, sealed-in-box copy of the über-rare Stadium Events cartridge for the NES was fast approaching $100k in an eBay bidding war. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “That is ridiculous!” Even for a game as rare as this one — it’s believed to have had only 2,000 copies printed in total, of which a mere 200 were made available to stores for sale — that still seems like an exorbitant amount of cash. And of course it was. As is the case with eBay auctions like this one, there were some fraudulent bids tossed in with the real ones to muck things up. Even so, at the closing of the auction (on January 15, 2015), Stadium Events actually fetched a still-impressive $35,100, with other copies previously selling for as much as $44,000.…
little samson nes

Cocoron and Little Samson: Mega Man’s Secret Siblings

When people mention Mega Man, they often bring up Keiji Inafune as well. It’s easy to see why; Inafune worked on the series from the first game onward, and was the character’s biggest advocate in the years that followed. Fans frequently refer to him as the “father of Mega Man.” But like most successful creations, Mega Man has many fathers. One of them is Akira Kitamura, who directed the first two Mega Man titles and came up with the character’s initial design. Kitamura opted to leave Capcom before development began on Mega Man 3, citing a desire for more creative freedom. He and another ex-Capcom employee, Shinichi Yoshimoto, co-founded a small company Takeru. Shortly after, they began work on their first Famicom title: Cocoron.…
Bad Box Art Mega Man

An Illustrated History of Mega Man Box Art

In March of 2012, Capcom launched Street Fighter X Tekken, a fighting game that pitted Capcom’s own Street Fighter characters against Namco Bandai’s Tekken characters. To top it off, Pac-Man joined the battle to represent Namco’s greater universe, and Mega Man showed up to support Capcom. But it wasn’t the classic Mega Man we all knew and loved; it was this guy: This character was officially dubbed “Bad Box Art Mega Man” and was a reference to the cover art for the original Mega Man game. Yes, on the original box art, Mega Man dressed in yellow and carried a pistol instead of having a blaster built into his arm. One must wonder, had the person who created this ever actually played Mega Man?…
Super Mario Bros Box Art

Mario Throws Fireballs; He Doesn’t Spit Them

In the early days of the NES, game designers had very few pixels to work with when creating character animations, so there are several instances where some of the minutia was simply lost in translation. For example, in the Super Mario Bros. series, there was a general assumption that Mario breaks bricks with his head (when he actually uses his fist). Another misconception from the same game is that Mario spits fireballs (instead of throwing them with his hand). While there is a surprising amount of people who hold this belief (here’s a GameFAQ forum post where people discuss this), it’s simply untrue. Here’s where the confusion undoubtedly first began: This is Mario throwing a fireball in the original Super Mario Bros.…
Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda

Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda Details Zelda’s Translation History

Although the original Legend of Zelda was a hit with gamers in the west, its localization left something to be desired. From its indecipherable clues (“10th Enemy has the bomb”) to the misspelling of Ganon’s name in the intro, it’s clear that something was lost in the translation process. Thanks to the efforts of Clyde Mandelin, Zelda fans will finally get a peek into that process. See, Mandelin keeps tabs on video game localization (as a translation/localization expert himself with an impressive resume) and shares the details on his website Legends of Localization. (Mandelin also worked on the Mother 3 fan translation, which we here at Retrovolve are huge fans of.) The website is about to become a book series, with Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda out in December.…
Super Mario Bros

The Mysterious Launch Date of Super Mario Bros. for NES

The original Super Mario Bros. dramatically shaped the gaming experience of my childhood, informing my personal ideal of what a video game should be. I imagine this is true for countless other tykes of the 1980s, and the Mario franchise is probably still influencing today’s kids as well — just in more of a cat-suit-power-up kind of way. My brother and I spent an absurd amount of time playing Super Mario Bros. as kids, competing to see who the true master was. Since I was the younger of the two, I was relegated to Luigi, endearing me to that string-bean paisano (though really, Luigi hadn’t developed into more than just a color-swapped version of Mario by that point). I can even recall the game cartridge that it shared with Duck Hunt; the label split diagonally down the middle as if to suggest that this inferior game (in my opinion) even deserved such equality in billing.…
Nintendo Entertainment System

This 1985 NES Ad Is a Nostalgia Overload

1985 was a great year for super-geeks, wasn’t it? Sure, it may have been an exceptionally cold year for a large part of the United States, but it was also year Back to the Future was initially set in, as well as the year Billy Dee Williams (Mr. Lando Calrissian himself) was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was also the year this beauty aired: Yes, in 1985 — more than two whole years after the Famicom released in Japan — the NES finally made it to American shores. You probably noticed that the advertised NES bundle includes which was compatible with a whopping two games (until 8-Bit X-Mas 2014 was released, bringing the total to three).…
Color a Dinosaur

The Curious Case of Color a Dinosaur

In 1992, Nintendo released Mario Paint, an art studio for the Super Nintendo. With a click of the game’s included mouse, players could draw intricate images, create custom stamps, and even animate their own cartoons. The title even included a music generator, which is used to compose tunes to this day. One year later, Virgin Games published a NES game called “Color a Dinosaur”. While Color a Dinosaur didn’t boast an elaborate tool set, it did allow users to color pictures of dinosaurs. The game was aimed at children between the ages of three and six — kids too young for the kind of sophisticated features other art programs offered. Unfortunately, those easily-confused children would’ve been better off with a coloring book.…
Mario Graph Paper

Super Mario Bros. Levels Were Originally Sketched Out on Graph Paper

Nintendo’s prerecorded “Digital Event” at E3 2015 was a weird mix of puppetry, announcements for games that were sort of like games we wanted but not really, and the charming smiles of the always brilliant Shigeru Miyamoto. Wait, puppets? Yes, I didn’t intend for the word puppetry to be some weird, confusing metaphor; there were really puppets created by Jim Henson’s Creature Studio as a big part of the show. One of the smaller tidbits of information to drop during the presentation was a bit of insight into the process of creating 8-bit Super Mario Bros. courses (or levels), straight from Miyamoto and his good pal (and long-time designer and producer at the “House of N”) Takashi Tezuka. “Back in the day,” said Tezuka, “we had to create everything by hand.…

Werewolf The Last Warrior, The Greatest Game Of Our Time

This is a spotlight that is far overdue, especially for all fans of The Tim And Andy Show. Today I took a honored look at one of th– no The greatest game of all time: Werewolf The Last Warrior, on the NES. Combining precision controls, fluid animations, fair challenge, and an operatic storyline worthy of a series of Hollywood movies, Werewolf The Last Warrior is one of those games synonymous with the beloved NES. Watch the video below to relive your childhood and rekindle the magic that is Werewolf:…

The Battle of Olympus Video Review

I took a little glance over one of my favorite action-adventure games from the 8-bit era, The Battle Of Olympus for the NES. It’s a bit of a Zelda 2 clone, but unlike Rambo, this one is very well done and charming. Check out the video review below, and don’t forget to stay classic.…

Tecmo Super Bowl Playoffs ’15: Wild Card Weekend (Day 1)

The NFL kicks off their annual postseason playoffs today, but we all know that football is so much better in 8-bits. That’s why we’re simulating this year’s games in what Tim and I determined to be the greatest title ever produced for the NES. For this simulation, we will be using the modified version of the game developed by TecmoBowl.org that features updated rosters and modern offensive and defensive schemes. Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) Cam Newton and the Panthers jump out to a quick lead;  making their way down field and capping off the drive with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jericho Cotchery. 7-0 Panthers. The Arizona Cardinals appeared to be on their way to a quick tying score after a huge 50-yard kickoff return by Ted Ginn and a Kerwynn Williams dash to Pittsburgh 10-yard line, but quarterback Ryan Lindley threw an interception in the end zone as the first quarter comes to a close.…
Super Mario Bros. 2

Mass Media Weighs in on the NES in 1988, and It’s About as Hilarious as You’d Expect

Back in 1988, parents just could not wrap their mind around the video game craze. This would continue to be the case into the SNES era, but for now I want to draw your attention to one particularly ambitious piece of television journalism about the NES. This comes from a segment of the current events news program 20/20 called “Nuts for Nintendo,” which aired on ABC back in 1988. One of the more interesting tidbits is the fact that Super Mario Bros. 2 and Adventure of Link are the two games that people are going absolutely bonkers over at the beginning of this segment. In retrospect, both the Mario and Zelda franchises are still beloved to this day, but the games mentioned here are almost certainly the worst regarded entries of their respective series for the entire NES era.…
Kid Icarus

Kid Icarus for NES: Breaking Down the Flaws

I’m glad I never played Kid Icarus on the NES as a child. If I had, I probably would’ve grown frustrated immediately, and I would’ve felt like an absolute failure. No need for that when you’re but a small kid just barely getting into the coolest form of entertainment. But I’ve been around for 27 years, playing everything from great retro classics to absolutely repulsive old school titles. Kid Icarus falls somewhere in between. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things to appreciate about the game. For starters, the Greek mythological setting and characters are a fine choice, especially given the time period of the game’s release. There’s also this constant sense of evil in the game. Mythology doesn’t mess around, and Kid Icarus is good at presenting an 8-bit theme and characters that are actually kind of spooky, even if they are totally cartoony.…
Nintendo Cereal System

Nintendo Cereal System: Link and Mario-Themed Cereal Might Have Been Delicious

Back in 1988, a glorious thing happened in the world of transmedia promotion: Two of Nintendo’s most beloved characters were given their own cereal. It was called Nintendo Cereal System, and I can remember the television commercial vividly. The neat thing about Nintendo Cereal System was that it contained not one but two types of cereal inside. Instead of a single bag, each box had two separate air-sealed bags of sugar-filled goodness. One was Mario-themed; the other was Link-themed. As an eight-year-old kid, I thought this was the most wonderful thing to ever happen in the world of breakfast. My parents, however, didn’t agree, and the only time I was ever given a chance to try it was at a friend’s house once when I spent the night.…

It’s a Good Thing Transformers Wasn’t on NES

Transformers was one of those pop culture phenomenons that seemed like a no-brainer candidate for a video game adaption. This is was especially true during the height of its popularity, before Michael Bay made it stupid and ruined it forever. Yet, there never was an NES Transformers game. Or was there? Yes, there was a game produced for the 8-bit machine, but it was left in Japan like so many fantastic games.  In this case, however, it’s a broken abomination that deserves to be forgotten. I took a stab at it and still haven’t managed to drink it out of my system.…

Sunman Is the Superman Game That Never Was

Sunman was a game developed for the NES by Sunsoft, and was originally intended to be a Superman game. Similar to Journey To Silius, however, they lost the rights to the property during development. Sunsoft attempted to remove the trademarked elements and make a game out of it, and nearly did, but ultimately decided not to release it. In fact, this game has the distinction of being one of the few NES titles to never see any kind of pre-release advertising. Its existence was finally discovered years after the NES bit the dust by retro enthusiasts. I tracked down a copy of the game and gave it a try here in this video:…

Journey to Silius Left Its Mark on Me

Journey to Silius is a strange case. Good, but strange. Originally intended to be a game based on the film The Terminator, developer Sunsoft lost the rights before the game was completed. Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water, they decided to salvage what they had and make a standalone title. This resulted in a game without movie-licensed graphics or music and a story gone from one of future technological uprising to one of a world torn asunder by nuclear war. As a kid I really dug this game, especially for its kick ass soundtrack; a staple of Sunsoft’s releases in the eight and 16-bit eras. However, my lack of skill in video games was just as bad as a kid as it is as an adult and Silius isn’t the easiest cartridge in the bin.…

Tim and Andy Count Down the Top Ten NES Games

In the newest edition of Sunday, er, Monday Sermons, Tim joins Andy to piece together a list of their top ten favorite games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. There is one game that we can guarantee has never been included on any other similar list. Which one is it? Listen and find out! Results: 10. Werewolf: The Last Warrior 9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom 8. Monster In My Pocket 7. Star Trek: 25th Anniversary 6. Vice: Project Doom 5. Faria: A World of Mystery and Danger 4. Kickle Cubicle 3. Tecmo Super Bowl 2. Maniac Mansion 1. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!…
turtles NES

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Defines “Nintendo Hard”

When I was young, one of my favorite games was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES. I recall it being difficult; nail-bittingly, skin-peelingly difficult. The swimming stage, which required you to swim through a maze of electrified water and defuse bombs, caused me to lose at least one turtle no matter how careful I was. But I’m an adult now. These days, I play games like Super Meat Boy and Shovel Knight, which pride themselves on being retro throwbacks. I play games that strive to be “Nintendo Hard.” Plus, my hand-eye coordination is much better than it was when I was a child. I’m even a professional wrestler, which means I’ve trained to react physically before my mind can fully process what I’m seeing.…

Video Review: Donkey Kong

Andy makes bad jokes and gets mad about broken arcade machines. He also discusses Nintendo’s port of the arcade classic Donkey Kong for the Nintendo Entertainment System.…
Mega Man 3

Mega Man Boss Orders Make for Mediocre Punk Rock Lyrics

When I was a teenager, I was in a band called The Accidents. We played the sort of punk rock that was edgy and chaotic, yet we possessed enough pop sensibilities that we could have called most of our tunes catchy. It wasn’t the best band I’ve ever been in, but I certainly don’t regret the time I spent playing four-chord punk songs in friends’ garages. Our songwriting process wasn’t all that refined, and my lyrical abilities hadn’t quite sprouted yet. With less than two decades of life experience to draw upon, my well of inspiration wasn’t all that deep. Finding words was hard. One afternoon, we were piecing together a new song. It was satisfactorily rough around the edges for what we were aiming for, and we were pretty excited to put some words to it and make it an official part of our repertoire.…
Contra

The Contra Code: Konami’s “One Size Fits All” Approach to Cheat Codes

The Contra code is ingrained into the brains of every gamer who grew up in the 80s. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. 30 lives. I can recite that shit in my sleep, yo. I’ve heard several variations of it through the years. Some of my schoolyard friends would hit the B, A part twice; some would hit Select before hitting Start. It seemed like all of these variations still somehow worked. Now, I acknowledge that I’m not being completely fair in my use of the terminology here. See, the phrase “Contra Code” is kind of a misnomer. More accurately, this was called the Konami Code, since Konami used it in a whole slew of games since the NES era.…
The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection Made Us Wonder What Bowser Smells Like
The Minds Behind the Games
Retrovolve Reviews Books: The Minds Behind the Games by Patrick Hickey, Jr.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
The 3D Platformer: How 1996 Witnessed the Birth of a Genre
Pokemon Nintendo Power
Nintendo Power Predicted a “Pokémon Trade War” in 1998