Brain Rot: Nostalgic Memories of the NES


/ / / /


  1. Greatest accomplishment of my life (to date):
    – Broke my arm, had to stay home from school for a few weeks.
    – Taught myself to use my non-dominant hand to play Nintendo by putting the controller on the floor, and using my fingers like a spider to operate all controls simultaneously.
    – Beat Donkey Kong Jr., single-handedly.

    1. That’s especially amazing since you’d have to either use your pinky and ring finger on the D-pad, or else invert the controller and get used to a flipped d-pad. Now I want to see a youtube video of someone playing a two player game well with one hand on each controller.

      1. If I recall correctly, I used my pinky on the d-pad, and used the technique of sliding around on the d-pad, rather than using discrete presses. Thumb and index finger operated A and B, and ring and middle took care of select and start, not that they were needed much.

    2. My neighbor had the same thing happen.  After about two weeks, he was better playing games with one hand than he ever was with two.

  2. I always dreaded when I got far in a game, and the graphics started to corrupt. You knew it was just a matter of time before the game froze, and your progress was lost.

    1. That’s why I never finished Zelda II — me and my dad made it to the last castle, but kept dying. On the third play session trying to go at it, we decided to give up; and that’s when my dad hit the power button without the magic RESET handshake.

      Oh hai, reset savegame.

  3. *sigh* I remember my parents deciding that it was more important that I learn to play the piano when I was 5 then video games.

    I don’t know anyone who plays the piano now.

    1. That’s a shame. Years of blowing the “dust” off the NES cartridges could’ve made you into a formidable harmonica player.

    2. I love video games; but if I could trade in a childhood’s worth of video game memories for the ability to play the Piano, I probably would.

      The grass is always greener ay?

  4. I used to do hand-written maps for friends.  I also spent an inordinate amount of time on Nintendo’s 800 number as a kid, and would post a sheet of weekly cheat codes up at the local convenience store.

  5. Remember playing duckhunt and holding the gun right up against the screen so it was impossible to miss? Wipe that stupid smile of that giggling mutt’s face.

    1. I don’t think i’ll ever forget that code. i can even hear the sound it makes when changing the numbers while entering lol!

  6. Wow, I feel so old having had to make do with an Intellivision system. Yes, Intellivision, the game console promoted by George Plimpton, as part of the video game makers’ intense desire to hit that all-important game-playing Paris Review reader demographic.

  7. I was the kid with the Final Fantasy copy of Nintendo Power so we were always getting calls like “quick, how do I defeat those slimes?” or “what’s Tiamat weak against?!?!”  To this day I’ll never forget the final fight in the first FF: I had one guy left standing, my black mage, and with only 17 hit points left he delivered the final *thwap* to win the game.

    Oh, and I totally rocked Battletoads.

    1. Battletoads… bleh, you could barely even see the graphics in that game!

      Final Fight for the Super Nintendo, on the other hand… :)

      1. SUPER Nintendo?!  Bah, luxury!  Back in my day, we had 8 bits and that was the way we liked it!

  8. Could never finish the original Castlevania. Could never finish it! COULD NEVER FINISH IT!!!!!!!! There I am on the final stage, fighting Dracula (or whatever name he had) hitting him in the head with my whip – over and over and over – and could never kill him before being killed by him or whatever else there was in the room trying to kill me. I have thought several times about trying to rustle up a working NES and teh cartridge and seeing if, more than twenty years later, my luck will have changed.

    1. When I finaly got to dracula at the end I called all my friend to watch me attempt it. I got it on the last life with a single sliver of life left. :)

    2. 1. I got Castlevania when I was 6.
      2. I finished it for the first time when I was 21. It was an epic moment in my life.
      3. I can now finish it every time without even breaking a sweat (just use holy water for every boss).
      4. Castlevania (together with Mega Man 2 & 3) still has the best music of any NES game.
      5. They sure don´t make them like they used to. Those kids today have it easy.

  9. This was bothering me as recently as last month, so I looked up a “Defeat Castlevania” video on YouTube.  Turns out, Holy Water is a pretty great weapon against The Count, no joke.  Who knew?

  10. @google-8d06c4c7853c0dc9bb44490f72af3884:disqus  Emulate that shit, son! I played CASTLEVANIA again after 25 years and rocked that old fucker in slo-mo. I feel like the world’s greatest person. My personal highlights: Bombing some random floor in Brinstar and seeing the floor disappear. There was a whole world down there. Mind = Blown. Also: Beating Kid Icarus–holy shit is this game HARD. 

  11. I remember having an after market joystick.  Thing broke after a few months, and I was super proud of being able to fix it by replacing a spring.

  12. I seem to recall Lifeforce allowing you to steal your partners lives as well.  There was a code that got you thirty lives, and when yours were gone, you could take player B’s.

    Good times!

  13. Being witty enough to use dragon form to kill that metal babble in Dragon Warrior III (my favorite DW of all time).  The splendor of hearing that level up sound over and over again after reaping the ungodly amount of experience received for killing one.
    So-and-So gains a level!
    So-and-So gains a level!
    So-and-So gains a level!
    So-and-So gains a level!
    So-and-So gains a level!
    So-and-So gains a level!
    So-and-So gains a level!
    So-and-So gains a level!

  14. It’s amusing now to recall how worried we young parents were over your addictions to such games. Reading the comments it’s clear how nicely you all, um, matured?

    1. There is a pretty good book out called “Everything Bad is Good Again” which challenges a lot of common conceptions about media and games, such as, “TV is only about the lowest common denominator now-a-days”, “video games rot your brain/make you antisocial”, etc. The author is a bit more speculative than I would be, but he uses a lot of good data to support his hypothesis.

      Personally, I think video games have made me better at a lot of tasks that are important for my life. Not to say that there weren’t a few occasions where I would have been better served by a book or playing outside (things I did regularly also), but all-in-all, video games have been a net positive to my life.

  15. I didn’t have an NES (had an Atari 2600 and later a SNES) but I did have that My Pet Monster stuffed animal. Think I still have it somewhere actually.

  16. I was about four years too old.  :^(  Had a 2600, and I once spent ages drawing a complete map of Pitfall.  Then I tried linking the tunnels and my head hurt too much at the mess of connecting arrows on the pages.

    Buddy of mine had an Odyssey 2.  The colors on that were quite vivid if limited in their palette (16 colors in total, but they were the right 16 colors… remember the crappy earth tones and soiled-diaper hues of the post-game screens on the 2600’s Combat?), but the games kinda blew.  I’ve never seen another one since then.  1982ish, this was.

  17. I remember that TMNT II for the NES had tons of Pizza Hut product placement in-game. And that the cartridge came with a coupon for a free personal pan pizza.

  18. * I remember one Friday night I was trying and trying to beat Mike Tyson and he just kept pounding and pounding me into dust. With determination, I got up early Saturday morning and beat him on the first try. Then I watched cartoons. But that taught me a life skill — always step away from what you’re doing if you have trouble… programming, music, writing, whatever.

    * Slogging through the NES Ninja Gaiden, getting to the final boss and thinking how in the hell am I going to beat this guy? (Okay, I didn’t use “hell”, my mom would’ve made me get a switch from the tree) In a literal leap of faith, I jumped off the ledge towards the boss (he was a dragon or something?) and used the one spinning blade powerup I had saved. I fell through his body spinning like a ninja yo-yo; that poor boss didn’t have a chance.

    * Playing through NES Metal Gear, beating Big Boss and awaiting my ending payoff. Snake ascends an elevator and…. the game freezes. Wait, what? No…no….nooooooooooooooooo!!  Okay, so I went back and beat back the boss again.  Again…elevator….and freeze. Tried to return the game and couldn’t. Now through the magic of YouTube, I can see that the ending was not worth all that childhood frustration.

  19. Finished Contra on a single life. Not coincidentally, flunked out of college soon after. I REGRET NOTHING

    1. Dude, im surprised to see someone else can do it too! Ive won so many on the spot bets beating contra in one life/no 30 man code!

  20. I didn’t own a console between the original Pong (which I won for the most new subscriptions to my paper route) until I got a PS2 Slim, thirty years later.

    I swear, you kids.

  21. About ten years ago, my friend discovered his old Famicom (Jap NES) in the attic, with a bagful of games. All still in working order – except we couldn’t get the NTSC machine to show up on a PAL tv screen. No matter, turned out we could clear level 1 in Contra without visuals (using the Konami code, but still..).

  22. total recall… that god damned drill that just killed you without warning or any hint as to how to kill it which sent you right back to the hardest part of the game, the taxi driving… DAMN YOU ARNOLD!

  23. One Monday morning in grade 5, my friends were discussing a party that had happened over the weekend which I had not attended.  Turns out it was my friend’s 10th birthday party.  “Why hadn’t I been invited?  Why was it kept from me?”, I wondered, anxiously.  My friend’s sister later told me I wasn’t invited because I swore too much while playing Nintendo games.  If a shitty-ass birthday party couldn’t handle my bitchin’ NES skills, then fuck ’em.

  24. I remember buying some goofy aftermarket controller similar to the golden tee rolly-ball with two giant buttons for A and B. In my 9 yr. old mind I thought it was the secret to finally showing Marble Madness who was boss. Let it be noted… I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

  25. The first square of Janie crying, coupled with the caption, is haunting to the extreme.
    Here I am, fourth child of a forty-eight year marriage, till death did ’em part, and for some reason the image hits me where it hurts.

    Anyway, anybody here ever played the Goonies adventure?  While in college in a city where my sister and her family also lived, I used to go to their house to play Goonies on my nephew’s NES.  Then one Christmas my nephew got Zelda, and I never got a chance to touch that system again!  Damned Link…

Comments are closed.