It's not a stretch to say for that guys (and some girls) of a certain age, most of our waking hours between about 1987 and 1991 were spent glued to a Nintendo in our bedrooms. I know that for me, I'd come home after a long day in junior high school, crank up the Sex Pistols and play Tetris, Metroid or Super Mario Brothers until those games worked their way into the plots of my dreams that night.
And this is probably the part of the blog in which you'll either click elsewhere or read on with retro enthusiasm. Because this weekend, I stumbled upon a Nintendo emulator for my MacBook. I found about every game every created for the console and started downloading in earnest.
Tonight, I loaded up these old favorites: Super Mario Brothers, RBI Baseball, Contra, Rush n' Attack and Excitebike. The weirdest part is that I remembered how to play these games almost 20 years after I bought the cartridges.
I came halfway to winning Super Mario Brothers on my second try, and it's not even "muscle memory," since a laptop keyboard feels nothing like an old keypad. Somehow, I remembered the "warp" tricks. It came flooding back quickly. I was 14 again. I've gotta say, it felt great.
This time around, I only played each game for a few minutes. While they can't compete with today's technology, it's astounding to see what frugal programmers did with these eight-bit titles. Contra, for example, is about 132k. That's about five words of dialogue in Grand Theft Auto.
Maybe if I could somehow find a USB Nintendo controller, I'd download the rest of the games I spent so many afternoons trying to master. Next up, however, is trying out emulators of Intellivision, Commodore 64 and Sega Genesis. We'll see if memory is as sharp on those platforms, too.
It's most-likely not legal to download these games, even if you already paid for them once 20 years ago. Nintendo has shut down game-sharing sites in the past. That being said, there are also emulators for Super Nintendo, the Sega systems, and many Arcade games (search for MAME).
Get a Wii. Yeah you have to pay for the games again (Only $5 for orig. Nintendo games) and the selection isn't the hugest (more games added every month), but the Wii remembers where you left off if you want to stop playing.
Just go to Best Buy and pickup a cheap $20 USB controller. It's worth it.
legal | Feb. 10, 2008 at 5:12 p.m. (report)
Not a thief (and it's "I" before "E"). If he paid for the titles the first time around, then downloading them again isn't piracy. Anyway, chill out. I don't think the makers of videogames produced in 1987 are clamoring to recoup royalties.
5 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published April 6, 2015
Something weird happened to me around the beginning August last year: I started wanting the Brewers season to be over.
Published April 3, 2015
Here are seven recent Brewers pitchers that I would love to get back. Even if these weren't necessarily the best players, they each brought something special to the crew.
Published April 2, 2015
In a time when Zappos and Amazon and brick-and-mortar sporting good chains have cemented their spot as go-to places for running shoes and apparel, you might not think that starting a local running store would be a sound business idea. Don't tell that to Jessica and Trae Hoepner, the owners of Performance Running Outfitters, a business that started with one humble store and expanded to three, with a fourth in the works.
Published March 19, 2015
My 18th annual Brewers Spring Training trip is now complete, and I'm back in chilly Milwaukee, which actually feels a little better after a few days under the beating hot sun of the desert. This trip was a good one. A really good one. New experiences, old friends and lots and lots of baseball. But you probably know about all that if you read my blog entries this week.
Published March 18, 2015
When I left off yesterday, I was feeling tan, rested and ready for baseball, and we made the 30-minute drive from Talking Stick Resort to Peoria Stadium a little before noon. Brewers fans were out in force for the game against the Padres. St. Patty's Day revelry was in full effect.
Published March 17, 2015
I've said this before, but sometimes Spring Training feels a lot like the movie "Groundhog Day." Events, games and trips tend to run together, because with only a few variations, you're basically doing the same thing every day (and of course, that's a very good thing). But yesterday, we did something that we've only done one other time in 18 years: we didn't go to a Brewers game.
Published March 16, 2015
When you've been awake for 24 consecutive hours, due to an early flight, a time change and the excitement of an 18th consecutive Spring Training trip to Arizona, it's understandable to make a few bad decisions. Fortunately, the only one I regret is that humungous carne asada burrito from Filiberto's at 2 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, before collapsing into a few hours of sleep at the Talking Stick Resort here in Scottsdale.
Published March 10, 2015
Every year - since 1998 - I've made the trip to Arizona to watch the Brewers get ready for a long, long season of baseball. It's my favorite work/fun trip (edging out even Las Vegas) that I get to take, but with all the fun and sun in the desert, it's surprisingly easy to forget to pay attention to the baseball on the field.
Published March 9, 2015
Mequon native Tom Wachs knew he wanted to be a meteorologist a young age. After working in several smaller markets, he returned to his home last year, and even in a tough, demanding job, he's loving every minute of it. We caught up with Wachs to talk tornados, technology, and what it was like to dress up as a clown at his last job.
Published March 4, 2015
When Brewers fans talk to me about Spring Training, I always see the same look in their eyes. "I've always wanted to do that," they say wistfully, like Arizona exists in some far-away land, where you sit right next to the field and talk to the players in between in innings. Well, actually, most of that's true. Except for the far-away land part.