Category Archives: NES

End of an Era: NES

NES-Console-Set.jpgSo, as we’ve passed the last game we’ll be covering on the NES, I thought we ought to run a quick retrospective on the system, in the form of a ranked list. Iain and I both ranked the thirteen games we covered, and by averaging our scores, we can conclude that the official AAA opinion on these particular NES games is as follows:

1. Super Mario Bros. 3

2. Super Mario Bros.

3. Tetris

4. The Legend of Zelda

5. Super Mario Bros. 2

6. Metroid

7. Dr. Mario

8. Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers

9. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!!

10= Ghosts ‘N Goblins

10= Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

12. Snake Rattle ‘N Roll

13. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles

Think Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles is a misunderstood classic? Think Super Mario Bros. 3 is an overrated mess? Let us know and comment below!

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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in End of an Era, NES


#55: Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers



December 1991 – Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers

Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers is another licensed game, and as such, it takes the form of a side-scrolling platform game. This decision was not made, one suspects, with any thought that the cartoon series on which it was based particularly lent itself to the idea of jumping around on platforms. Rather, as we have seen before in the likes of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and Batman, licensed games tended to be hammered into a platformy shape because the platform game was simply the default image of what a video game was in those days. Such was the colossal success of Super Mario Bros. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in 1991, NES


#51: Super Mario Bros. 3

Iain ultimately wrote most of this one, though it was something of a joint effort in conception. And hey, we’re back. You can expect weekly updates until we’ve seen out 1991, at the very least. Promise. 


August 1991 -Super Mario Bros. 3

This is the game where Mario learns to fly, tail flapping, perhaps on unseen wires in front of platforms casting shadows on a painted sheet sky. Like Super Mario Bros. 2 before it, Super Mario Bros. 3 presents some pretty explicit suggestion that its events are not meant to be taken as the depiction of reality, only this time, rather than a dream, it is instead a stage performance, literally opened with a raised curtain. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In this way, the reiteration of the same damsel in distress plot from the original Super Mario Bros. gains an extra layer of performativity that makes it a little harder to read as an uncritical embrace of the tropes within. That’s only reinforced by how peculiarly it functions in practice, not least in Princess Peach Toadstool providing helpful hints and items from captivity. It’s not clear exactly who is putting on the production, but there are shows within shows.

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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in 1991, Mario, NES


#47: Dr. Mario

Iain wrote this one.


April 1991 – Dr. Mario

AAA is a blog about video games, but it’s also a blog about successful video games, and sometimes it’s worth examining the success side specifically. Dr. Mario isn’t the first time Nintendo used Mario outside of main series platform games, but it’s a particularly substantial occurrence. It was followed in the next two years by the first Mario Golf and Mario Kart titles. After that, the deluge. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 30, 2016 in 1991, Mario, NES


#46: Snake Rattle N Roll


March 1991 – Snake Rattle N Roll

Snake Rattle N Roll is an isometric platform game in which you and, if you like, a friend play as a pair of snakes named Rattle and Roll, and run (or, I guess, slither) around eating colourful balls known as ‘Nibbley-Pibbleys’ in order to grow big and strong. This mechanic is immediately reminiscent of a rather better known game involving snakes that grow as they eat; we’re still a few years away from Snake for Nokia phones becoming the first big hit in the exciting world of mobile gaming, but versions of the game had existed for well over a decade by this point. There is just no way that this is a coincidence.

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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in 1991, NES


#39: Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles


August 1990 – Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles

My, how we all chortled. “Those stupid Americans! Don’t even know what a philosopher is!” But of course, there are silly marketing executives making their ridiculous changes on both sides of the Atlantic. And so, a decade or so before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone took the States by storm, British kids were eagerly lapping up the televised adventures of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Because the issue was never that American kids were too dumb to understand the term ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, any more than British kids were too dumb to know what a ninja is. The kids themselves played no real part in the process. No, the real issue was that someone, somewhere underestimated the ability of children to take in new information, to adapt to change. Or maybe ‘underestimated’ is the wrong word. Perhaps ‘feared’ is more appropriate. The idea that children might learn something outside of a state-approved curriculum is certainly a prospect that strikes fear into the hearts of some. Especially something like ‘ninja’. Something foreign. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in 1990, NES


#33: Tetris


February 1990 – Tetris

Paul McCartney, so the story goes, woke up with the tune to “Yesterday” in his head, fully formed, and had to be told that it wasn’t anyone else’s song that he’d heard somewhere before, and was in fact, a wholly original creation. It’s as if, in writing the song, McCartney wasn’t performing an act of creation so much as giving form to something that already existed, something that necessarily must exist. One wonders if Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov ever felt something akin to this during the creation process of the game.

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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in 1990, NES