I still remember the first time I played Super Mario Bros.
I was three years old, and I had just finished opening up one of the few Christmas gifts I’d received that year to find the Nintendo Entertainment System staring me in the face. It completely blew my mind – I’d never heard of a video game, let alone a home console, and at first, I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it. I sat back and watched as my dad opened up the box, and start to plug it into the TV. Within a few moments, he’d slid the cartridge in, switched on the power, and I marvelled as a little plumber named Mario, gloriously rendered in all his 8-bit, orange colored glory, trekked across the screen.
I picked up the controller. I pressed start. I pressed a few buttons, and watched as Mario moved backwards, forwards, and jumped whenever prompted. I eased my way forward, ran into a Goomba, and immediately died. It didn’t matter – I was hooked. It was the beginning of a passion that is still going strong 27 years later.
This story isn’t wholly original – I’ve heard it many times from my friends and other gamers who had a similar experience to mine when we were growing up. For those of us who started our video game journey during this era, it’s tough to match the experience of playing Mario, Castlevania, Super-C, and those other classics from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, for the first time, even with the huge, open world maps and dazzling graphics that today’s game enjoy.
If you’re like me, and long to relive those same great gaming moments that we had as kids, we’re in luck! Recently, gaming companies from all over the world have started to crawl through their back catalogues, and re-release some of their best loved titles for mobile!
With more and more titles becoming available for our phones, it’s a great time to be a retro gamer! Plus, considering we have the Internet now, something that wasn’t available to us in 1991, we don’t have to rely on the next issue of Nintendo Power to show us how to beat the last stage in Ninja Gaiden – we can just ask other gamers! So, download these classics to your mobile, relieve those great memories, start your own blog, and share your best tips and tricks to clear these wonderfully hard-to-beat games!
Super Mario Run
Okay, so this isn’t the exact same game as Super Mario Bros., but for scratching that retro itch, it’s more than enough! Super Mario Run updates the graphics, and changes the gameplay to function better on a mobile phone, but it’s every bit as fun as the original. Players control the eponymous plumber as he dashes through levels, jumping on enemies and collecting coins.
In a new twist that gives this game its own, unique identity, Mario continues to run across the level at all times, meaning you have to carefully time when you tap the screen, which makes him jump, in order to avoid a game over screen. The same series staples, including mushrooms and star power ups, that have come to define the series, are still very much a part of gameplay, resulting in the best version of Mario that you can take on the go!
Sonic the Hedgehog Classic
When I first started moving Sonic around the screen on the Sega Genesis back in the day, I couldn’t believe how fast he moved! I mean, you literally could not keep your eye on the little blue speed freak! But it didn’t matter – that game was one of the most fun, challenging, and engaging platformers I’ve ever experienced.
With this updated version, we can enjoy everything that made the original title so awesome, plus some new additions that make the experience even better! In the original, you could only play as Sonic, which was more than enough fun, but the mobile version allows you to plays as Tails and Knuckles, who didn’t show up until later in the series. So – all the classic gameplay you remember, plus new characters to mix up the experience, lead to an amazing package, packed full of nothing but awesome retro gaming!
I don’t think there will ever be an action game that reaches the same heights that Castlevania first scaled way back in 1987. It was the perfect blend of action, difficulty, ambiance, and art design to create a true classic, and launch a series that has gone on to become one of the most highly regarded, and bestselling, in all of gaming history.
Castlevania is, and always will be, one of my favorite series, so I had high expectations when I first played the mobile version. I was certainly not disappointed.
The mobile version keeps everything that made the original so compelling, and except for minor interface changes, leaves the original game mostly intact. Why mess with perfection? Just like the NES version, you control vampire hunting Simon Belmont as you traverse 18 levels of pure action goodness, slaying bats, zombies, phantom panthers, mummies, and more with your enchanted Vampire Killer whip, culminating in a climatic two-stage boss battle against Count Dracula himself!
Ah yes: the highly lauded title that had us all captivated, and enraged, for hours on end! Even though it’s been nearly 30 years since I first played it, I still have yet to find a game that’s quite as addicting, and definitely as infuriating, as Ninja Gaiden. The original continues to hold a special place in the hearts of gamers everywhere, both because it was so much fun, and because it was a ridiculously difficult game to beat!
Players take on the role of Ryu Hayabusa, the Super Ninja, as he uses his magic katana, the Dragon Sword, to slice through a wide variety of incredibly challenging stages, trying to uncover the reason behind his father’s murder. With the ability to run, jump, and bounce of walls, Ninja Gaiden moved at a pace that few other games could keep up with back in the day. It required players to memorize the layouts and placement patterns of enemies in order to avoid certain death.
Now, it’s a little hard for me to recommend this one, as the mobile version is incomplete. The folks at Tecmo had the brilliant idea to release the original game for mobile in four episodic instalments, like a weekly TV show. Problem: they never released more than the first two episodes, meaning that you’ll never beat able to truly ‘beat’ the game. However, for even a small taste of Ninja Gaiden that I can easily play anywhere, I’ll settle fora small sampling over nothing at all.