NES system - use as a torture device in Guantanamo Bay

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jkrane
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17 Nov 2014, 9:08 am

I'm sure many, if not all you folks remember the old days of vidya gaming. All those times dying, all that frustration and feelings of inadequacy, and all those temper tantrums - one after the next. These games were torture in my childhood. It wasn't until years later, that the game companies made games that offered a challenge that was still difficult, but fair, and had better controls. I'm playing super mario bros 2 on an emulator, and I am awestruck at how unfair and stressful this game is. You literally have to be on your toes the entire time. I can't make it past the 3rd level without using save states. These games are sadistic. Could you imagine being a little kid, having your parents pay 50$ (IN THE 1980s!!), waiting all year until christmas or your birthday for a new cartridge, and then BAM! Here come the tantrums!

Games like contra, that have one-hit die, no continues!

Hearing about all the kids who have beat these games and seeing them actually do it, destroys one's self esteem even further.

Forget waterboarding, shocks to the testicles or nipples, and starvation:

NES is the ultimate torture device!



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17 Nov 2014, 10:19 am

SMB and SMB2 are two of the games I actually managed to beat, in 1990 for SMB1 and a little later for SMB2. I don't recall when it came out, but I got SMB1 for Christmas 1989. It took time and dedication, but totally worth it!

Now the speeded up version of SMB1 that was released on NES Ultimate Remix 3-DS on the other hand.... OMG! So hard!! !

There were other games I didn't beat though. Oh man I miss those days. That was when gaming was good and the games had gameplay value. The only thing that would have made those old games perfect would have been save possibility and / or password continues.

The first TMNT game was insanely hard for me, there was a place I always died or lost way too much life in one of the underground locations.

Little Nemo was also hard. I tried it again some years ago (my NES still works, as do the games I've kept; I just wish I'd kept more games). It's still hard! lol


There are games I never got to play and games I regret getting rid of. I wish they were re-released but with Wii being what it is (not crazy about the Wii controls) maybe not... Wii with all its waving around and pointing made me lose interest in new console games. Even just saying that makes me feel sad.

I hate this period of time, where it is claimed that real-life copies of games are on the way out. I want my games to be IRL plastic carts that I insert in the console or handheld device. The new time isn't for me.


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Misery
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17 Nov 2014, 10:45 am

Hmm, many of them arent nearly as hard as they look, to be honest. It's really just all about practice, and not giving up.

SMB2 for instance.... I've been playing it again recently. By the time I got to world 4, I had like 20 lives in reserve. Every now and then I"d manage to waddle off a cliff somehow, but.... that's about it. You just gotta take it slow, and pay attention and react. Not to mention look around for the mushrooms... they're all in relatively logical places and it's important to grab at least one of them in each stage.

Even the bits with Phanto arent that tough, once you realize that he wont chase you whatsoever if you move the key around not by carrying it everywhere, but by constantly picking it up and throwing it.


And most games from back then were rather like that. Even Contra.

Of course, there were exceptions. Sometimes you'd get a game that was just not very well made. The first TMNT for example, that I see mentioned here. NOT a well-made game. It has some honestly cheap parts, a couple of so-badly-done-they're-legendary jumps that need to be made (anyone that's played through it probably remembers *exactly* where they are), and so on. Or perhaps Ghosts N' Goblins.... glitchy as hell, badly thought out level design, many cheap monsters.... and so on. Those created a sort of "fake difficulty", which is very different from the actual difficulty of a well-made game like SMB (look up the term on TVTropes).

Of course, back then... yeah, hard time knowing for sure which was the really freaking hard but still good game, and which was the really freaking hard because it's kinda crappy game.


I always miss games from that era though. Even back then, I loved a challenge, and needed one in order for something to hold my interest. Nothing today is challenging anymore! At this point I"ve kinda given up on console games for the most part.... they typically just dont deliver a challenge, and are usually obsessed with story and cutscenes rather than gameplay.

I mean, granted, there's exceptions, some of which go waaaaayyyyyyyyyy further than any of those old games ever went, such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uON3zty3-Q

But for the most part, games with any real challenge (and I dont mean the utter deranged insanity in the video) are relegated to niche status, because people just cant handle losing. They have to "beat" the game, every time, no matter what. Note the quotes around that word, they are there for a reason. And the big publishers just make it worse: They make ABSOLUTELY FREAKING SURE that *everyone* can easily beat their games.... heaven forbid that someone actually has to TRY to reach the end of the oh-so-important story! Bah.

Stories which take hours and hours and hours... argh. I liked the NES era stories, which were often like "Ok here you're flying this ship now, so go SHOOT ALL THE THINGS and try not to explode! Because.... er.... justice!"


Also, yes, I didnt like the Wii and it's godforsaken Wiimotes either. Just.... uuuuugh. Really, really hated those. Now, the Wii U.... THAT is a totally different beast. I actually like that thing (and it's what I've been playing SMB2 on... oh I still have all of my old and still perfectly working games, but it's just less trouble to set up for the small amount of games on the virtual console).



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17 Nov 2014, 11:19 am

Misery wrote:
Or perhaps Ghosts N' Goblins.... glitchy as hell, badly thought out level design, many cheap monsters.... and so on. Those created a sort of "fake difficulty", which is very different from the actual difficulty of a well-made game like SMB (look up the term on TVTropes).

Yeah, Ghost and Goblins were glitchy alright. :x

Misery wrote:
Also, yes, I didnt like the Wii and it's godforsaken Wiimotes either. Just.... uuuuugh. Really, really hated those. Now, the Wii U.... THAT is a totally different beast. I actually like that thing

So Wii U is worth getting? I haven't put it on my list due being so disappointed in Wii...


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17 Nov 2014, 11:38 am

I notice the older games are hard to play and it would take all day to play them just to beat it. I hear Zelda was the first game with a save slot. Now today you can save in every game pretty much.


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17 Nov 2014, 11:54 am

Skilpadde wrote:
Misery wrote:
Or perhaps Ghosts N' Goblins.... glitchy as hell, badly thought out level design, many cheap monsters.... and so on. Those created a sort of "fake difficulty", which is very different from the actual difficulty of a well-made game like SMB (look up the term on TVTropes).

Yeah, Ghost and Goblins were glitchy alright. :x

Misery wrote:
Also, yes, I didnt like the Wii and it's godforsaken Wiimotes either. Just.... uuuuugh. Really, really hated those. Now, the Wii U.... THAT is a totally different beast. I actually like that thing

So Wii U is worth getting? I haven't put it on my list due being so disappointed in Wii...



Well, it of course depends on what sorts of games you're into.

But the game selection isnt the same as that of the Wii's. With the original Wii, it didnt sell because of the quality of the games, instead it sold because of it's gimmick. And that, for a HUGE number of consumers, was literally the ONLY reason they bought it. Which is why there were so many that owned Wii Sports, and maybe Wii Fit, and then pretty much nothing else. Publishers realized this fact quickly, and started putting out craptastic arm-waver "party" games left and right. Or just games of any sort with as much arm-waving tacked on as conceivably possible, because they believed that the gimmick would sell the game. ....even if EVERY OTHER PUBLISHER EVER was already doing the same thing. So the thing's library stagnated. Games kept coming out, but they were often just bad. And even Nintendo's own fare was corrupted by the awful and inaccurate Wiimote.

The Wii U doesnt have any of these problems. The Wiimote drew in non-gamers by the droves because it was so stupidly simple with it's gimmick that anyone could grasp it just by glancing at it. But the Wii U cant do that. What alot of people see when they look at that thing's bizarre controller is, well, a bizarre device that they dont really understand. The non-gamer crowd doesnt see the easy simplicity of Wii Sports there. Just a bulky weird thing that does who knows what. And this ALSO means that publishers arent absolutely freaking obsessed with it. So they're not putting in functions related to it in games where it doesnt actually make sense. Instead, when it's used, it's typically used in a logical, sensible way.

Now, it can still play Wii games, and can use the Wiimote, which is good for the very tiny selection of unique/interesting/difficult/whatever games there were on it. The thing actually even had a few roguelikes.... good luck finding anyone that knew about THOSE. Among some other stuff. I wouldnt have re-bought the Wii itself just to play them again, but I can do so with this new thing. ....and fortunately THAT type of game doesnt use the Wiimote itself, just the controller bit that attached to it (the "classic controller"). Roguelikes using a Wiimote doesnt even make sense, really....


Currently I've got Super Mario 3D World, which is absolutely fantastic, Mario Kart 8, which is also great (wheras I haaaaaaaated the one on the original Wii), Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate or whatever it's called, the most recent one; difficult and complicated as all hell, that series, but it's sooooooooo good. And then a few virtual console games, and there's some downloadable ones I'd like to get too. And then of course, the new Smash Bros game comes out, finally, after all these freaking years, in just a couple of days. Of course, my collection of games for something like this will always be relatively small, since I'm mostly into PC games these days (usually indie stuffs), but still, even I can find some good stuff on here. I know I'll be buying all of the available Mario platformers, since I've always loved that genre.


Now as for the other consoles... I really cant say any of this about THOSE. Those really do mostly seem filled with the usual crap. Again, is why I switched to PC.

However, I *am* buying a PS4 (probably tomorrow) to get LittleBigPlanet 3, which to me is completely worth it. THAT one will give me about a gazillion hours of exactly the sort of gameplay stuffs I like most.

Most people though of course would not buy something like that for ONE game though.



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17 Nov 2014, 6:08 pm

A lot of the old NES games were so hard, if not practically impossible, that it's the reason TV Tropes came up with the phrase "Nintendo Hard" to describe anything that difficult, Nintendo-related or not. I think a lot more games are easier to play now, but I find even now platform games cause the most frustration because of dying constantly in nearly the same spot over and over again and usually because the controls got messed up or my timing was off one trillionth of a second, or there's a timer and I can't take my time exploring the level or pondering when or where to go. When I was young nearly all the games I played were platformers and the first game I beat was SMB2. I even managed to beat SMB3. Of course my brother had to beat them before I did because guys are better at everything. :roll: I'm glad that I didn't give up on them, in fact I think the reason I didn't was because they were fun to play the rest of the time. In fact I replayed SMB2 over and over, managing to use each character without switching even during stages where a certain character would have made the game a lot harder (Like Toad in the stages where you have to jump high or Peach in the stages where you have to pick up a lot of items). But I'm older now so maybe that's why I don't tolerate the frustration as much and I'm more into the "casual" simulation type games with compelling plots and characters who don't die easily.



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17 Nov 2014, 10:34 pm

I thought SMB2 was made easier before it was released in the west. We got a completely different game called SMB2. In Japan they got the real thing.

Even if SMB2 is difficult (I haven't played it) can we really complain about it when talking about games that are too hard when it's the dummed down version?



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17 Nov 2014, 11:52 pm

Well back when you were a kid, You'd play a game over and over again until you got it down to muscle memory and have all the attack patterns memorized. After that, most of the game becomes a cake-walk until the later levels, and over time, you master those parts as well.

Don't underestimate the power of being 7 years old with a whole lotta time on your hands!

Although I do think the games were so brutal back then that they encouraged breaks in between sessions, You'd get one sesion down, die somewhere near the middle or end, then go outside to play rather than do all of that over again. Nowadays the games are so rewarding and forgiving that you don't need to contrast the hobby with 'outside' anymore...you can just keep going and going...

Sometimes I question if our society is even aware of how much overindulgence might ruin us.



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18 Nov 2014, 1:15 am

seaturtleisland wrote:
I thought SMB2 was made easier before it was released in the west. We got a completely different game called SMB2. In Japan they got the real thing.

Even if SMB2 is difficult (I haven't played it) can we really complain about it when talking about games that are too hard when it's the dummed down version?


Yeah, they took a totally different game with a name I cant remember, changed some of the sprites to include Mario & friends instead of the characters that were originally there, stuck in mushrooms and whatnot, and called it SMB2.


The REAL SMB2 though, well....

It's not that the one we got in the west is dumbed down. Dumbed down is going from "hard" to "easy". For many players, SMB2, the one most are familiar with, is still definitely hard. It wasnt dumbed down. Dumbing things down really just didnt happen much back then, on the NES or anything else... high levels of challenge was the norm. The real difference is that the "proper" SMB2, also known as The Lost Levels, is STUPIDLY HARD. I mean really, REALLY freaking difficult.

It plays like the very first game, LOOKS like the very first game, except that the levels were designed by evil sadistic maniacs. And then they stuck in some poison mushrooms (looks like a normal mushroom except darker, moves in the same way, but damages you instead of doing a powerup) just to be mean. Actually beating this particular game without continues or cheats or whatever can be considered a major accomplishment.

Try it out for yourself and see.... it doesnt take long. Get an emulator, find the rom, and try it. I absolutely guarantee your run will be... short. Expect to die horribly in world 1.



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18 Nov 2014, 1:57 am

Misery wrote:
Well, it of course depends on what sorts of games you're into.

But the game selection isnt the same as that of the Wii's. With the original Wii, it didnt sell because of the quality of the games, instead it sold because of it's gimmick. And that, for a HUGE number of consumers, was literally the ONLY reason they bought it. Which is why there were so many that owned Wii Sports, and maybe Wii Fit, and then pretty much nothing else. Publishers realized this fact quickly, and started putting out craptastic arm-waver "party" games left and right. Or just games of any sort with as much arm-waving tacked on as conceivably possible, because they believed that the gimmick would sell the game. ....even if EVERY OTHER PUBLISHER EVER was already doing the same thing. So the thing's library stagnated. Games kept coming out, but they were often just bad. And even Nintendo's own fare was corrupted by the awful and inaccurate Wiimote.

The Wii U doesnt have any of these problems. The Wiimote drew in non-gamers by the droves because it was so stupidly simple with it's gimmick that anyone could grasp it just by glancing at it. But the Wii U cant do that. What alot of people see when they look at that thing's bizarre controller is, well, a bizarre device that they dont really understand. The non-gamer crowd doesnt see the easy simplicity of Wii Sports there. Just a bulky weird thing that does who knows what. And this ALSO means that publishers arent absolutely freaking obsessed with it. So they're not putting in functions related to it in games where it doesnt actually make sense. Instead, when it's used, it's typically used in a logical, sensible way.

Now, it can still play Wii games, and can use the Wiimote, which is good for the very tiny selection of unique/interesting/difficult/whatever games there were on it. The thing actually even had a few roguelikes.... good luck finding anyone that knew about THOSE. Among some other stuff. I wouldnt have re-bought the Wii itself just to play them again, but I can do so with this new thing. ....and fortunately THAT type of game doesnt use the Wiimote itself, just the controller bit that attached to it (the "classic controller"). Roguelikes using a Wiimote doesnt even make sense, really....


Currently I've got Super Mario 3D World, which is absolutely fantastic, Mario Kart 8, which is also great (wheras I haaaaaaaated the one on the original Wii), Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate or whatever it's called, the most recent one; difficult and complicated as all hell, that series, but it's sooooooooo good. And then a few virtual console games, and there's some downloadable ones I'd like to get too. And then of course, the new Smash Bros game comes out, finally, after all these freaking years, in just a couple of days. Of course, my collection of games for something like this will always be relatively small, since I'm mostly into PC games these days (usually indie stuffs), but still, even I can find some good stuff on here. I know I'll be buying all of the available Mario platformers, since I've always loved that genre.


Now as for the other consoles... I really cant say any of this about THOSE. Those really do mostly seem filled with the usual crap. Again, is why I switched to PC.

However, I *am* buying a PS4 (probably tomorrow) to get LittleBigPlanet 3, which to me is completely worth it. THAT one will give me about a gazillion hours of exactly the sort of gameplay stuffs I like most.

Most people though of course would not buy something like that for ONE game though.


Oh wow, thank you for your very thorough response! :) Much appreciated and very helpful.
I am definitely interested in Wii U now. I've been a Mario fan since SMB1 and I'd love to play Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Bros U, Nintendo Land...

And there might be a couple of Wii games that just turned interesting if I could play them with a normal controller, like Rune Factory, which I love on the DS. The handheld series are among my fave games.


I've always been a Nintendo girl, so I was very disappointed with the Wii.
I had Play Station (the first), and I loved the first 3 Spyro games. There were a few other games too, especially some racing games.
But I was less enthused with PS 2 (which my father bought) and haven't bothered with PS 3 and PS 4 at all.
I have the PSP and this is how much I use it: Every time I play it, I have to charge it.

I've never had X-box.


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18 Nov 2014, 3:28 am

Skilpadde wrote:

Oh wow, thank you for your very thorough response! :) Much appreciated and very helpful.
I am definitely interested in Wii U now. I've been a Mario fan since SMB1 and I'd love to play Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Bros U, Nintendo Land...

And there might be a couple of Wii games that just turned interesting if I could play them with a normal controller, like Rune Factory, which I love on the DS. The handheld series are among my fave games.


I've always been a Nintendo girl, so I was very disappointed with the Wii.
I had Play Station (the first), and I loved the first 3 Spyro games. There were a few other games too, especially some racing games.
But I was less enthused with PS 2 (which my father bought) and haven't bothered with PS 3 and PS 4 at all.
I have the PSP and this is how much I use it: Every time I play it, I have to charge it.

I've never had X-box.


Hmm, I should probably clarify something a bit here. Those older Wii games, what they do and do not support doesnt actually change... what I meant was that the specific games I had actually had an interest in on the thing already did support the old Classic controller (the one that attaches via a wire to the Wiimote, as opposed to the INTELLIGENT idea of attaching directly to the console... sigh. Whoever came up with that one needs a good firing). Games that DIDNT support it still will not. It really depends on the game. Most of the mainstream games really didnt use it... it was often relegated to more niche games, or things downloaded from the Virtual Console, which I suspect is the actual reason why that controller exists at all.

The Wii U has a very similar controller, I forget what it's called, though someone SMART came up with that one as you dont need to attach it to the huge screen thing to use it. But it's the original Wiimote, or the Wiimote + Classic, that you need to play original Wii games. The Wii U does come with a sensor bar, but not a Wiimote.


As for the other consoles, yeah, they're a bit different than Nintendo's stuff.

The PS2 actually has a very good selection that can cater to anyone... but I personally still hate the shoddy thing, because they KEPT BREAKING DOWN. I've been through ten of the hideous failures. TEN. These though were later models (all slimlines), as opposed to the undying early models, when Sony actually cared about quality (the parts the things are made of kept getting more and more cheap over the life of the console). As good as the selection was, it wasnt worth it anymore, so I eventually dumped the whole group of games I had for it, and havent looked back.

The PS3 now.... it doesnt have quite as good a selection, but it's decent enough. What really got me was LBP. As a fan of Mario and platformers in general, that one attracted my attention, and it turned out to be utter perfection. Wonderful design, wonderful gameplay, wonderful everything, and then the ability to make whatever I wanted within it, with no restrictions other than the consoles own memory and processing power. Of course... games like that arent exactly common. The PS3 only has so much else that I'd care about. It's hard to recommend it or not, though, without knowing about someone's preferences.

The 360, I have an imported Japanese unit, used to run imported games of the shmup genre. Bloody expensive, those.

PS4 and XBone? Well the PS4 will work for me for that one game... and probably also Resogun, a downloadable one on there.... but I've not exactly seen anything else that I would want. And the XBone has nothing at all. It's sad, really... I miss the days of the old consoles, when everything was creative, and developers could constantly try out new ideas and such. Nowadays that happens within the indie scene... but mainstream publishers cant do that.

I wish it was different though, that's for sure. The Wii U at least retains some of that old uniqueness though.

I forgot where I was going with this, so random side-rant over for now.



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18 Nov 2014, 4:10 am

Misery wrote:
Hmm, I should probably clarify something a bit here. Those older Wii games, what they do and do not support doesnt actually change... what I meant was that the specific games I had actually had an interest in on the thing already did support the old Classic controller (the one that attaches via a wire to the Wiimote, as opposed to the INTELLIGENT idea of attaching directly to the console... sigh. Whoever came up with that one needs a good firing). Games that DIDNT support it still will not. It really depends on the game. Most of the mainstream games really didnt use it... it was often relegated to more niche games, or things downloaded from the Virtual Console, which I suspect is the actual reason why that controller exists at all.

The Wii U has a very similar controller, I forget what it's called, though someone SMART came up with that one as you dont need to attach it to the huge screen thing to use it. But it's the original Wiimote, or the Wiimote + Classic, that you need to play original Wii games. The Wii U does come with a sensor bar, but not a Wiimote.


Oh. Thanks for clarifying! That's a very valuable piece of info. I'll have to check first how those old games play then. Not optimistic...
I wouldn't mind it if the waving made sense in the game... but in most cases it doesn't.

Just like I like the DS touch screen being used when it's a natural way to play the game. But in some games it's just harder to play because using the stylus doesn't make sense... Thankfully a lot of new games let you choose to large degree, at least among the games I'm interested in.


I am interested in the Wii U console for its own games, so thanks for being so helpful!


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The tiger and the lion may be more powerful....

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18 Nov 2014, 8:44 am

jkrane wrote:
I'm sure many, if not all you folks remember the old days of vidya gaming. All those times dying, all that frustration and feelings of inadequacy, and all those temper tantrums - one after the next. These games were torture in my childhood. It wasn't until years later, that the game companies made games that offered a challenge that was still difficult, but fair, and had better controls. I'm playing super mario bros 2 on an emulator, and I am awestruck at how unfair and stressful this game is. You literally have to be on your toes the entire time. I can't make it past the 3rd level without using save states. These games are sadistic. Could you imagine being a little kid, having your parents pay 50$ (IN THE 1980s!!), waiting all year until christmas or your birthday for a new cartridge, and then BAM! Here come the tantrums!

Games like contra, that have one-hit die, no continues!

Hearing about all the kids who have beat these games and seeing them actually do it, destroys one's self esteem even further.

Forget waterboarding, shocks to the testicles or nipples, and starvation:

NES is the ultimate torture device!


I wasn't really a tantrum thrower; I would just settle in and keep trying. Probably I get madder now, as an adult drinking beer and playing modern games, getting killed at a critical point and being unable to face the prospect of going through all the cinematic BS again.



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18 Nov 2014, 2:45 pm

What a lot of people don't realize is that "Nintendo hard" came about not because of a sadistic streak on the part of the developers (usually) but because of the limitations of the hardware.

If they made the games just difficult enough to be challenging but without the brutal die and start over mechanics like they would have preferred most games could be beat in less than an hour. The cartridges and technology just didn't have the memory capacity for long games.

So they gave it a huge difficulty curve and in the end created a more rewarding experience for when you finally do beat the game even though in retrospect there wasn't much content there.


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