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#Nintendo

Renegade Review Rewind

The Street Fighter

Sometime in May 1986, Japanese arcades saw the release of a brawler called Nekketsu Koha Kunio-kun (roughly meaning Hot-Blooded Tough Guy Kunio in English). It stars Kunio- a miscreant high schooler fighting for a classmate being picked on by rival gangs. The game is notable for being the first brawler to feature an urban setting and introduced many trademarks common to the genre- a tough guy protagonist, themes of street justice, generic thugs, female villains, and so on. The game underwent significant revisions for its Western release and subsequent NES port, including a name change to Renegade and the story wholly disconnected from its source material.

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Super Mario World Review Rewind

A whole new world.

Witnessing the leap from the NES to the new 16-bit Super Nintendo in 1991 was downright magical. The console had an eye-catching futuristic design (in the eyes of my six-year-old self anyway), and the hardware produced higher-quality graphics and sound that delivered an experience impossible for the previous generation. And what better title to lead the charge than Super Mario World? I remember seeing the game for the first time at a graduation party for a friend going to middle school. We all huddled around her TV, taking turns playing the game. As soon as that giant Banzai Bill streaked across the screen, I was hooked.

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F-1 Race Review Rewind

Winning shouldn’t be this hard.

As we age, we sometimes look back on a game we once enjoyed and discover that isn’t nearly as fun as we thought all those years ago. F-1 Race is one of those games for me. Originally released in 1984 on the Famicom, Nintendo reworked a few gameplay elements for its Western release on the Game Boy in 1990. Back then, I was enthralled with the idea of racing around in a Formula One machine while battling it out for first place. Maybe it was the thrill of screaming down the track at 360 km, or perhaps it was just the excitement of playing a new Game Boy game. Whatever the case was, I thought I had gold in the palm of my hands.

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Final Fantasy IV Review Rewind

The “Golden Age” started here.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy IV. Originally released on July 19, 1991, it was a momentous event due in no small part to the fact that this was the first in the series to debut on the Super Famicom. It was released to critical acclaim, and once again several months later when it came to the US on the Super Nintendo as Final Fantasy II (since we missed the first two sequels on the NES). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play it until a decade later, when it was re-released as part of Final Fantasy Chronicles. And although I was late experiencing my first 16-bit RPG, it was undoubtedly worth the wait.

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Out of this World Review Rewind

The Great Escape

Out of this World (aka Another World) was initially developed and released for the Amiga and Atari ST personal computers by French game designer Eric Chahi in 1991. The game was later ported to the Super Nintendo, among other home consoles. Out of this World garnered much praise for its intriguing visual style and storytelling ability. In most games from this era, text or dialogue was usually the vehicle used to drive the story forward. But this one did it differently. Instead, the ever-changing situations, dangers, and victories all worked together to tell the story without a word.

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Donkey Kong Review Rewind

More fun than a barrel of monkeys.

It all began on this day 40 years ago, in 1981. Nintendo- a then-obscure arcade machine manufacturer- had a problem with their latest game, Radar Scope. The machines weren’t selling as well as hoped, so the company decided to refit the unsold units with a brand new game. Young staff artist Shigeru Miyamoto was tasked with creating an arcade game that would capture the attention of the American audience. The finished product starred a stressed-out gorilla with an infinite supply of barrels who wasn't afraid to use them. It's the stubborn monkey himself, Donkey Kong.

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Life Force Review Rewind

Journey to the belly of the beast.

If you ever want to know how Konami became so successful, just look at their arcade history of the 1980s. Not only were the games entertaining, but there was also a good chance that their best hits would appear on NES and a wealth of other home consoles. Life Force was no exception. Released initially as Salamander in Japan 35 years ago today, the game came to America as Life Force and received an NES port two years later.

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Super Mario Bros. 3 Review Rewind

Platforming perfection

On October 23, 1988, Mario series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and his crack team of Nintendo EAD ninjas released Super Mario Bros. 3 in Japan. To coincide with its US launch 16 months later, Nintendo produced a commercial featuring kids clamoring for the game like it was the second coming of Christ. The hype was intense, and it worked exceedingly well. The game went on to exceed the first one in sales, fandom, and legendary status. Mario and the crew had undeniably hit their stride.

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Mega Man 2 Review Rewind

The “Blue Bomber” hits his stride.

Mega Man 2 started as a side project that Capcom allowed artist Keiji Inafune’s team to work on during their downtime between higher priority projects. Much of the game's design included leftover ideas that didn’t make it into the inaugural entry. However, a few gameplay refinements and an incredible soundtrack combined to bring forth a classic that still attracts new fans despite being released over 30 years ago. Not bad for a side project.

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Snoopy's Magic Show Review Rewind

There never was any magic, was there?

There is nary a soul out there who hasn’t seen or heard of Snoopy- that lovable beagle in the Peanuts comic dating back to the 1950s. Having existed across various forms of media, it was only a matter of time before Snoopy and friends would end up on a Nintendo system or two. Such was the case in 1990 when Kemco released Snoopy’s Magic Show on the Game Boy. A few years later, one of my sister’s school friends let my brother borrow this game, which I eventually played and completed. Returning to this game as an adult, I have no idea how kid me finished it without a broken spirit.

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