Nintendo – more than just Mario

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is probably responsible for consuming more hours of our youths than sleep and going to school combined. And for all the advancements in video game technology, there’s something about NES that will remain close to our hearts. Here is a tribute to four lesser-known Nintendo greats.

“Karnov” (1987)

You’re all familiar with Mario, right? Well, say Mario was an overweight fire-breathing Russian strongman, and he had to ward off really, really strange demons and enemies like Yoda in a flying basket, a large fish-like creature that seems to want to pleasure himself in the middle of the game, skeletons riding dead ostriches, some bald guy who jumps around in his underwear and all of this for some kind of nondescript “treasure” at the end of the game. That’s “Karnov” in a nutshell. The funny thing is that for Data East, the company that made the game, “Karnov” was their Mario, so to speak, also appearing in the games “Bad Dudes” and “Karnov’s Revenge” (a blatant Street Fighter rip-off). Still, “Karnov” is a pretty entertaining game that is worth hunting for.

“Yo, Noid!” (1991)

Avoid the Noid! He ruins pizza! And that short-lived claymation ad campaign for Domino’s Pizza was enough to spawn a real game for Nintendo. Rather than try and give the Noid some sort of origin, you instead just play level after level, going from point A to point B, avoiding sailors with harpoons and Eskimos (sorry, Inuits) for some reason, all in an effort to play a game of cards with a Noid that was a different color than red. As bad an idea for a game as this might seem, it’s great nostalgia, back from a time when corporate mascots got their own video games. You don’t see the Geico gecko or that scary Wellpatch guy with their own video games, do you?

“Super Dodge Ball” (1989)

Long before Patches O’Houlihan told Justin he was about as useful as a “poopy-flavored lollipop,” “Super Dodge Ball” was Nintendo’s way of taking the elementary school staple and making it 24 times cooler than it ever deserved to be! With a competition between dodgeball teams all over the world, the game could have stooped to adding things like ninjas and bazookas, but they didn’t. It’s still a game about super-powered dodgeball players where the bosses are … evil versions of whatever team you played! The evil version of me would probably kick my ass at dodgeball.

“Bubble Bath Babes” (1991)

Okay, where do I begin? Today, games for the 18 and over crowd are commonplace. “Grand Theft Auto,” or “Dead or Alive (Xtreme) Beach Volleyball.” But, like so many other things, Nintendo was ahead of its time with “Bubble Bath Babes.” Here’s the ingenious concept: make a game exactly like “Tetris,” replace the blocks with bubbles, and every time you beat a level, you get a picture of a nude woman! Now, the thing to keep in mind is that this is 8-bit Nintendo and if you were aroused by a nude woman in “Bubble Bath Babes,” you’d probably also be aroused by … oh, let’s say the squirrels that are found all over campus. The scary thing is that this game is worth hundreds of dollars … to sick-minded freaks.

I guess I should apologize for not including more mainstream games like “Mario Brothers,” “Tetris,” or “Mega Man,” or the hundreds of other memorable game titles. But if this review proves anything, it proves that nothing like the games of the time of NES will