Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, B, A, select, start. That’s right, you know what I’m talking about. No use in denying it. The infinite lives cheat code for Contra on old-school Nintendo. Anyone that took a single adolescent or teenage breath in the 1980s knows that code. Like most people, I got to the point where it became a thoughtless act. Just at that right moment, your fingers went flying. And remember how easy it became to defeat Super Mario Brothers? Simply jump from level one, to level three, to level five, and finally to level eight. Oh yeah, I haven’t forgotten. Those were the good old days, I tell you.
Tragically, those days have passed most of us by. I say most of us because I know there are a few people out there like me that refused to give up that little gray box (God bless you, brothers and sisters). Apparently, the gaming industry chose to move on without us. Now there are dozens of choices available to satisfy your videogame cravings. There have been countless incarnations of Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox to choose from over the years, offering better graphics, smoother gameplay, and yada yada yada. That’s great and all, but the world seems to be overlooking a major problem… our youth.
Pretty soon, consoles in general will be a thing of the past, and "playing video games," will evolve into real-life. You’ll go to a friend’s house to "play" the newest fighting game… but you will be the characters. You will pound away at each other, until a light in your room says "game over." But I ask you, how will this generation make it in life having not known the true Legend of Zelda? How will they ever understand what they missed out on without true racing games like RC Pro-Am? How can they ever understand the art of fighting without having experienced Double Dragon?
Yes, one could argue that these newer games create better hand-eye coordination, I suppose. But these companies think that adding more buttons to a controller makes things more complicated, advancing these kids’ skills. Absolutely not. You want to learn skill? You want to learn patience? You want to learn discipline? Give these kids a 20 year old Nintendo, and see if they can make it work! Remember that? The exact science of blowing in a cartridge, because that magically made it work. The precision with which you put the cartridge into the console, in order to avoid seeing that annoying flashing screen. I swear, by the time we hit puberty, we were all certified engineers.
Maybe if our government had even the slightest clue, they would recognize the value in that old school box. Personally, I think we should pull all the computers out of our public schools and replace them with the old Nintendo. I learned far more from the guy on Kung Fu than I could ever learn from Bill Gates. And besides… Tony Hawk can’t even compare to Skate or Die.