Happy 35th Birthday, Nintendo Entertainment System

The beautiful electronic beast known as the Nintendo Entertainment System officially turned 35 today in the States, where it was originally released on Oct. 18, 1985 (almost five months after I was born). Given our proximity in age, I grew up right alongside the console, eventually getting my hands on the rectangular controller at 5 years old and doing my best to not ruin what I’m assuming was a decent run for my brother in Super Mario Bros.

Our collection eventually grew to include a fair amount of titles, some of them classics and others piles of garbage. We even had to re-up on our NES, as our original died a sad death in what must have been 1993 or ’94, which was when the top-loading version was released. I still own and play it to this day, though maybe not enough, and sincerely hope that kids today get the same feeling I did back then whenever they play their first game. Is that possible now? Probably, but I’ll be a grump, shake my first, and say No! (But yeah, it totally is.)

I’ll end this with a simple question: What’s your favorite NES game?

For me, it’s gotta be The Legend of Zelda, but I’m also partial to Contra, Super Mario Bros. 3, Jackal, RBI Baseball… That list could really go on for way too long, but none of those games will ever top the first time I play LoZ. If nothing else, it set the tone for what’s becoming an unwavering necessity to own and play every game in the franchise, within reason of course, and therefore own every Nintendo console.

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