It caught me off guard because I really haven't thought about it in a while. The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, is 22 years old.
This device was pretty definitive of my childhood... that is until super nintendo came out in 1991ish. For the record, the N64 probably ate up more of my time then the two combined, and don't even get me started on the PS2.
I'm sure many of us remember the glory days of the NES. It was the first truly mainstream in-home video game player. Sure, atari and commodore 64 preceded it, but those didn't have the pizazz of an 8 button controller a zapper and plumbing duo. Duck hunt, mario, dr mario, mario 2, mario 3... a lot of mario really. That was the bread & butter of the NES, though it didn't blossom into much of a blockbuster in theaters (1993).
It's still pretty easy to find a working NES console. I know my family has at least one or two around the house, and it generally works. You usually have to wiggle the cartridge a little bit from one side to the other and have to blow the contacts to get a game to play, but wasn't that half the fun?
Maybe not, but it's something we all dealt with at one time or another. After all, who's never played NES? I always wondered how much good came from blowing into the cartridge. I mean yeah, it could get the 'dust' off of the contacts, but how much of the true benefit was just taking it out and readjusting the cartridge when you put it back in? And how much damage did it do when you'd blow into it and get spittle all over the place? I remember that happening more often than not.
Those games were so much simpler. About 75% of the time, the objective was just to move the character from one side of the screen to the other. Come hell or high water (or goombas) you could get the hero, often clad in ninja attire or overalls, to the right side and move on to the next "world". Those games are too easy and too simple for today's youth who have grown up without ever seeing an actual music video on MTV, or played a video game that involved fewer than 12 buttons and an optical drive.
What brought the notion of 22 years of NES to my attention was the following comic from xkcd.com. I think us NESers can relate.