Everything old is new again in NES Remix

gd nes remix initial thoughts impressions

It’s been said and said before, but I never had an NES of my own growing up. I got started on the SNES–that’s a super NES for those not hip with the gaming language–and a GameBoy for road-tripping purposes. Man, I miss that GameBoy along with my well-played copies of Tetris and Super Mario Land. Anyways, there were a few neighbors that I hung out with and got to mostly watch them play NES titles from the side, and so I ended up missing out on a lot of what many might consider true Nintendo classics. Though I do now also own a NES Classic, which is tiny and cute and needs to see me use it way more, and I have gone back and tried a few of these classics over the years, such as Jetpac, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid.

When word got out that Nintendo was shutting down its Nintendo Club program back in the summer of 2015, I got my act together and spent points that needed spending. You can see what I procured for myself, though obviously this post is going to be all about that NES Remix. ::takes a deep breath:: Right. Here’s everything remixed in this kickoff of Nintendo’s new series, which, as of this posting, is three entries deep:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Baseball
  • Clu Clu Land
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Donkey Kong 3
  • Excitebike
  • Golf
  • Ice Climber
  • Mario Bros.
  • Pinball
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Tennis
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Urban Champion
  • Wrecking Crew

NES Remix is all about changing things up, going from the expected to the unexpected. Most challenges in NES Remix are simply excerpts from these vintage games, involving timed tasks, such as speedrunning, clearing an area without dying, or defeating a certain number of enemies while utilizing a given power-up. They do not start out very taxing, and it’s more about nailing the challenges perfectly in good time to earn stars and 8-bit stamps for your collection book. Stamps that, now thanks to the ice-cold removal of the Miiverse app, are pretty much useless, but whatever…I still like collecting ’em.

However, the remix categories are additionally based on the fundamental reshaping or combination of games, sometimes by blending in more modern graphical features of the Wii U, for a new experience that may even be technologically impossible on an actual NES console. For example: completing a darkened level that is lit only by a spotlight superimposed over the player’s character, navigating on disappearing platforms in Super Mario Bros., or playing a Donkey Kong stage as Link instead of Mario, as seen in the screenshot at the top of this post, challenged by Link’s inability to, y’know, jump over incoming barrels. These are neat and the real draw of NES Remix, even if modders have been toying with this stuff for years; it is fun to see Nintendo’s stab at it.

Naturally, I was more interested in seeing the remixes for games I’m familiar with, such as Balloon Fight, Excitebike, and The Legend of Zelda. Other games, like Ice Climber, the Donkey Kong entries, and Urban Champion, did nothing for me, as I already didn’t know how to play them to begin with. I recently unlocked all the levels for Pinball and immediately cleared them because Pinball is just the best, whether in real life or videogame form. I sometimes lose myself in Kirby’s Pinball Land because, every now and then, you just need to hit a ball with some paddles and earn a high score.

NES Remix is good fun. I don’t want to complete every challenge it throws at me, and that’s fine. I’ll stick to the games I know and appreciate and ignore the oddballs. Still, I have other Wii U titles to get to as I inch closer and closer to boxing up the system and getting a Switch.

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