Can’t get a NES Classic?

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The $59.99 30 in one NES system that Nintendo released this week is already incredibly difficult to find. Most retail locations have reported getting fewer than ten units, and most sold all ten within hours of its release. One local game store here has reported that they ordered 12, received 6 and will not be receiving any more units for the rest of this year.

The scarcity of the NES Classic Edition, and the fact that there’s sure to be ever increasing demand as the holiday season nears, has driven scalpers to jack up the prices on the systems on Craigslist and eBay (selling for $100+). Instead of paying extra for this system, however, I have another idea. How about you head down to your local video game store (mom and pop store, not GameStop) and check out their stock of used and refurbished NES systems. Sure it won’t have 30 games pre-installed, but maybe the real thing might just be more of a nostalgia rush than the simulated product. You’ll also be helping out a local business, which is always great during the holidays.

You might end up spending a bit more for a real NES and a couple of cartridges, but I honestly think you’re better off that way. First of all, you’ll avoid being stuck with a two foot long controller cord that the Classic Edition comes with. Furthermore, you’ll be able to play many more games. The Classic Edition has no way to expand its library (except for a presumed future release for another $60 with another 30 games installed), while with the real thing you’ll be able to scope out pawn shops, flea markets and local game stores for good deals on old cartridges.

Most of the cartridges I’ve gotten recently have been between $10 and $30, but it’s much more fun actually clicking a cartridge down into the thing and firing it up for the first time (rather than simply hitting a button on a menu in the Classic Edition).

Don’t get me wrong, the Classic Edition is certainly a nifty item, and sometime down the road I might actually pick one up, but I enjoy the community of interacting with my local mom and pop game store whenever I’m looking for a new NES cartridge to add to my collection. Give it a try, you might too!

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Feeling nostaligic? Check out Man Crates!

I can’t quite remember the first time I touched a video game controller, but I’m fairly confident that the very first buttons I pushed were on an NES controller. There was a NES at my grandparent’s house that all of us grandkids gravitated toward every time we visited. We’d play around with Duck Hunt before getting serious into Super Mario Bros., each of us trying to make it further into the game than the other. I never made it very far.

Some of my favorite memories of the NES come from sitting around the TV with four or five people, all either playing a game or rooting for the others in hopes of finally seeing the end of a game. There was no YouTube or Twitch to allow you to simply watch someone complete a game or defeat a difficult boss. You had to do it all yourself, or know a friend who could make it past the difficult parts. Of course, there was the Konami code in Contra which allowed terrible players such as myself to make it through the game in its entirety without too much trouble (I seem to remember still exhausting all 30 lives quite often). Then there was the magic little cartridge of Game Genie which allowed you even more opportunities to cheat your way through a game.

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I had many favorite NES games, including Vegas Dream, Platoon and Micro Machines.

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However, the game I sunk the most time into on the NES was Tecmo Super Bowl. There was nothing more exciting than sitting around the living room having tournaments. The game was incredibly fun to play, and the overall presentation was amazing! The cut scenes for touchdowns, field goals, interceptions, all of it was unlike anything else. What’s more, the music was epic, especially during the Super Bowl. The ability to play entire seasons was something very few games had, yet it was just as exciting to simulate to the playoffs and place “bets” on what teams you thought would make it there.

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There are so many more memories I could share, but I’d be writing all day. If a look back at the NES era of gaming has you feeling nostalgic, the guys over at Man Crates have something just for you! If you haven’t heard of Man Crates, you should definitely check them out. They offer an incredibly unique gift experience for just about any type of person you could think of. Whether they be into the outdoors, survival, grilling or gaming, Man Crates has something fun and unique that the recipient will love. Their signature crates are just that, wooden crates that require a crow bar (included to open) filled with plenty of goodies.

Man Crates wants gift giving to be fun and they want to create a unique experience that you won’t get with any sort of traditional gift package. Just reading the descriptions of some of their crates made me laugh, and it’s nice to see a company that doesn’t take themselves too seriously (yet they’re certainly serious about providing a quality gift experience).

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Man Crates offers a retro gamer crate that includes a console that can play NES games, in addition to two randomly selected NES cartridges and an assortment of candy to compliment a late night classic gaming session. Any gamer in your life would certainly be delighted to receive this package. I know I would!

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If Man Crates were to create more retro gaming crates I think it would be neat to see crates centered around certain franchises, such as Mario, maybe featuring figurines, posters and similar items in a addition to a game or two.

I was contacted by a member of the Man Crates staff who asked if I wouldn’t mind creating a post talking about gaming nostalgia. After checking out the Man Crates website I knew that I couldn’t resist sharing this company with anyone who might happen to read this. I wasn’t offered anything to write this, I simply thought Man Crates was too cool not to share with you! 

Gumballs Plays: Side Pocket

Side Pocket was one of my favorite games on the NES. It had addicting music and the right amount of challenge to keep you trying to get further and get a higher score every time. I don’t think I’ve ever made it to the last round, though it’s never frustrated me to the point where I want to stop playing. To this day Side Pocket is still an enjoyable experience that I never get tired of.

A NES Birthday Surprise!

 

 

 

 

 

So yesterday for my birthday I received a case of my favorite beer from back home (not available anywhere but the East Coast) and to my surprise, a restored and completely functioning NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). I haven’t touched an actual NES since mine stopped working sometime in the early 90’s. I, like many, have relived old NES games via emulators, but there’s just something special about putting a cartridge into a NES and seeing it in all its 8-bit glory on your TV. Surprisingly it manages to look pretty good on an HDTV when hooked up via A/V cables (though it’s slightly distorted since the TV I tried it on last night scaled it to widescreen. Using the coax hookup keeps the 4:3 ratio but gets fuzzy here and there).

I picked up a handful of games last night at a mom and pop video game store, and they were surprisingly cheap (Zelda being the most expensive of the bunch at $15). I’m going to check out the other store in town today to see if I can add anything more to my new collection.

 

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Also, I thought I’d share two anomalies from last night:

At P.F. Changs I mixed up our fortune cookies before opening them….It turns out we got the exact same fortune…Creepy!

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and then this:

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