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Classic Nintendo Revisited

by: Cameron Burry ; edited by: Benjamin Sell ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Understanding the past can help you understand the future. This is true in nearly every kind of history. Video game history is no exception. Understanding the past in classic video games can help you understand where they will be going in the future.

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    Classic Game Overview

    Zelda Box Art In 1947, the first video game was created by Thomas Goldsmith. His game was a simple radar system that allowed players to direct where missiles were to be fired during play. The game consisted of several blinking dots and a single button.

    Though Goldsmith did not realize it, he had just pioneered one of the most popular and influential media platforms that the world would see for the next 75 years and longer. From here, video games evolved with the creation of the Atari console as well as box arcade video games, which would inspire additional consoles in the later years. Nintendo would monopolize the video gaming industry for many years to come.

    The world of video games has a rich history that spells out the culture of gamers and would continue to do so for years to come. From the dark alleys of a local arcade to the comfort of your own basement, video games contain something for just about everything nowadays.

    However, the most contemporary and advanced video games of today have had some manner of influence from the video games of old. Understanding the list of classic Nintendo games as well as other pioneering video games will help any video game historian understand the influences that video games of past eras have had on current video game genres and types.

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    Pioneering Video Game List

    Though the classic Nintendo game list is probably the most extensive because of Nintendo’s long-standing dynasty, there are many other games that have prompted the creation of today’s genres and video game types. The main video game types of the first gaming era include role playing games, adventure games, action games and puzzle games.

    nintendo nes 

    • Zelda: More commonly known as “The Legend of Zelda” was one of the first and most influential role playing video games during the Nintendo beginnings. This game has been essential to pioneering the concept of taking the role of a hero to save the world from evil in some manner or another. It has been declared one of the greatest games of all time because of its highly innovative and unique role playing aspects, which were brand new at the time of its release. Though some role playing had been done in text-based video games before Zelda, this gaming franchise popularized the idea of graphical video game play in the role playing niche.
    • Mario: Everyone knows the little Italian plumber who jumps high and shoots fire from his fists. Mario was one of the first heroes in the adventure gaming genre. He goes through many levels and stages to save the princess from the evil Bowser. Unlike role playing games, players do not get to choose where they play or where they walk—they follow a linear line with an easy-to-understand story.
    • Tetris: Possibly the most popular and well-known game in the world, Tetris was the first truly popular puzzle game. Though there is little appeal to contemporary gamers, it is still a widely played game for those who want to turn their brains off and let the pieces fall. Tetris is the grandfather of all puzzle games and some strategy games as well.
    • Metroid: Metroid, though not the first shooting-style action game, was certainly one of the earlier and more influential ones. Action games consist of shooters and hack and slash video games, but Metroid was one of the first to perfect the art of action in a game. Though action games and adventure games are often combined into one genre, Metroid has inspired shooter games like Halo, Call of Duty, and other popular titles still played to this day.

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    Classic Influence on Contemporary Games

    Metroid Box Art Old style classic Nintendo games were ones that current game developers grew up playing. Most newer game developers spend hours in their rooms playing the high levels of Mario or trying to conquer Ganon one last time before they had to go to bed. Contemporary games all have their roots in their classic counterparts. Though the four classic genres have been subdivided hundreds of times since their original conception, all games can be consolidated into the original four genres in some way or another.

    When it comes down to it, all games currently played can be related to one of the original classic video games in some way. True, newer generations have become more action-oriented, even blasting and visually-striking video games have had major influences from games like Wolfenstein and Castlevania. No matter how new and flashy current games become, they all know where they came from: the classic and time-honored video games of the Golden Age of gaming.

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    Images courtesy of Nintendo.

    References from author's experience.