Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Long before Bejeweled and Fruit Ninja became an app; prior to players uploading their highest scores from Temple Run; preceding the holiday season, when everyone thought Angry Birds accessories were great gift suggestions, home arcade games were already a staple of Nintendo. Like the kids of today, an entire generation got hooked with their 42-in-1s. These cartridges are where these games were bundled.

The gameplay is simple. Computer graphics are made of software sprites. Animation is rudimentary. Though the objectives are repetitive, the difficulty increases with each game bosses defeated. We don't pay attention to high scores yet, but we try our best to reach the farthest levels.

The five video games I pick, though vintage by today's standards had shaped my gaming preference. They may not be the best, not even the most popular. But they did get me hooked, turned me into a video game addict, and opened my eyes to more interesting video games I would play much later in life. 

Raid on Bungeling Bay
Brøderbund, 1985

Raid on Bungeling Bay lets you control a helicopter that launches from an aircraft carrier. The helicopter shoots pea-sized bullets and carries nine bombs, which you have to drop on factories scattered across the island-world. To complete a level, a player needs to destroy all the factories. He should also avoid getting shot by the enemy. A word of caution: the longer it takes to bomb these factories, the more defenses the enemy constructs. Soon you may find your aircraft carrier being bombarded by jet planes, which you have to chase and shoot with your feeble projectiles.

Trivia: Raid on Bungeling Bay was the first game developed by Will Wright. He is the creator of the Sims, which is my current, time-consuming and expensive video game addiction.

Konami, 1985

For a long time this question bothered me: Am I controlling a spacecraft or a bee - that has been turned into a robot? But the confusion didn't matter. The clean, cartoon-like graphics had already got me hooked.

TwinBee is a vertical-scrolling shooting game. You fire at the clouds and a bell tumbles out. Shooting these bells result in a change in color. A different color corresponds to a power-up. This is how you upgrade your weapons.

The game is different from other "jet themed" shooting games as you get to deal with silly-looking enemies. There are the collision-loving flying turnips and eggplants with propellers. There are also pine cones on the ground that shoot projectiles. There is a big boss too, which you have to defeat to complete a level. So challenging the game was (enemy projectiles were everywhere, I swear) that I was only able to reach level 3.

TwinBee can be played by two-players simultaneously.

Front Line
Taito, 1984

Well, the turtleshell-wearing protagonist walks stupid. He wields a funny gun with a crooked barrel. He shoots bullets that look more like a dash. There is no background music, which makes you go ho-hum, and the sprites are terrible. So trashy Front Line is that spending just five seconds alone is enough to send you picking another game such as Battle City.

But as far as I know, Front Line is one of the few NES games that lets you mount a tank, which you can use to run over enemy soldiers. In those days, controlling a machine with your player inside was unheard of -  You can also hurl grenades and occupy rival bases to reach the next level.

Looking back, I don't understand how I get to like this game. Maybe it was so unbelievably ugly, that after telling myself over and over, that this game is not as bad as everyone thinks, (this game is addictive... I say this game is addictive!) I eventually found it good.

Nintendo, 1984

You are given a lousy motorbike that it is prone to overheating. There is a race track with ramps of different heights and angles. And there is a time-limit when you race alone or with CPU-controlled bikes. The objective is to beat your record.

That is how the game is supposed to work.

But what makes Excitebike truly game-worthy is the design mode. Not only did the feature allow you to create your own race track, the design mode had put creativity and imagination into the game. (try adding the largest ramps next to one another, let your bike climb over it and see what happens) I had so much fun making my own racetrack that I have completely forgotten the race:

"I say let's postpone the championship, let me put up the most wicked racetrack first!"

City Connection
Jaleco, 1985

City Connection is one of those racing games I played a few times. But it left an impression so deep, I would remember the video game long after it was shelved by its creators.

The gameplay is quite simple. A player drives a Honda City across floating bars representing roads. Each road segment turns white as you pass over them. However, police cars are everywhere and a collision with them sends your car into sure oblivion. Together with cats and spikes, they form the obstacles of each level.

Police cars can be bumped off the screen. To do this, you must hit the police car with an oil can. These cans can be collected while you cover the bar sections. Cats and spikes are immune to these weapons.

The race car doesn't have a break. The only way you can go back and drive over missed segments is to make it do a 180-degree turn. It can also jump from road bar to another.


john stan said...

Circus Charlie was the first ever game I was able to play using NES. SuperMario became boring when I learned to get a hundred lives.

And yeah, my favorite games use this code - Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Select Start.

Yuan said...

load runner, road fighter, galaxian, pac-man, super mario, contra, battle city, twin bee, excitebike. the games my lil' bro and i used to play together back then.

your post makes me reminisce and relish my early childhood days, kuya joms.


Leo said...

I played Battle City when I was in grade 5. :) The featured games were actually developed when we're like toddlers no? Haha

Sirius said...


itsMePeriod said...

family computer! me likey excite bike....the vrrrrrrooooooooommmm sound and the cheats!

Garpppy Garp said...

I played all of these! Haha! Namiss ko bigla ang City Connection :)

린코 said...

I frickin love Twin Bee and Mappy!!! haha.

And those games were made years before I was even born... OUCH...

Guyrony said...

You forgot B-wings.

Double Dragon was a favorite of mine too.

Good times Joms, good times.

daniel the jagged little egg said...

I love Pac Man and Super Mario Hehe : ) I love Twin Bee too!

Nahihirapan ako sa Circus diko alam kung bakit..

baste said...

Gusto ko din ang Twin Bee. I used to play it sa machine na maghuhulog ka lang ng piso then you can enjoy na in 4 minutes.

I also liked bomber man, super mario...

Mugen said...


I'm supposed to add Bomber Man, but I know a lot of readers know the game kasi. hehe.


Circus Charlie, ultimate good-vibes game. Sama mo pa yung Pooyan. Hehe


Good times indeed. Double Dragon yata is Sega na, correct me if I'm wrong. Hehe.

B-Wings, okay rin yun!

Mugen said...


I wonder what year were u able to play Mappy and TwinBee. Hehe.


Na-surprise ako na alam mo yung City Connection. Haha. :)


Hehe. Di ko alam na may cheat pala ang ExciteBike. :)

Mugen said...


Yup. Only learned about it after writing this entry. Haha. So may Family Computer ka pala noon?


Ang daming alam na games ah! Actually, medyo nahirapan ako mamili ng mga games na isasama ko. Nandun yung Sky Destroyer, Balloon Fight, Goonie saka Popeye.

John Stan:

You mean Contra? Hehe. Naalala ko, natapos namin siya almost midnight na. Tapos medyo na-depress ako sa ending.

Super Mario 1 ba yung may 100 lives?

Kiks said...

hahahahahaha. fond memories of family computer.

after leaving high school at 2:50PM, i'd walk straight to Recto to play my favorite games, one of them Kage no Densetsu, aka The Legend of Kage.

at pag naubos ang pera, walkathon. lol.

Mugen said...


Mama!! Alam ko yang Legend of Kage. Yan ang isa sa mga unang bala na nabili ko. Hehehe.