I'd been meaning to do formal lists of my favorite games for each console I've owned for awhile. Why? Lists are fun, I suppose. In light of the fact I'm tired and not particularly inspired, now seems as good a time as any to start. I might as well work chronologically, so it's the old NES first. The title of each game will be a link to a post I wrote about it, assuming there is one.
5. Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle
4. Mega Man 4
3. Super Dodgeball
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game
1. Kirby's Adventure
OK, one thing I might as well admit up front is, if I couldn't beat a game, it isn't likely to make the Top 5. Not saying there won't be games like that on here. I've never beaten Mega Man 4, and 2 months ago, I hadn't beaten Ninja Turtles 2. Still, I am competitive enough that repeated failures are bound to frustrate me, and may eventually sour me on a game*.
That's a sort of survival/puzzle game, a platformer, a sports game, a beat em' up, and another platformer. We're still years away from my discovering the fun of first-person shooters (during junior high and high school, which is probably significant), or RPGs (which came even later). The only NES game I can think of I had that wouldn't fit in the 4 categories above is Duck Hunt, and I did not like that dog. Always pointing and laughing. One day, dog, I'm just gonna leave you at the wetland. If you're lucky. . .
Ahem. Without really thinking about it, I'd always kind of assumed I liked Mega Man 4 for the ability to use your enemies' powers against them. But I remembered I hardly ever did that. Mega Man's versions of the boss attacks were so much weaker than the originals it hardly seemed worth it. I think I only used them out of desperation. I did love the music though (especially Skull Man's level), and I'm sure the idea of my dog being able to transform into a jet a help me out held a certain appeal (I played some Mega Man 2 earlier this spring, and was surprised/disappointed when Rush wasn't there to help. Guess he hadn't been introduced yet).
One thing I didn't mention when I celebrated beating Turtles 2, that I had brought up in the post linked above, is that jump-kicking wasn't as flawless a strategy as I remembered it being. The Foot ninja were much better at timing their punches to coincide with my kicks and send me flying that I expected. Which didn't cause me to abandon that strategy: I still figure I have less chance of getting hit if I'm constantly in the process of jumping or kicking than if I'm standing still swinging a weapon. Memory's a tricky thing.
None of these games seem too hard in retrospect. I'm basing that on my ability to beat them. Well, not Mega Man 4, but all the others. Given my miserable track record with every other NES game I had, I assume these were relatively easy. Maybe they just required certain skills I actually had or, more likely, I'm forgetting how much time I put into beating some of them. I think unless there's something noteworthy about the setbacks, we tend to forget them in the aftermath of success (though we may still remember how narrow the margin of victory was).
* Case in point: I'm trying to beat Metroid Prime again right now, and after the 7th consecutive death at the hands of the Omega Pirate, I was getting a little fed up. I did beat it last night, so souring averted.