Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

Mike Tyson Punchout Title Screen

Released for the NES in 1987 by Nintendo. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out is one of the most fun sports games released for the Nintendo. You play as the new comer “Little Mac”. You need to fight your way up the ranks to prove you are worthy of a title shot with the champion Mike Tyson.

The gameplay is excellent. Little Mac has to win his way to the top by defeating lowly opponents all the way up to the world champ Mike Tyson.

Each opponent you face has their own special moves, and their patterns you need to learn. This keeps the game fresh and fun to play.

The graphics are well drawn and give each opponent their own personality and style. The game sprites are large and the animation is well done.

The music and sound effects are nothing spectacular, but they get the job done effectively. The play control is simple to learn and it’s tight and responsive which adds to the overall game experience.

This game is one of the best ever released for the NES and it actually got a re-release after the license expired with Mike Tyson. After that the game was known only as “Punch-out” and instead of fighting Mike Tyson as the final opponent you fought Mr. Dream.

This game was so successful that it has spawned unrelated sequels on the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo Wii. You really can’t go wrong by adding this game to your collection. It holds up to the test of time, and it’s still as fun to play as when it was new.

Password to fight Mike Tyson right away:
007 373 5963

Mike Tyson Punchout
Mike Tyson Punchout
Mike Tyson Punchout Title Screen
Mike Tyson Punchout Title Screen
Mike Tyson Punchout Gameplay TKO
Mike Tyson Punchout Gameplay TKO
Mike Tyson Punchout Results
Mike Tyson Punchout Results

Contra

Contra Title Screen

Contra was released for the NES in 1988 by Konami. Contra is one of the best side scrolling shooter games for the NES. It’s a game that defines what a side scrolling shooter should be. Contra is a port of the Konmai arcade game of the same name.

The gameplay in Contra is fast paced and exciting. There’s never a dull moment and always an enemy that needs to be taken out. It’s fun as a one player game, but as a 2 player game it’s outstanding. To me it’s just so much more fun with a partner because you can split up and take down the aliens together. To me, the nostalgic memories of playing Contra with a friend and seeing how fast you can complete the game will last a lifetime.

Contra will also be remembered for the infamous Konami code. The “Contra Code” as some people call it give you for 30 lives which made the game so much easier. The code is: Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start.

The graphics are well drawn and bright and colorful. The environments are very detailed and keep you immersed in the action.

The sound and music is outstanding. From the gun shots to the explosions it all sounds right. The music is catchy and classic with it still being used in remixed form to this day. Any of the stage music would fit right in on your iPod.

The game control is near perfect with everything feeling tight and responsive.

Contra is without a doubt one of the best NES games. It’s a valuable NES game if you have it in your collection but it still is priced inexpensively enough for most any retro gamer’s budget.

Since it’s one of my favorite NES games of all time, I own a nearly mint complete in box (CIB) copy that is a treasured part of my personal game collection.

Contra by Konami for the NES complete in box (CIB)
Contra by Konami for the NES complete in box (CIB)

Contra Title Screen
Contra Title Screen

Contra Nintendo NES Gameplay
Contra Nintendo NES Gameplay

Double Dragon

Double Dragon Title Screen

Released for the NES in 1988 by Tradewest

Double Dragon for the Nintendo NES is a port of the arcade game of the same name. Since it was a port going from the arcade to the NES some of the game content had to be dropped due to the limitations of the NES.

One of the things that was dropped in the arcade to NES port unfortunately was 2 player simultaneous play during the normal game mode. Instead a 2 player versus mode was included but it wasn’t as good as the regular 2 player cooperative mode could’ve been.

The gameplay was still as fun and fast paced and depending on who you talked to it was more fun than the arcade game.

The story is that your girlfriend has been kidnapped and you need to save her. The gameplay is pretty balanced and has a nice experience system where you get points based on the kind of attacks you use on your enemies. Every time you gain 1000 experience points you get a heart which is equivalent to “leveling up”. Each heart designates a new move added to your character’s arsenal.

The graphics are colorful and detailed for a fairly early NES game. The play control is tight and responsive and each move is easy to pull off. The sounds effects and the music are also well done with some of the stage’s tracks being memorable.

This game is pretty challenging but most players will be able to finish the game with enough practice. This isn’t an expensive game for collectors and it should be in your retro game collection if you want one of the best NES beat em up games.

Double Dragon Title Screen
Double Dragon Title Screen
Double Dragon Mission 1
Double Dragon Mission 1
Double Dragon Kidnapped

Athena – Worst NES Games

Athena Nintendo NES Title Screen

Released for the NES in 1987 by SNK

Athena for the Nintendo NES was a port of developer SNK’s arcade game Athena. The arcade game was only released in Japan. It was know for being a decent fun game. The NES port of the arcade is horrible.

It was an early port for SNK who in the end made a few good NES games like Crystalis. Anyway Athena sucks and here’s why…

The gameplay and controls are the worst problem about this game. You start out with this crappy baseball type weapon that as you kill enemies can be upgraded to whatever the enemy happens to drop.

One of the best weapons is the sword but the problem is once you get one you are likely to die immediately. The game spawn enemies endlessly and in really bad positions like right next to your character sometimes. It’s really cheap and annoying.

The other problem is that when you take damage you don’t turn invincible for a second or two so you can get wiped out if you get stuck in between enemies. The controls are stiff and just a pain to use.

All in all, if you want to play a crappy Nintendo NES game try Athena!

Athena Nintendo NES Cart
Athena Nintendo NES Cart
Athena Nintendo NES Title Screen
This is the title screen for Athena
Athena Nintendo NES Gameplay Pic
Athena Nintendo NES Gameplay Pic

Castlevania

Castlevania Title Screen

Released for the NES in 1987 by Konami Castlevania is an action adventure platformer for the NES. This game was the beginning of one of the most famous video game franchises of all time.

You play as Simon Belmont a vampire hunter who’s quest is to destory the evil Count Dracula. Simon’s main form of attack is a whip that can be upgraded in size and power. Simon also gets additional usuable weapons which include axes, knives, boomerangs, holy water, and a stop watch to freeze time.

There are several levels to be completed and each level has an end boss to defeat. The end bosses consist of a giant vampire bat, Medussa, Mummies, Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, and finally Count Dracula himself.

The graphics look nice for an early NES game. They aren’t all that impressive but they definitely get the job done. The levels are well drawn and designed to keep the gameplayer immersed in the action.

The control is tight and responsive. One thing that frustrates many gamers is when Simon gets hit by an enemy he will “bounce” back which can lead to many deaths due to falling in pits or into water. This gameplay mechanic definitely makes the game tougher but it doesn’t feel cheap or like it’s a bad design.

The music is truly classic. Castlevania has some of the best music on the NES. The newer games in the series pay homage and include remixes of this classic’s 8 bit tracks.

Castlevania is priced affordably so it should be within the budget of all retro gamers. This is one game that belongs in any retro gaming collection.

Konami Castlevania Box For Nintendo Entertainment System
Konami Castlevania Box For Nintendo Entertainment System
Konami Castlevania Box Rear For Nintendo Entertainment System
Konami Castlevania Box Rear For Nintendo Entertainment System

Castlevania Title Screen
Castlevania Title Screen

Castlevania Opening
Castlevania Opening

Castlevania Gameplay
Castlevania Gameplay

The Legend of Zelda

Zelda Title Screen

Released for the NES in 1986 by Nintendo

Zelda gameplay video

Nintendo NES The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo NES The Legend of Zelda

The legend of Zelda is indeed one of the best Nintendo NES Games. The length of the Legend of Zelda and the quality of the gameplay is what make this game stand the test of time. There’s rupies to collect and items to buy to help you on your quest.

You need to rescue Princess Zelda who has been captured by the Evil Ganon. There are 8 levels to explore and many items to find. Each level has it’s own special item in it for you to collect. Not every level is open and some levels require certain items in order to enter the level.

One of the best things about the Legend of Zelda was after you beat the game you got to start a second quest. The gameplay was more difficult on the second quest and items and levels where moved around. This game the Legend of Zelda a lot of replay value.

Zelda Title Screen
Zelda Title Screen
Zelda Level 1 Item
Zelda Level 1 Item
Zelda Level 1 Map
Zelda Level 1 Map
Zelda Level 1 Bow
Zelda Level 1 Bow
Zelda Level 1 Triforce
Zelda Level 1 Triforce
Zelda Menu Screen
Zelda Menu Screen

How to take apart (open) the Nintendo NES-001 (Toaster)

Nintendo NES with top cover removed
Nintendo NES
Nintendo Toaster NES

It’s very easy to take apart the original toaster style Nintendo NES. You only need a standard Phillips screw driver and optionally a dental pick tool.

Nintendo NES Tools
Nintendo NES Tools
  1. Flip the NES on it’s top and remove the 6 screws from the bottom of the NES
  2. Remove the top of the NES and set the NES on it’s bottom like normal
  3. Remove the 6 screws holding on the metal shielding
    Nintendo NES top cover removed exposing metal cover
    Nintendo NES top cover removed exposing metal cover

  4. Remove the cartridge caddy by removing the 6 screws that hold it in place. Take note that the 2 silver screws are longer and remember to put them back in the same spot.
    Nintendo NES with top cover removed
    Nintendo NES with top cover removed
    Nintendo NES view of game cartridge caddy
    Nintendo NES view of game cartridge caddy
    NES Repair remove game cartridge caddy step: a
    NES Repair remove game cartridge caddy step: a
    Nintendo NES remove game cartridge caddy step: b
    Nintendo NES remove game cartridge caddy step: b
    Nintendo NES View of Motherboard and 72 pin connector. Game cartridge caddy removed.
    Nintendo NES View of Motherboard and 72 pin connector. Game cartridge caddy removed.
  5. Remove the last 2 screws that are located near where the power supply and component cables plug in.
  6. Now you can remove the motherboard from the NES.
    Nintendo NES Motherboard with 72 pin connector removed
    Nintendo NES Motherboard with 72 pin connector removed
    Nintendo NES Motherboard Removed
    Nintendo NES Motherboard Removed

How to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair Nintendo NES common problems

How a Nintendo NES game cartridge looks in the 72 pin connector
Nintendo NES Toaster
Nintendo NES Toaster

A very common problem for the original style “toaster” NES is when you put in a game and turn on the NES that you only get a blinking red power light and the system won’t play the game…This symptom can be caused by multiple factors so lets first understand what’s really going on here.

Nintendo installed a lockout chip (also known as the C.I.C. Chip) on the motherboard of the toaster NES. Note: The newer style “Top Loader” NES does NOT have a lockout chip on the motherboard. Nintendo implemented the lockout chip to try to stop non licensed games from being produced for the NES. Because of this lockout chip every officially licensed NES game has a chip in the game cartridge that syncs with the NES’s Lockout chip when you turn on the NES. When you turn on the NES the lockout chip on the motherboard looks to sync with the game chip. If the game doesn’t have the chip present the NES will then restart once every second because it “thinks” you have a non licensed game. Now that you understand the lockout chip and how it works you can better understand how to fully diagnose the NES.

Nintendo NES Motherboard Version 10 from 1987
Nintendo NES Motherboard Version 10 from 1987
NES Motherboard with Lockout CIC Chip Highlighted
NES Motherboard with Lockout CIC Chip Highlighted

It’s pretty simple to disable the NES lockout chip. You need to open up the NES and get it down to the motherboard. I’ve attached a picture for you to see where the lockout chip is located on the NES motherboard. All you need to do is cut pin 4 on the lockout chip. The way I cut it was by using a pick tool (looks like the one a dentist uses to scrape your teeth). All I did was pull pin 4 out of the chip and viola! No more NES lockout chip! Once you do this your NES will not restart once every second if you don’t insert a game.

Nintendo NES Motherboard after Lockout Chip (CIC chip) has been cut
Nintendo NES Motherboard after Lockout Chip (CIC chip) has been cut
NES Lockout CIC Chip Close Up View
NES Lockout CIC Chip Close Up View

Repair Nintendo Problems

Another common problem with the NES is a bad connection between the game and the NES motherboard itself. This is caused by the infamous “72 Pin Connector” that the Toaster NES has. This connector is very sensitive to dirt and dust and dirty connections will almost always be the culprit. Sometimes the 72 pin connector itself is bad due to it getting bent or broken but this is more rare and a good cleaning should at least be tried to restore it back to original functionality.

I hate the Nintendo NES 72 pin connector from the Toaster!
I hate the Nintendo NES 72 pin connector from the Toaster!

Once you take apart the NES you need to slide off the 72 pin connector. Just wiggle it back and forth until it slides off.

Pulling the 72 pin connector off the Nintendo NES motherboard
Pulling the 72 pin connector off the Nintendo NES motherboard

With the 72 pin connector off the NES motherboard you can now clean the pins with a 50/50 mix of alcohol. I’ve always had good luck with the 50/50 alcohol but there are other ways you can do it. I dipped Qtips in alcohol and then scrubbed off the pins on the motherboard. Using the other end of the Qtip or a clean rag wipe off the contacts until they are clean and dry. As you scrub the contracts your Qtip will turn black. The black is all the dirt and crud accumulated of the 25 plus years the NES has been around.

Now that the NES motherboard is clean you can turn your attention to the actual 72 pin adapter. Over time it gets worn out and dirty so the first thing you want to do is clean it off using the same 50/50 alcohol.

The infamous Nintendo NES 72 pin connector in all it's glory!
The infamous Nintendo NES 72 pin connector in all it's glory!

Take a Qtip and dip it in the alcohol and run it over both rows of pins on the 72 pin connector. Use the other dry end of the Qtip to scrub the rows clean and dry. Just like when you clean the NES motherboard your Qtip will turn black.

Since the toaster NES has you put in the games and then press the game down into place, this bends the pins on the connector over time. They get stuck bent down and it give you little or no connection from the game to the motherboard. To fix this you can use a dental pick or a very small flat blade screw driver to bend these pins back up into place.

How a Nintendo NES game cartridge looks in the 72 pin connector
How a Nintendo NES game cartridge looks in the 72 pin connector

Castlevania 3 Dracula’s Curse

Castlevania 3 Title Screen

Castlevania 3 released for the NES in 1990 by Konami . If you enjoyed the first Castlevania for the NES then you will love this installment!

Dracula’s curse plays more like the original Castlevania than Castlevania 2 did. A nice new feature is the ability to get an extra playable character. During your quest you will be presented with the oppurtunity to allow others to join you. You are allowed one extra character at a time. Switching characters is a nice feature and it adds new interest and spin on the gameplay.

This game is a lot more difficult than it’s predecessors.

Castlevania 3 Title Screen
Castlevania 3 Title Screen
Castlevania 3 Opening
Castlevania 3 Opening

Castlevania 3 Intro
Castlevania 3 Intro
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Castlevania 3 Gameplay
Castlevania 3 Gameplay

Nintendo NES 1 VS NES 2 – Differences in the Toaster VS the Top Loader

Nintendo NES Control Deck Box

This article will include information on both the original NES, sometimes referred to as the “Toaster NES” and the NES 2 usually referred to as the “Top Loader”.

Nintendo NES Control Deck Box
Nintendo NES Control Deck Box
Nintendo NES Action Set in Box
Nintendo NES Action Set in Box

The toaster came out in 1985 in the US. It was test marketed around the U.S. in New York and California.

Nintendo NES Top Loader Box
Nintendo NES Top Loader Box
Nintendo NES Top Loader and Controllers
Nintendo NES Top Loader and Controllers
Nintendo NES Top Loader in open box
Nintendo NES Top Loader in open box

The Top loader came out in 1993. It does have several differences from the original NES:

  • Only RF output
  • No Power LED
  • New “Dog Bone” style controllers

The Top Loader is more rare but the funny thing is the Toaster gives a better video signal due to it having composite out (instead of RF Out only like the Top Loader has). You can mod the Top Loader to have composite out like the Toaster so that’s something to think about.