Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A NES tale

This will be my first entry in what I hope will become a regular collection of thoughts (random or otherwise) about my growing NES collection. I am in no rush to build a vast catalogue of games as my main interest is to work through a large collection that I love to play. Of course to select these games I won’t be picking them at random but actually doing a bit of research where possible, maybe even taking recommendations from folks that view this blog. Who knows? Only time will tell.

Some of you might even be wondering why I would even pick the NES to collect for. Well for me it goes back many moons to the late 80’s. The NES craze was really starting to take off, kids at school were going nuts to get their hands on them come Xmas morning. I can still remember the frustration of pestering my parents to buy one of the newly released Turtles compilation packs then tearing down the stairs, diving under the tree and tearing off the wrapping to find....a Sega Master System with Enduro Racer.

At the time I was disappointed (I was only 9 years old!) but after a few games on Enduro Racer it was all forgotten. Talking to my folks many years later I was told a sorry tale of how they traversed storm conditions, late night openings and travelling many miles trying to get their hands on a NES yet finding them sold out no matter where they went. I can only compare it to the Buzz Light Year doll of its day. I still have fond memories of that SMS so thanks Mum!

A few months later and a friend of mine managed to get a hold of a NES for a birthday present. It came with Super Mario and Turtles, what followed was months of pestering, hanging round his house and completing whatever game he managed to get his hands on. On a couple of occasions I managed to finish several of his games before he did.

Fast forward 20 or so years later reading the retro section of Rllmukforum and here I was staring at a few listings on EBay at titles I used to own, curious as to what it would be like to play these games again. The problem with the NES on a whole is that hardware wise it’s pretty unreliable. The cartridge connector failing is a well known fault which causes the grey, blinking screens and flashing red light, the 80’s version of the 360’s red rings of death.

Back in August 2007 I organised a retro event called Retro North and whilst there I had a friendly chap called Andy who came along and held a store for his company Consolepassion with a knack for modifying retro systems. Visiting his website I noticed he was selling modified NES consoles with brand new cartridge connectors! A snip at £40 I thought as I wouldn’t have to bother hacking a NES to bits or paying to import the connector. So out came the credit card and one order later the NES was winging its way to me.

Now this modified NES allows me to play any UK or US game, no title is out of reach! So NES games beware, there’s a new blogger in town.

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