Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NES Replay: 1987

There were some good games for the NES between 1985-6, but in 1987 the NES exploded. In one year, Castlevania, Kid Icarus, The Legend of Zelda, Arkanoid, Metroid, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! and Mega Man all hit the NES. That's an amazing run of games probably unequaled since, all in one year on one system.

Even more impressively, Nintendo didn't need to prop up the NES anymore. In the beginning, if a good game needed to come out for the system, they had to make it. Not so anymore. Nintendo now had the flexibility to lay back and make games at their own pace, investing more time and money into providing big experiences instead of tossing games out just because something had to be released.

The downside of this was that other companies started to take notice. From this point on, the highs of the NES would get higher and higher, but the lows would get lower. The NES looked like a big, fat sack of money, and making a game for the NES could make you rich. This brought out the opportunists and cynics, who put crap on a cartridge and expected it to sell. Sadly, a lot of times it worked.

However, that shouldn't temper what turned into one of the best console years ever. We'll anoint 1987 as the Year the NES Came Around.

Notable events:

January: Aretha Franklin is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
March: U2 releases The Joshua Tree.
April: The first Simpsons cartoons are televised.
June: Margaret Thatcher is elected to a third term.
June: Ronald Reagan tells Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."
August: Michael Jackson releases Bad.
September: Star Trek: The Next Generation premieres.
November: Workers rebel against the communist regime led by Nicolae Ceaucescu.

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