Top Five Friday: 90's Nintendo Games

Between the ages of 10 and 15, if I wasn't reading a book or doing my homework, I was playing video games. As many hours as I spent with my hands attached to a Super Nintendo controller or a Game Boy, I'm honestly surprised that I'm not that big of a gamer these days. As I went through high school and college, and even though I carted my system and Game Boy back and forth to my dorm each year, I started spending more and more of my time doing other, "more constructive" things. Now, I'm not saying that I think video games are necessarily bad or a waste of time - I actually think they're entertaining, can be a great stress reliever and can even be educational. A once avid reader of Nintendo Power, I'm now mostly unfamiliar with today's video game industry, but every now and then I do get an urge to pull out some of my favorite games from my youth - and that's what I'm sharing for today's Top Five Friday.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

I begged my parents for months to get me a Game Boy, and when they finally gave in and bought me one for Christmas, Link's Awakening was one of the games that came along with it. Stranded on Koholint Island after a storm destroys the boat he's traveling on, the hero, Link, must search the isolated landmass for the 8 instruments of the Sirens so he can wake the Wind Fish, the island's guardian, and return home. I'm embarrassed to admit when I first played it, I had no idea what to do, and it actually took me over a year to finish the game. Having no experience with RPG games and no access to the internet tutorials, I struggled on my own with each of the puzzling, maze-like dungeons and each nightmare creature Link had to battle in order to obtain the instruments. When I finally made way way to the top of Mt. Tamaranch, where the mysterious Wind Fish slumbered, and defeated the final evil Nightmare, I was ecstatic and proud that I had done it all by myself.

2. Mortal Kombat

Probably the bloodiest, most graphic game I played as a kid, my obsession for the Mortal Kombat series of games began in the arcade with the second installment. Once I found out, though, that the game was available for the Super Nintendo, I had to have it. From there, I tracked down and collected the first two games, and then eagerly anticipated the releases of Mortal Kombat 3 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Protecting the Earthrealm from the invasion of the Outworld Emperor, Shao Kahn, a batch of warriors, each with their own vendettas and reasons for competing, fight in a bloody, lethal tournament against gods, ninjas, cyborgs and four armed monsters. The gamer selects one of these characters and can fight one on one with another player, or advance up a ladder of challengers. I was so in to the game format that I thought up my own knock-off version, World Combat, and made up characters, each with their own powers and abilities, and drew them in notebooks.

3. Disney's Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse

I never actually owned a copy of this game until after college. I had befriended a couple sisters who moved in across the street, and when I discovered this game through them, I constantly invited myself over so I could play it. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure I was a horrible friend because of that. Anyway, in Disney's Magical Quest, Mickey searches his world for his missing dog, Pluto, who's been kidnapped by the evil emperor Pete. As he travels through a forest, a fiery cave, a mountain range and an icy arctic, he receives magical outfits that help him get through each level and defeat different monstrous manifestations of Pete. I remember loving this game so much that I finally bought my own copy as an adult...but I've actually never finished the game. I've come quite close to it though! As a kid, I actually found it pretty challenging, but I'm curious if, with my mature gamer understanding and skill, I'd be able to defeat Pete and get Pluto back for Mickey if I were to pick it up and play it today.

4. Super Mario World

What would be a list of Nintendo games without mention of Mario?! Bowser and his Kooplings have done it again! In Super Mario World, Mario and Luigi must interrupt their vacation and battle their way through Dinosaur Land to rescue the ever-vulnerable Princess Peach, kidnapped once again by King Koopa. My three siblings and I received our first Super Nintendo from our grandmother for Christmas, and this game was included in the package. I remember having to take turns playing, which often led to frustrations, fights and a few broken controllers. We even had to compete with our parents for playtime, as they took a liking to the game as well. I actually enjoyed playing all the Mario Brothers games - we also had a copy of Super Mario All-Stars, which has enhanced versions of all previous Mario releases.

5. Kirby's Dream Land

A cloud-like creature that floats around and ingests anything in its path, the adorable Kirby must travel through his Dream Land in pursuit of the gluttonous King Dedede, who's taken all the food from the world's inhabitants. This was another first that I got with the Game Boy, and another one that I didn't know exactly what to do with at first. It was probably one of the most frustrating games, simply because it lacks a save function. It's also one of those games in which, if you don't get every single power up or health, chances are, you weren't going to make it to the end - especially if you were an amateur, like I was. If I didn't have more than an hour to sit down and play it, I didn't bother, and I've actually only gotten through the entire game once. However, I thought Kirby - whatever he is - was pretty cool, and enjoyed the game immensely.

These were just a few of the Nintendo games that I spent hours playing as a kid, and the ones that I would probably pick up today if I found the time to do so. Now what about you? What video games do you remember playing as a kid? Which were your favorite? Comment below - I'd love to know!


  1. I loved Super Mario as well but I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for GameBoy Advance, Aladdin for GameBoy Advance, Duck Hunt for Super Nintendo, The Little Mermaid for Super Nintendo and PAC-MAN (of course).

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