I finally found the second T&C Surf Design game. Even though it was made by LJN I still loved playing the first one and just had to have the second one Thrilla’s Surfari. It’s more of a platformer type game and just not as good as the first one. You play as Thrilla Gorilla trying to save your girlfriend from a witch doctor. There are skate boarding levels, surfing levels, and even a shark riding level. I have only played it for a few minutes and didn’t get very far. I am going to give it a few more tries but now I am leaning on labeling this one in the Nintendohard category along with Battletoads and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The only way to beat games in this category is to cheat.
My next find was StarTropics. I loved this game and can not wait to play it again. The plot is that you are trying to save your archeologist uncle named Dr. Jones who has been kidnapped by aliens. The Indiana Jones reference is what made me buy the game back in 1991. What’s odd about this game is that it looks like an RPG but has a very linear storyline broken up into chapters. You talk to people in the towns like an RPG but fight in the dungeons like Zelda. Also if you play this game remember the code 747. The code was on a piece of paper that came with the game that you had to put in water to read. I never did figure that out, I wound up calling the Nintendo help line and they told me.
I am a sucker for unlicensed Nintendo carts and found two of them, Stunt Kids and The Ultimate Stuntman. They were both made by Codemasters and released by Camerica. Codemasters is reportedly the oldest British gaming company and is known for producing budget titles and for creating the Game Genie. Surprisingly these two budget title games are pretty well done. I was expecting something horrible and was pleasantly surprised. The graphics look great but the game play is pretty simple which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Camerica carts were designed to bypass the NES lockout chip by sending out signals to the chip that froze it up. All of the carts produced by Camerica are gold or silver and have a switch in the back so that you can play it on European or North American consoles. There is also a weird hump on the back that makes it stand out when I put it on the shelf. I also like the fact the warning on the back says “Do not drop. Do not get wet. Do not leave in direct sunlight.” For some reason this makes me laugh. I tried to get a scan of it but due to the hump it won’t scan well.
It was December 1987, my sister Melynda was coming home from college on Christmas break and she had a box with my name on it. A few weeks earlier we had been to visit and while shopping I saw this new video game system called the Nintendo. I’d never heard or seen it before and I mentioned that I NEEDED it. When Melynda walked through the door with that box I used my jedi mind tricks on her and asked if that was my Nintendo. “Who told you?!?” she screamed. “You just did HAHAHA”. Since I already knew what it was she let me open it and my world changed. For a couple of weeks we played the hell out of Gyromite with R.O.B. and Duck Hunt. To this day I can max the score on skeet shooting.
I did eventually pay my sister back for getting me my first Nintendo. A couple of weeks after the Wii was released I got up at 4AM to stand in line for hours to get her and her kids one.
I’m working on restoring my deluxe set. I now have Duck Hunt, Gyromite, a grey Zapper, and I never lost my original R.O.B. Some of his parts are missing but that’s what Ebay is for.
A couple of weeks after I got my Nintendo I went shopping with my Grandma Rentz to buy a system for my cousins. We searched all over Augusta but either the stores had never heard of a Nintendo or they were sold out. It seems that in 1987 most places weren’t giving video games a chance after the crash of 84. We finally found one at a department store called Sky City. While Grandma was checking out I was looking at the games in the glass counter. As I recall then there were just a few but one stood out. It was gold and it had an awesome name, “The Legend of Zelda”. Apparently my Grandma saw the look in my eye or maybe drool on my chin and she bought it for me. I bet she didn’t realize that 24 years later I would still be playing it. Thanks Grandma.
Zelda helped me and my Dad bond when I was in high school since he loved playing it as much as I did. The first week we had it I woke the old man up at 3 in the morning because I found the power bracelet. Much to my mothers surprise he got out of bed and had me show him where it was. Dad and I used to compete to see who could win the game the fastest. We averaged about 3 hours to complete both quests without dying. People would call our house to get help with the game and if I wasn’t home Dad could tell them what to do.
One night Dad was playing and he got a fire call. He was the chief of the local fire department and he just paused the game and we took off. About six hours later we come home to find Link in the same spot. Mom was scared to mess with it and ruin Dads game so she just muted the television and read a book. Good times.
Click the image to the right to see a fantastic banner showing the history of this remarkable series.