Video Game notes for 1987

Another WW II shooter

Electronic board game/adventure game based on Sherlock Holmes

Created by Origin Systems, who should have just stuck with Ultima

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Metal Gear [1987/07/13] |MSX2| HONORABLE MENTION

1987 was a very difficult year to evaluate. There were many, many great games that didn’t quite make the cut to receive a game appreciation article. Even more difficult was choosing which game ought to receive an honorable mention. I desperately wanted to include Final Fantasy, a buggy grind-fest, Contra, the game that popularized the Konami code because it’s unreasonably difficult, and Rock Man (Mega Man in the U.S.), which was a rough draft of the masterpiece Rock Man 2. I had to pick only one game, however, and for better or worse Metal Gear won out. So let’s take a look.

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Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! [1987-11-21] (Famicom)

It’s great to live in America, the land of opportunity, where any boy can grow up to be the queen. In the Punch-Out!! series, you play the role of underdog boxer “Little” Mac, a new, up-and-coming fighter set on claiming the championship title. But standing between you and the title is none other than world-renowned boxer and World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson! Lend me your ear and I’ll tell you why this game is amazing.

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Runners-up of 1986

Following the success of Super Mario Bros. in 1985/86, there was an explosion of games in the US, especially for the NES. Most of these, I must confess, were awful. But among the fields of thorns there were quite a few roses. These are the ones that almost made it into the bouquet, but had to be pruned off for the benefit of the fair recipient (that would be you).

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Dragon Quest [1986/05/27] |Nintendo Super Famicom, 1993/12/18| (x/Famicom) HONORABLE MENTION

A slime draws near! Command?

For this year’s Honorable Mention, let’s take a look at the grandfather of all Japanese RPGs. Dragon Quest, sometimes called “Japan’s national game” for its popularity, longstanding status as a classic, and its influence on the genre and industry.

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The Legend of Zelda [1986/02/21] |Famicom Disk System|

Every legend has a beginning. Some are more humble than others, but what almost all of them have in common is starting with a very rough first draft. The Legend of Zelda, on the other hand, seemed to hatch fully grown. Of course, it was still a first draft in that it established rules and conventions that later entries built upon, but a surprising amount of its structure began here. It seems to have everything: an open world that emphasizes exploration and secret-finding, items such as the ocarina and boomerang, the main cast of characters, and the instantly recognizable theme music that we couldn’t imagine going along with any other game. Let’s take a look at what made this first entry in the long-running series so legendary.

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