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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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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Super Mario Bros. [1985/09/13] |Famicom|

I’m pretty sure you already heard that music in your head before playing the audio file. It is burned into all our brains! The impact that Super Mario Bros has had on modern culture is astounding. And why shouldn’t it be? SMB defined the platformer genre and inspired generations of games. Although not the first platformer, it stands in history as the iconic grandfather of platformers and is the earliest memory I have from my childhood. Before I could even speak full sentences I was already defeating Bowser. Click “read more” to go down the pipe and take a look.

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