Nintendohemian Rhapsody

By Shamus Posted Monday Oct 29, 2012

Filed under: Movies 36 comments

I’m still feeling under the weather. See, I was sick, I got better, and then I got sick again. This weekend I did very little in the way of writing or breathing, both of which are required for me to live a full life.

To patch the hole this will leave in the blog this week, here is a tribute / remix / parody of a 1975 song, about a 1985 game system. It’s really quite good.

Link (YouTube)

I was never a Nintendo guy myself. I’m more the Atari generation, and while those first primitive efforts were sort of memorable as points in history, we never really had iconic characters the way the Nintendo kids did. By the time the NES rolled around in 1985, I’d gotten my hands on a computer and was learning to program. I wouldn’t play any console games until 2002, when I got my hands on a PS2.

Still, even without any first-hand experience I can see what a massive impact crater the NES made on our hobby, our culture, and especially on the kids that grew up with it. An amazing device.

Video spotted at Mary Sue.


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36 thoughts on “Nintendohemian Rhapsody

  1. spelley says:

    God that brought me back. Thanks for the video Shamus!

  2. Nimas says:

    Huh, didn’t realise from the initial screen that it had BrentalFloss in it. Admittedly I’ve only really seen his crossover with the Nostalgia Critic review (which was epic btw).

  3. bluught says:

    that reminds me, I really need to find a way to rediscover the first computer I played on. I might as well post this here, can’t hurt, can it?
    I’ve gone on several searches in the past few years but never discovered what model it was.

    I think it was IBM, but I’m not certain. What I am certain of is that it did nothing if you didn’t enter a floppy disk, it only had 3 colours (green, black and white), and the arrow keys were organised in a weird box formation^, rather than the standard of today. This was a machine that was probably purchased in the late 80s. The floppy disk drive, the keyboard and the computer were all one unit, with the display separate. Both devices were in black. I think the arrow icons were red, and triangle-shaped.

    Anyone have a clue?

    1. Bryan says:

      Hmm, 3 colors would have been surprising. Anything that can represent 3 colors in video RAM can represent 4 with no extra bits: 3 colors requires at least two bits, and two bits can fit four different values. Are you sure it wasn’t CGA, at 4 colors, with (IIRC) the choice of either black/cyan/magenta/white or black/green/red/yellow?

      It probably wasn’t CGA if the machine wasn’t an IBM compatible, of course…

      That particular arrow key combination isn’t ringing any bells either.

      Most of the entries in the IBM PC article on wikipedia have hard drives, too…

      Not very helpful, is my post. :-) Oh well.

    2. Peter H. Coffin says:

      That sounds almost like one of the MSX machines. A series of Z80-based machines made by many manufacturers in the early 1980s (mostly in the Far East), almost known for having all-in-one units (‘cept TV/display) with oddball cursor keys set up almost joystick-like. The early ones had kind of funky graphics quirks even more wacky than the Apple ][…

  4. Tse says:

    I started gaming playing Doom 2. Never had a console.

    1. Dasick says:

      Original Civ taught me how to read. Hard to be an illiterate overlord… :(

  5. rayen says:

    Always love some brentalfloss. funny comic they have too. Actually I dig the 8-bit version of supersonic man at the end more.

    1. Hitchmeister says:

      The name of the song is “Don’t Stop Me Now,” as any true Top Gear fan can tell you.

      1. rayen says:

        you are absolutely right and i am ashamed as a queen fan that got that wrong. Why did i think those were two different songs?

      2. MrGuy says:

        It’s the perfect song to beat zombies to.

  6. anaphysik says:

    Both of these things came out before I was born.

    But I have 1) casette-recordings of LPs and 2) dentists’ waiting rooms to thank for them both being in my life.

    Well, you know, besides reissuing as CDs and craigslist console listings :P


    And now for something completely different:

  7. baseless research says:

    I broke my gaming teeth on Prince of Persia (the original, 60minutes limited game), Lost Vikings, Doom and Sokoban.

    All pirated.

    My first legit game was Star wars: rebellion. My young innocent mind thought it was the best thing ever. How wrong I was…

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Star Wars Rebellion remains awesome, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I wish Galaxy at War had been that good.

      1. Josh says:

        Star Wars Rebellion had interesting gameplay mechanics and ideas that will forever remain marred in the annuls of gaming history by the one UI designer in the entire universe that thought Windows 3.1’s interface would make for a good strategy game.

        1. baseless research says:

          Well, that, and the AI is more brainless than your average morrowind npc.

          But it had ambition, and quite frankly it’s still today an interesting take on the 4X Genre.

          But it’s not nearly as good as my 9-year old self thought it was. (Although, from a certain point of view, it was worth losing in that game just to get the cutscene with the fleeing droids, especially with the “execution” if you were Imperial). Also, the introduction cutscenes were glorious and empowering.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            Don’t get me wrong -there’s plenty wrong with Rebellion. The strategy was OK, but the tactical component suffered many problems -from ship navigation to the utter lack of control over your fighter squadrons. The graphics didn’t even strike me as that great at the time.

            But all of that is forgiven because I once got to attack Coruscant and have 12 cruisers form a battle line to lay smack on the 8 Star Destroyers defending the planet. Plus dozens of corvettes, scores of frigates and destroyers, and in the center of it all, Dauntless -conducting the battle and trading shots with an SSD.

            It doesn’t matter that the ships largely parked themselves and traded broadsides. It doesn’t matter that the UI was weak. For space combat on this scale, Homeworld was about your only other option, and Homeworld capped you at 3 Cruisers, 4 carriers, and 5 destroyers. (Though who among us didn’t steal a few hundred frigates for that final assault?)

  8. Irridium says:

    My first game was DOOM. Way back in the long-before-time of 1994. I’d play it with my day, me sitting on his lap and us taking turns moving/shooting. Could never play it by myself. Not because I was forbidden, but because it scared the crap out of me.

    That was our only game until I got Daggerfall for Christmas one year. Remember we had to get a new hard drive because the game needed a mind-boggling 200mb of space. Ah… good times.

    First console was a Playstation. First console game was Spyro the Dragon. Great game. Held up remarkably well, especially for a PS1 title.

    Also, there are some kids these days who have never had to plug in a controller. How’s that make you feel?

    1. aldowyn says:

      They’ve obviously never played Smash Bros. properly. Well I guess there’s a wireless adapter for the gamecube controller, but still…

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      First game was Kings Quest I on the Apple IIgs.

      Yeah. The pain. It burns.

      Favorite game was Sid Meier’s Pirates. Heavy Barrel and Ikari Warriors were up there too.

      When I was like 14 I saved up enough money to buy an SNES. I thought it was awesome. I still have it and the games, but I haven’t played it in years.

      In cosmic irony, I bought my XBOX to extend the life of my computer (I used the computer for work and gaming -it was fine for work, but outclassed for games). Then the computer died, so I had to buy a new computer anyway. Which is still outclassed for games, but I can run Medieval II Total War on it, so that’s nice.

      1. thebigJ_A says:

        Build. Never buy.

  9. Vect says:

    I think my first real console would be an N64 with Super Mario 64 as my first official game. Previously I’d watch my uncle with his SNES. I also remember warm and fuzzy memories with Yoshi’s Story.

    I had some memory of PC gaming from relatives, but those were fairly vague…

    1. aldowyn says:

      probably the same for me actually. I have really fuzzy memories of previous mario games on the NES/SNES, but SM64 and the N64 were the first ones that were actually mine.

      1. swimon says:

        N64 was my first console too. Before that I had either played games on my mom’s Mac (classics like amoeb arena and a demo of bad mojo) or at my cousin (SMB, ice climbers, ski free and this DOS shoot em up called moongoose that I remember being great but haven’t seen since).

  10. Chuck Henebry says:

    Brilliant parody, neatly fitting the complicated mood shifts in the song to the convoluted mood shifts of playing 8-bit. Thanks for posting this, Shamus!

  11. Klay F. says:

    Hmm, the first game I ever played…its actually kind of hard to remember, since my family has had a game console of some form since I was born, but I believe the first game I ever played was a port of Space Invaders on my sister’s old Atari 2600, though I only have the absolute vaguest of memories of that. The first game I had strong memories of is Duck Hunt for the NES. The game that got me into gaming as a serious hobby was the original Starcraft though. I have never played a game before nor since as much as I devoted my waking hours to Starcraft.

    1. Dave B. says:

      The first computer/video game I can remember playing was Space Invaders on my dad’s Kaypro (I think it was the Kaypro II or possibly the IV). First console game? Duck Hunt on my friend’s NES.

  12. Katesickle says:

    That was great. At the end of the video there’s a link to the Bioshock song–friggin hilarious :D

    Thanks for sharing, Shamus.

  13. cadrys says:

    Massive Win, and another vote for the Bioshock one as well.

  14. Urs says:

    Interesting. From my european perspective, I cannot quite relate. Was never really a thing, the NES, I believe. Personally, video games (and computery stuff) finally had me when I found an Amiga500 under the christmas tree – according to the release date of Wings (my first gaming love), when I was 16.

  15. MrGuy says:

    Dammit Shamus! Stop turning into a newt.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Never had a console myself.I started with the ye olde commodore 64,and paper boy.

  17. neolith says:

    The first game I’ve ever played was Pacman on a video arcade machine. After that it was only computers for me until three years ago I bought a PS2 just to be able to play Guitar Hero. I’ve never enjoyed consoles as much as I enjoy computers I guess…

    BTW, what’s the song during the credits in the video? The tune sounds familiar, but I can’t seem to figure out what it is… :\

  18. Even says:

    Grew up with PC, played my first games when I was 3. I can’t recall my first game ever, but ones I distinctively remember playing would be Commander Keen 1 and Digger on my dad’s 8088. Never owned a console during my childhood but I’d still get to play every now and then, usually at a friend’s place. The various consoles I got to play on always seemed cool to me, but for reasons I can’t remember they just never really became “the thing”. PC games grew more popular as the years went on and most of my friends had a PC as well at their house, so it was what we played on usually. We’d play a lot of games that had multiplayer with a shared keyboard, which looking back now makes me feel old as hell. Then came the internet and soon after broadband and nothing was ever same again.

    Nowadays I don’t pay much attention to consoles beyond trying to keep up with the state of the industry. Still, there’s always that occasional nagging feel that I might be missing out on something, even if the reality is that there’s barely anything that I’d actually like to play that wasn’t on the PC already. I still did buy a used X-Box back in 2005-ish, played a while, but it never really hooked me, so it’s been mainly just gathering dust the past years.

  19. Bryan says:

    First game I remember playing is Desolation (which I don’t remember ever seeing on any other system), on an Osborne Executive. Which was portable! Well, after a fashion; it still weighed ~40 pounds and required an AC cord. But the keyboard folded up into the front, just like today’s laptops!

    We also had Othello, Battleship, Gusher (another one I’ve never seen anywhere else), and a bunch of others I no longer remember. Oh, and the Colossal Cave Adventure one; that’s one that I’ve seen ported to *everything*.

    But it had *two* disk drives (the floppies were 185K IIRC), *and* an RF output built in, so you could plug it into a TV instead of using the built-in 7-inch display! Everything was monochrome though, either way.

    Went from there to a 386 (Wolfenstein 3D! Commander Keen! Corncob 3D! …not that anyone knows what that last one is), to a Pentium, to a P3, to a whole bunch of self-built monstrosities.

    Still haven’t ever used a console though. :-)

  20. Joshua says:

    I watched several friends who had the Atari 2600, and got to play over at their house. And then I got *my* first real system of the Atari 7800. Unfortunately, it ended up paling next to the NES that said friends had received. It wasn’t until 11th Grade when I got the SNES that I caught up with the rest.

    As an interesting note, about five years later(late 90s), I was delivering pizzas in college and many fraternity brothers seemed to have an NES in their rooms for some reason. It was like they all agreed to go retro or something.

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