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What the hell were we thinking?!?!

NeoGAF.com poster djtiesto wrote: "Yeah, I saw the article and was wondering where some of the late 80's were... '89 especially - Mega Man 2, Dragon Warrior, Phantasy Star 2, Super C, and a whole other list of games for NES, Genesis, and Turbo..."

He's right to represent for '89. This year saw a remarkable number of new consoles hit the market, and the dawns of two new generations of gaming were witnessed. Sega released their amazing new 16-bit (twice the power of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System) Genesis console, while NEC delivered its competing TurboGrafx 16 console (which didn't quite make the 16-bit cut by simply strapping two 8-bit brains together).

Games like the arcade port Altered Beast, the ninja star-throwing Revenge of Shinobi and the sprawling epic RPG Phantasy Star II ensured a slot for the Sega Genesis in gamers' collective unconscious that remains even today.

While the TurboGrafx 16 pushed out some moderately successful launch titles like shoot 'em-up Blazing Lazers (see what they did with the two Zs there?), pinballin' Alien Crush and the platforming sidescroller Legendary Axe, it would garner mass appeal in later years with the controversially gory Splatterhouse and kid-friendly Bonk's Adventure.

Nintendo essentially invented quality handheld gaming by releasing the device that would keep the sometimes troubled empire afloat for years to come: the Gameboy. Packaged with the incomparably addictive Tetris, and playing home to Mario's first non-LCD portable adventure (Super Mario Land ), the Game Boy quickly gained popularity with youngsters and busy business people on the go.


Refusing to step down from the high perch of market domination, the Nintendo Entertainment System saw some of the best games of its long-lived existence. Mega Man II floored people in their living rooms by wrapping intensely challenging gameplay and cool power-ups in a colorful and toxically cute wrapper.

Meanwhile, a small outfit known as Sunsoft seized the lucrative Batman license and succeeded in creating an astounding title that pushed the NES's capabilities with dark yet detailed graphics and music that lodged itself inside your brain, keeping you humming those tunes throughout the year.

At the arcades, Ninja Gaiden led a blood-soaked assault on gamers' abilities to punch those peskyarcade buttons as fast as they could - setting the stage for the discouragingly difficult dynasty. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also made their first digital appearance with a four-player fiasco that devoured quarters almost as ravenously as the turtles themselves downed slices of pizza.

We also saw the first steps towards the day when people would use their PCs for more than word processing and spreadsheets with the introduction of SimCity. This forerunner of PC gaming blended city governance with a mysteriously huge amount of fun to create an experience that kept people at their office desks long after the workday was over.

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4 comments

  • xDxP - March 28, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    I can't believe the vast number of these games I've played through. Thanks for the memories guys, beautiful.
  • garnsr - March 27, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    Has there ever really been a bad year in games? 1984, I guess, but twelve months is a long time, and several great games always make it out in that much time.
  • chilarome - March 27, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    Oh controversy... I love you, because that means I can read more articles!
  • ruben9700 - January 25, 2009 12:49 a.m.

    First

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