*Last updated 12/02/2016
If it’s on the U.S., it’s called a NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) but when you live somewhere in Asia, like the Philippines for example, then it’s called a Family Computer (or Famicom). This 8-bit console took the world by storm by having everyone hooked on playing games on their very own living room with its impressive graphics and audio which was considered hi-tech during its time that Nintendo literally destroyed its competitors by taking complete dominance in the home video game market.
Well, that was little concern for me since I just wanted to play games when I was small; and what better way to do this by taking the controller and handing the other to your dependable little sister who can sometimes play better than you. But now since she is already 26, too busy with work, and hundreds of miles away from where I am, I decided to reminisce about the past and post my top 5 favorite co-op games I played with her when we were tykes. We only have a small library of games that we can choose from since we were not that really wealthy to begin with so I apologize in advance if my list feels very stale.
5. Dough Boy
Now here is an odd title to start my list… To be honest, I don’t know why it’s called “Dough Boy.” Does it involve baking bread? Pastries? Unfortunately it isn’t (click here to learn what a Dough Boy is) since the cover art does not indicate that I have to knead dough inside the kitchen but instead, this game lets you play as a soldier grunt in a quest similar to Saving Private Ryan in all 8-bit pixelated glory.
You can only use your rifle in the 1st stage but the weapons scattered all over that same area that you collect can be used for the rest of the levels. After that you now traverse different terrains while avoiding hazards and blowing up tanks and other structures using your explosives. Two players can play this game at the same time; the 1st player gets to use the grunt, and the 2nd player can man the missiles to destroy whichever target on the field, which is very useful since the grunt cannot use any explosive projectiles to destroy targets that the rifle cannot.
However, things can turn into a heated argument once player 2 “accidentally” obliterates player 1 (either act of vengeance or clumsy controls) instead of the tank (which is just moving slowly like snail) which now results on two siblings not only fighting a war on the screen, but also in real life. Oh brother…
4. Mario Bros.
When I received my Famicom that came from Japan for the first time, it came with some games like Super Mario Bros., Willow (which scared me like heck) but I did not notice that there was also a game included called Mario Bros. Unlike Super Mario Bros., Mario Bros on the Famicom was a port of the arcade game of the same name. I actually died a lot of times playing this game, and so did my sister on our first hurdles because we were supposed to knock the enemies on the platforms where they were and run over them while they were in a daze instead of stomping them.
This game does not have power-ups since its more on co-op play and score ranking so you better dodge being hit by an enemy, a runaway fireball or cake bomb that makes the ground slippery, unless you actually want to lose a life that badly. It’s also funny to hear the sound effects of your character being lowered from the top screen after losing a life or using your partner like as a spring board to jump to safety, to the annoyance of my sister that is because I used her like a spring board multiple times.
TwinBee is one of my earliest encounters in the shot-’em-up genre and was one of my favorites to date. You play this little ship with arms and blast your way through 5 levels against enemies of flying strawberries, knives, plates, cooking pots, and whatever kind of object that Konami decided to make fly in this vertical shooter. You collect bells of different colors that you shoot from clouds in order to gain different power-ups. You can also blow up ground units by pressing the A button that you cannot destroy using the B button.
What is great about this game is that once again, 2 players can play at the same time to blast enemies efficiently. Because I was sort of a jerk during the game, I would mostly get all the power-ups leaving my sister with nothing which makes her cry out of frustration. But the real beef of this game is that 2 players can hold hands together, like the siblings that we are, and unleash a more devastating attack especially during boss fights.
2. Warp Man
Space, the final frontier for humans. Unfortunately, it is infested of alien vermin ready to either eat you whole or dissect you and have you in all sorts of experiments unimaginable. Warp Man is also a port of the arcade game called Warp and Warp made by Namco way back 1981. The Famicom/NES has enhanced sound and graphics and can be played by 2 players at the same time.
The object of the game is to blow up the aliens appearing in the four corners of the screen while racking up points while avoiding to be hit by the aliens’ missiles or being touched by them. If you hit the 2nd player with your ray-gun, he will be in daze for a second. If you pick up a star (which looks like a small cross), the center of the screen will start to animate. If you go inside, you will now enter a new dimension in which you can only use bombs blast the baddies. If you are able to collect a crystal (I prefer to call it “ammo crystal”) inside this world, a dimension gate will appear. Blow it up and exit, and you will now be back in space armed with exploding bullets that can put to shame the fireworks used in the 4th of July.
So in short, a game with old fashioned alien busting goodness galore that will get you hooked for hours of fun play. My only complaint here is that if you accidentally hit your partner, which is of course my sister on the other controller, with my ray-gun then she will proceed to blast my butt in retaliation which results in comedic endless returning of friendly fire until one gets to be hit by an alien. Another thing that ensues chaos is that if we were loaded with ammo crystals, then both of us will be firing like mad and would not care if the other will be caught up in the explosion by spontaneously hitting the fire button.
Another Namco title in which of battling aliens, you now battle hoards of tanks appearing on the top screen! But unlike Warp Man, you can destroy structures blocking your path, enemy tanks have different traits (there are normal slow moving, fast moving, fast firing and armored tanks that take 4 hits before they explode), and there are different terrains found in the map like icy floors, forest that you can hide your presence, and water that prohibits that blocks your path. What sets this different is that you have a base to protect. If it gets destroyed by either foe or friend then the game will end.
With a friend, you can blast your way to victory and each stage gets harder as you progress in the game. What I also like about this game is a mode called construction where you can edit the map to your liking (fortify your base with indestructible materials is always ideal). My sister and I spent many hours playing this game just for the sake of playing it and the enemy A.I. were really fighting back so strategy is always essential to us during the game.
Friendly fire nets you with the inability to move which always upsets the one being hit in a hilarious way. Also, it always boils down to whoever got the most kill because the player who blew up the most tanks gets a bonus after each map.
There is one memorable thing about this game that my sister popularized and she always performs it before facing the enemies whatever happens: she will always “go around the base.” I asked her about it and she replied, “it will make us smart.” And you know what? It did not make me smart but instead cracked me up whenever she performs it costing our lives during heavy tank fire because I was laughing so hard I could not even concentrate on the hostiles. “Tanks” a lot, little sister…
And that is my list for today. How about you guys? Any memorable games you played as a kid with your siblings or friends? I wanna know what it is so please put it on the comments section below! Until next time comrades…