Illustration by Kaz
I've been playing the good ol' Nintendo Entertainment System regularly since December 25, 1987.
I'd played it a year or two before at family friends' houses here and there, but my true and
completely ridiculous addicting to all things NES began the year I received my own for Christmas.
Me n' good ol' NES, we've had such wonderful times. In the near 20 years I've been
playing NES games, I can't even begin to count the number of great games that have
kept me up at night, completely addicted, not wanting to even THINK about putting the
controller down. I couldn't forget the gaming buddies that have come and gone over the years, who struggled
with me laying waste to everything in Alien's Lairs, defeating ruthless Robot Masters, and
saving yet ANOTHER fucking princess from the clutches of another ne'erdowell Hell-bent on taking
over a kingdom full of mushrooms. Yep, me n' the NES are fuckin homies. Homies for life.
But like all our homies, sometimes we just don't see eye to eye. Our relationships have rifts in
them from time to time, and though we'll duke it out and end up with busted lips and black eyes,
we know deep-down we're still homies and we'll be laughing about it in a month or so. Or 20 years
later when we're writing about it on our poorly-written, yet fiendishly sexy websites.
I like to call those instances in my relationship with the NES "Fuck You" Moments. When something so
obscenely cheap, outrageously unfair, or just plain stupid happens...that's when I have to say
"Fuck you, buddy."
A "Fuck You" Moment isn't necessarily when a boss or a stage is too hard to beat, or some enemy
cheaps you out and hits you 20 times in a row. It's the first time you get to the last level and some
enemy cheaps you out and hits you 20 times in a row costing you your last life and there are NO CONTINUES
LEFT and you just spent all of 5 hours getting there. THAT
is an example of a "Fuck you"
My entire gaming history is filled with "Fuck You" Moments. I could never count them all. What I'm
doing here, is I'm recalling some of the more memorable "Fuck You" moments from my NES history. Or at
least the ones that jumped out at me the most when I started writing this. From
1987-2007, these are some the moments and things that have done absolutely no good for my bloodpressure at all
for the past 20 years.
I'm more than convinced that the NES is what taught me to swear...
1.) You Want Your Password? Here's Your Fucking Password!
G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor
Passwords were pretty common for saving your progress back in the day. Backup batteries were
most common in RPGs and the like, so us action junkies were shit out of luck and had to write
down stupid passwords for games that let us and hope we didn't lose the paper.
G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor may not be the worst offender...well maybe it is, I don't know. When it comes to really stupid
password setups, this game went fourteen football fields for some kind of fucking record and ended up screwing
me and a friend over as we were making our way through it. It's bad enough that the game's fairly long,
but it's also dirt cheap as hell in a lot of areas and when you finish one you're just fucking
happy you made it out alive and never want to see the area EVER AGAIN!
You see those 14 grids with random numbers, letters, and the lonely © symbol in them over there to
the right? That's how the password system is set up. Every grid contains one character in one
of the nine squares. You can't just memorize that shit, and
no matter how you try and write it down it's either going to look confusing, or you'll
be spending entirely too much time just writing it down period. Inputting the shit is pretty
freakin annoying, truth be told. I wanna know who dreamt up this shit.
The first G.I. Joe game from Taxan used NINE CHARACTER PASSWORDS to save your progress. I can
still remember the last password the game gave me. NZDB9N8X1. Plug it in, it fucking works.
The Atlantis Factor (sequel published by Capcom) plays on almost the SAME EXACT FUCKING ENGINE
(oh big shock for Capcom there) and gameplay is essentially the same. Why then, did they need
to go out of their way to create such a ridiculously stupid password system?
I also have a suspicion that the game just spits out random shit most of the time that doesn't
do a fucking thing.
I'm God damn meticulous when it comes to copying things down. My OCD is so ridiculous I sextuple
check everything! Hell, just two hours ago I was on the phone with my ISP's support and had to gaze
over my modem's MAC address 7-8 times before I was absolutely sure I had it right. Which is why,
when suddenly a string of 4-5 of our passwords didn't work when a friend and I were trying to resume our
game, we decided the system was bullshit and just stayed up all night to beat it.
Congratulations, Capcom. You made it to the next level! Here's your password!
2.) Death at FUCK YOU MPH!
Fuck you, Battletoads. My God...
Battletoads is famous...or rather infamous for being one of the most annoyingly frustrating games ever made. There's
an almost innumerable amount of ways to die in this game, and if you try and stick it out more than 3 stages, you will
experience every single one of them. Over and over without question. Until you fucking PUKE. Battletoads is a
wonderful game for you to play if you wish to hone your cursing ability.
Now, this game did bring a lot of neat ideas to the table. There's a really good variety of gameplay and environments
to fuck around (read: die) in. You just probably won't see that many of them unless you have adamantium-fucking-class
There were a lot of frustrating stages in this game. Whether it involved annoying platforming, the first two hours
you spent trying to navigate down the Wookie Hole (Yeah, I'll just let you have fun with that one on your own) or
enemies that could completely annihilate you with one hit no matter how much energy you had left, there was a
guaranteed "fuck you" at the ready. But I don't think any of the stated annoyances have erupted more
"fuck you"s from me than any of the fucking Speeder stages.
At first, it's a neat idea! Lookit me, I'm cruisin along on a vehicle! This is as cool as riding a skateboard
in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... only with way more "FUCK YOU!"
They really went all out with putting the "speed" in "Speeder" with these sections of the
game. They're GOD DAMN fast, and if you fuck up even once it's back to the start to try that shit again. I'm
cool with it being hard, but the shit that pissed me off more than anything was jumping over gaps. More often
than not, there'll be a ramp before a huuuuuuuuuuge jump that you have to hit in order to clear the gap and
make it to the other side. I know it's not just me, because I've played this game with a ton of people, but
there are times when you 100% without a doubt in the fucking world CLEAR THE GAP, but you'll fall through
the land anyway. What the fuck is up with that? I've died way more to falling through the ground on the
other side of a jump for no reason, than smashing into enemies or walls. That's some real tight fucking
What more can you say about it other than it's fucking cheap and lame? Well have a video, then.
So, though it's already been said by many others throughout the years....Fuck you, Battletoads.
3.) Ironknuckle Sammich!
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
They're not the toughest enemies in Zelda II. Oh HELL no! Not even close! Ol' Scott
will let ya know that much. But to an unskilled ten year old, who'd only just mastered Super Mario Bros. these little
shits were the fucking DEVIL! DEEEEVIL! Making matters worse is the fact that they appear in the VERY FIRST PALACE
IN THE GAME! Not even 20 minutes into the game and it'd already started throwing what I considered to be the hardest
enemy in a videogame ever at me!
What makes these guys so tough, though? They certainly don't look like much, do they? They look like typical run
of the mill armored doods with shields that you'd find in almost any fantasy-esque RPG type game. So why would they
be on a "Fuck You" list? Because they're quite "Fuck You"-worthy for a beginner.
These bastards play rough right from the get-go. They're damn-near impervious to all frontal assaults with that
fancy shield of theirs, and they always seem to counter every one of your attacks perfectly should they end up
blocking you. Trying to fight these guys with a blow-for-blow strategy isn't going to work. You can't run away,
because once you're grabbed their attention, they're all over you like stink on decoy. You can't jump over them,
because they adjust their movement backward as you move forward. So what's a little girl to do when the big orange
knight is whomping up on her little green elf man? Well, I can tell you, after about 30-45 minutes of trying to
fight these guys head on in a fencing style of block, slash, block, slash, she gave up and went back to Mario.
It wouldn't be until much later when I was watching a neighbor play the game, that I would learn the trick to landing
more successful hits was jumping and slashing at them on the way down.
With big, orange, and ugly finally defeated I was feeling pretty sure of myself. That is, until later in the game
when these guys get EVEN MEANER. Not only do they get prettier colors, but they get even more fucking evil with
each new brand you encounter. THROWING SWORDS AT ME? YOU FUCKER! YOU CHEATING, CHEATING FUCKER!
Fuck you, Ironknuckle. Fuck you. Play fair, you bastard. My inner-ten year-old hates you so much.
4.) Here's Your Lucky Numbers!
Taboo: The Sixth Sense
Taboo: The Sixth Sense is an oddity among NES games. First off, it's not even a game. Noooooooo gameplay
whatsoever. None. Nada. Zilcho! Secondly, it somehow skirted by Nintendo's North American content guidelines
and was not only a tarot reader, but featured nudity and tons of religious symbols. All of those were a big no-no from
the big N at the time.
The game consisted of the player inputting their name and birthdate and a question. The game then dealt out tarot
cards and gave you some kind of stupid nonsensical reading. That's all there was to it. The readings made no sense,
and if you say you can make sense from them, you're a fucking LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE. Kill yourself.
After your reading, the game asks you to input the state you live in so that it can give you "Lucky Numbers" for
your local Lottery drawing. This was total BULL FUCK SHIT. I've never won a God damn thing from any of the numbers
this shit has spewed out of its asshole. That's right! I'm enough of a fucking idiot to have played numbers this
thing has thrown out, no doubt subconsciously thinking to myself "My NES would NEVER lie to me!"
So, there ya go. You're reading the website of a fucking moron who has admittedly taken lottery advice from a
fake tarot reading game. I guess in the end it's all gravy, because both tarot reading and the lottery are
both FAAAAAAAAAAKE! LIKE THE ECONOMY! FAAAAAAAAKE! AND THE GOVERNMENT! FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!
Here's your lucky numbers, dipshits!:
Fuck you, Taboo.
5.) Mr. Big n' Fucking Stupid!
Get a real good luck at that mugshot over there. That's the face of possibly one of the most
annoying and ridiculously stupid bosses videogames has to offer. That's Mr. Big of the Midway
arcade hit NARC ported over to Good Ol' NES. Mr. Big is supposed to be some kind of evil-doing
drug lord and is basically the source of any and everything bad happening in the city. You're
part of an elite task force (comprised of TWO PEOPLE!) sent to eliminte him and his group of fine
young drug-pedalling gentlemen.
Now, I'll give credit when credit is due. NARC made for a pretty damn good home conversion of a
fantastically shitty and cheap ass arcade game. NARC was one of the first ultra-violent games to hit the arcade, featuring
quite a bit of gore, excessive referencing of drugs, and fully digitized characters. The NES
version retains a lot of the graphical flair (minus the digitization obviously) and violence which is
pretty surprising given Nintendo's harsh regulations back then, but most of the drug references
were cut. The difficulty was also scaled down so that it at least seemed fair most of the time. It didn't necessarily play like a dream, but even today it's still an impressive job
even if it's absolutely fucking grating at times.
Now, back to Mr. Big. After you've blasted your way through nine ridiculously challenging stages of
drug pushers, pimps and mafioso types, you'd probably expect Mr. Big to be quite the intimidating
bastard himself, right? With a last name like BIG, you'd better be packing something or at LEAST
be some kind of 20ft giant with rocket launchers for arms that shoot exploding chainsaw rockets. You've probably
already guessed that since he's on this list, none of that applies. So, let's just get this shit out of the
way and have a look at good ol' Mr. Big...
Wait for it....
Now... If your first reaction to that was "What the fuck?", then CONGRATULATIONS! You
are normal! If you'd played this bastard game for about two or three weeks to get to this point and saw this,
your first reaction would be a little more like mine. Something along the lines of...
Now the "Fuck You" comes for many reasons. First of all, I mean...what the fuck? Look at him!
Mr. Big...drug lord, pimp, mafia-guy...he's just a...HEAD
on a...what the fuck is that? A...
THING! Now let's rewind for a sec.
In the picture there...I may be absolutely retarded by some peoples' standards, but it looks like he's got a
little more than just a head to me. So, what the hell happened here? Furthermore, if the guy really is just a
fucking head on a... THING, for God's sake let the guy have his drugs. Things can NOT get any worse for this
Appearance aside, Mr. Big may just be the easiest, frustrating, and cheapest boss around. How can he
be all three? Well, let's break down the stages of the fight.
This is how the fight starts. Me vs Stupid Head thing. All he does is chase me around the screen spitting
tongues at me. Spitting tongues...did they even think about this shit? God damn...
Anyway, I begin plugging rocket after rocket into him. I wasted 45 or more on him to no avail. The first
time I actually got to this point in the game, I had no more lives left. I was out of rockets, I had no
more ammo, and all I could do was just die. Nothing fazed him at all!
I return to this point in the game about an hour later, hoarding every rocket and bullet I could, pumping
nearly 60 into him this time and STILL NOTHING! It wouldn't be until two or three days later, when I came
back and managed something completely strange.
What the hell? I knocked his sunglasses off? How in God's name did I manage that? It turns out I somehow got
incredibly lucky and managed to plug a rocket into the "sweet spot" to knock off his glasses advancing
the fight to the next stage.
There's a problem with actually trying to consciously do this, though. With the game's controls it's almost
absolute luck that you can put a shot directly into the glasses. You see, the arcade version of NARC had
4 buttons: Jump, Crouch, Gun, and Rocket (which is still a pretty stupid setup if you ask me). The NES version
had to condense these actions to TWO buttons meaning you have to tap B to jump, hold B to crouch, hold A to
fire your gun, and tap A to fire a rocket. Trying to pull off a jump and rocket at the same time is ridiculous
because of the delay. The area you HAVE to hit with the rocket is very small and hard to hit and more often
than not your rocket will either fire too high, too low, or if you're EXTRA lucky, it won't even go off at all!
Once the Gods of Luck finally smile upon you, it's time to deal with Mr. Big's new glasses-less form. Which is
basically the same as the first only he's a little faster and he shoots lightning beams from his eyes. This part
can be exceptionally annoying, because once you're hit he just doesn't let up and you can kiss that life
goodbye if he's close enough to fire 5-10 beams into you in under 2 seconds. If you accidentally touch him,
it's pretty much over as well as you have almost no time to try and recover from the stun. The trick (as you'll
see in the video below) is to just hang around the very top of the walkable area! None of his projectiles can
touch you AT ALL. How's that for some awesome programming?
Figuring out you knock the sunglasses off by hitting the "sweet spot" pretty much made it easy to figure
out the rest. It was actually executing this feat which took some time to master. The real shitter? If you run
out of rockets, you're fucked. You HAVE to lose a life to gain 5 more rockets, because there's no way to replenish
them AT ALL in this area and bullets do not work. If that's your last life...."FUCK YOU!"
And when you hit the "sweet spot" one last time what do you get?
THE SILLIEST GOD DAMN END BOSS EVER!
This thing's about as threatening as...Pat. It just kinda chases you around the screen aimlessly and doesn't
do anything else. He spits 800,000,000 tongues in the arcade version and it's nigh impossible to live through it,
but that's remedied here. This time, rockets are ineffective and all you have to do is continue firing at the little
spiney bits until you've reduced him to nothing. The problem is you don't even know if hits are registering
on them or not. Sometimes a spiney bit will go with as few as three shots, sometimes you can waste an entire
life's worth of ammo and not eliminate even one. It's bullshit. You can run out of machinegun ammo and still fire one shot
every 2 seconds, which means you can still plausably beat him on zero ammo, but it's still bullshit that there's no way
to replenish your ammo. If you're on your last life here and run out of ammo, have fun plugging away at this thing
1 shot every 2-3 seconds.
I've recorded this stupid boss fight in its entirety so you never ever have to play it:
And for your efforts?
Yeah...I'll get right the fuck on that. Fuck you, Mr. Big!
6.) Have Some Unnecessary Platform Jumping!
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
I love Double Dragon II. I think it's one of, if not, the best beat em ups the NES had. Extremely varied locales,
lots of colorful and challenging enemy types to beat the snot out of, a pretty decent-sized moveset to do so
with, and home to the most utterly unnecessary platform jumping EVER! I'm talking like, Turok on the N64 having
platforming bad. It's about the only bad thing Double Dragon II has going for it. And sadly, there's a LOT of it.
When I play a Double Dragon game, I wanna beat the seven shades of shit out of some random street hoods,
take their weapons to beat up ridiculously-dressed and mohawked girls, and get my shit fucked up
by Abobos! This isn't Mario! Get that platforming shit out of here!
Now, I'm not against mixing elements from other genres. Games would be pretty boring if everything was the
same ol', same ol' everytime popped in a new game. The problem is that Double Dragon II just doesn't do it right
at all. You see, Double Dragon has ALWAYS....ALWAYS
had horrible jumping mechanics. Since A and B buttons
are assigned to your Punch and Kick actions, in order to jump you have to press both A and B together. It only
takes a little while to get used to, but it still feels unnatural. Add to this that Billy and Jimmy's jumping
gravity look and feels all wrong and you've got yourself MAAAAAANY lost lives due to the engine simply
not feeling like it was built with jumping mechanics in mind. You also get a load of "Fuck You"s.
Everything's peachy keen and the game is a hell of a load of fun until you reach Stage 5. From Stage 5 to Stage 7
you'll be swearing up a shitstorm as Double Dragon II turns into Billy and Jimmy doing their best "It's-a-me,
Mario, look how I die when I fall into pits and spikes" imitations.
I knew something was terribly wrong the first time I got to this little waterfall area with 3 platforms and wasted
EVERY FUCKING LAST LIFE I HAD trying to cross to the other side. "Oh come on now, surely you must be exaggerating,
that doesn't look too bad!" These are words from a person who has never played this game and should shut up
before I add some more aluminum to their diet via aluminum baseball bat vitamin. It took me forever to
find the right alignment you needed to hit these jumps. As you'll notice in the video, my character seems perfectly
lined up for the jumps everytime, yet somehow still plunges into the water.
Even worse is the final part of this stage. Once again, you'll see in the video that I have to try and make my way
up to the top of that bulldozer tank whatchamacallit while it's moving on and off the screen. It probably looks
easier than it actually is on video. The steam pipes at the middle have complete fuck you over potential
(as you'll see) and can completely ruin the run you were making to the top by continually hitting you as you get up.
Then you get to make more shitty platform jumps to try again! Lucky you!
Moving onto Stages 6 and 7, which are the real root of the problem, we find that there are hardly any enemies in these
stages. It's all just a bunch of tricky platform jumping that can take forever to figure out.
In Stage 6 we get Mega Man-esque disappearing blocks. Once again the shitty jump gravity fucks you over
as it's difficult to really gauge where you're going to land and if you'll do so in time. Odds are your first time here will entail you
doing multiple face plants on the bed of spikes trying to make your way up to that God damn door. Making matters worse is
you don't get a lot of time to try and line yourself up for the next jump. Once you're on the platform, you'd better
be ready, because half a second later the platform you're on will begin phasing out. There's no grace period during
this animation, so you just fall directly down from where you were. If you jump too soon, you miss the next platform
as it's phasing in and die on the spikes. If you jump too late, you either don't get credit for the jump at all
and just fall, or you'll land on the next block just as it's about to phase out and once again introduce yourself
to the spikes below.
Stage 7 adds conveyor belts and rotating gears to this annoying as The Hutch section of the game. Don't worry,
your spikey friends down below are still there, so at least you're with familiar company. I don't even need to
tell you how annoying this stage can be. You can see it in the video. The gear room had me stumped forever.
Even now I still have problems with it because of all the falling hazards which almost always lead you down
into that oh so lovely pit of spikes below. And if the fall doesn't take care of you, they got some weird
Mexican Jumping Spikes popping up from the bottom of the screen to knock you back down so the gear can
roll you on over into your hole-y demise.
So, fuck you, Double Dragon II. I Like you n' all, but you drive me batshit insane when I'm having a
bad Mario Bros. day.
7.) Tonight I Dine on Pygmy Turtle!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II on NES was a good game. It was a hard game and it was a loooooooooong game.
Way longer than it should have been in my opinion. You're thrown to the wolves with 3 lives, 3 continues, and
about 200 Foot Soldiers per level and after that a boss that likely isn't playing very fair. I say they're unfair
to a point, because more than a few erupt into simple "you hit me, I hit you" bitchslap fests that you
can't win without losing a life or two. They're programmed to counter every-damn thing you throw at them.
Needless to say, finally reaching the last stage of the game, The Technodrome, was a bit of a nerve wrecking experience.
Two lives, no continues... This was to be the epic showdown I'd worked all afternoon for.
I'd gotten one-hitting Foot Soldiers down to a science, so taking damange throughout the level wasn't much of a problem.
There were a few generously placed pieces of Pizza laying around to replenish my dwindling health as well. So, other
than the damn freezing ice traps, I didn't have much of a problem working my way through.
the rock soldier boss before the final room claimed one of my remaining lives, sadly. I'd fallen out of my spamming
the shit out of the jump kick pattern and in that ended up on the business end of some nasty, nasty counter attacks.
But the Rock Soldier would not triumph this day!
Moving into the next room, my heart was racing. I knew this was the last room! It HAD to be! The doors open and
out comes....KRANG? WHAT? NOOOOO! THAT IS NOT FAIR! Palms sweating, heart racing, I managed to spend the next
5 minutes or so attacking only with calculated jump kicks and miraculously avoiding attacks from a boss I'd never
fought before. As he began to glow all the colors of the 8-bit rainbow, indicating that he was almost dead, my
heart raced even faster! He finally fell moments later, managing to only nab a few hits off the health bar of
my remaining life. But there was no time to celebrate...I knew what was next and, yeah buddy, I was ready for
it to be ON!
Shredder makes his appearance at long last, the fucking coward! But what the fuck? He just split into two? WHAT?
WHY ARE THERE TWO OF HIM? And JUST before I could ask myself another stupid question...
What the fuck kinda cheapo bullshit thing is that to do to a kid? Go ahead, watch it again, because that's how
fast it happened. All that fancy dodging and conserving of life I'd done up to this point to try and at least get
a decent PEEK at Shredder was all for naught. He needed only ONE HIT to deplete my entire lifebar and end
both my life and my game entirely. After spending an entire afternoon getting to that point, can you imagine the
rage? CAN YOU IMAGINE THE RAGE? BOTH Shredders can do that too! One right after another if they want!
Fuck you, TMNT II! You almost made me cry that day. Almost!
8.) This One Doesn't Even Need An Explanation
Mike Tyson's Punch Out
Yep. Fuck you, Mike Tyson. Fuckin prick.
9.) This One Doesn't Need An Explanation Either