Posts Tagged ‘eShop’

Hey there! When I’m not playing games on dares or reviewing something on a strict budget, I like to play other games. Like, normally. Stuff I choose of my own volition. I wanna talk about them. So… I’m gonna do that. Now.


Pokemon Shuffle (3DS)

This game is cool. If you’ve played the Pokemon Trozei games or Doctor Who: Legacy or most any other “match-3” games, you’ll be familiar with the concept. It’s a free download from the eShop. Nintendo is dipping their toes into the free-to-play and microtransaction waters, but it’s cool. Whatever. Just don’t spend money on it and you’re cool. The energy system probably keeps you from playing too long anyway. It’s Nintendo’s roundabout way of saying “Take a break and get some air already! Geez!”


Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox One)

I had it on 360. Got it for the One. It’s the same game, BUT BETTER! OMG GRAFFICKS U GAIZ!


Tinder (Android)

They show you a picture of a pretty girl and you have to determine if it’s a spambot or not. I’m not very good at this game.


NBA Live 15/NBA 2K15 (Xbox One)

One is absolute unadulterated garbage trash that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies, the other is NBA 2K15.


The Crew (Xbox One)

It’s seems like a very ambitious idea. The entire country is your car racing playground. Well, not the ENTIRE country. The map is kinda shaped like America and shrunk down to maybe the size of Ohio? I don’t know. I’m still in the starting area of Detroit, or an actually decent facsimile of Detroit. Downtown Detroit in this game actually does look similar to the real Downtown Detroit. Even Comerica Park (sorry, America Park) is well represented. I have a feeling that this will be similar to a racing game from a few years ago called “Fuel.” The central hubs will be well done, but the areas in between will be sparsely detailed. The racing itself is not bad, it doesn’t control the greatest, but I’ve played worse.


The Elliptical Machine At My Local YMCA (Real Life)

People thought Wii Fit was a workout! This thing works out your arms and legs at the same time! Looking forward to setting some high scores on this one!


NES Remix 1 & 2 (Wii U)

These games are both fantastic. Nintendo takes some of their classic 8-bit games and turns them into mini-game challenges. I would like to see Nintendo reach out to their 3rd party partners and get some more games into the 3rd installment. Konami and Capcom had some fantastic NES games.


Mario Kart… All of Them (All the Nintendos)

I love Mario Kart. I’m starting a Mario Kart team. Join me.

Thanks for reading!



When I moved to a new school to start off 1st Grade, my teacher had me fill out a new student worksheet so they could hang it in the hallway to introduce me to the rest of the school. One of the questions was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” No one had ever asked me that. I was only 6 years old. I chose something on the spot: race car driver. It seemed relatively normal for a 6-year-old to pick. Some other the other new kids said army guy or princess. Race car driver was a safe choice. But I knew in my heart I had a greater destiny. I wanted to be the 3rd Mario Brother. My (totally platonic) love affair the mustachioed Italian plumber runs deep. At 27 years old, Mario and I have been maintaining a gamemance for nearly 25 years and counting. I get geeked about new Mario game releases just as much as a kid. Girlfriends have had to deal with my irrational exuberance when E3 rolls around and Shigeru Miyamoto via translator Bill Trinen debuts Nintendo’s hot new ware. When said hot new ware releases and I get my hands on it… it’s, well… good. But for about the last 8 to 10 years, something has felt missing from the core Mario releases. New Super Mario Bros. certainly feels new, but I think therein lies the problem. It’s new, not old, which is what this retro gamer is used to.



I make no bones about saying my favorite game of all-time is Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. It’s a fun game and still incredibly challenging after all these years. I still get an incredible sense of satisfaction after beating it because of the trials and tribulations of taking Mario through World 8 (especially the latter half of it, woof). I have great memories of playing this game as a child and watching others play it. But it makes me wonder, is Super Mario Bros. 3 my favorite game because it’s such a great game? Or is my undying love for it because I have such treasured memories of days past? I mean, it’s not exactly a stretch for someone to choose SMB3 as their favorite game. It is one of the best-selling games of all-time after all. But one of my earliest memories is watching my dad play it. My dad these days is absolutely NOT a gamer. I’m not even sure he’s touched a video game since I tried to get him to play NASCAR Thunder 2003. Even then, he probably hadn’t played a game since the early 90s. But I have such a vivid memory of watching him go through the second fortress on World 5 (the one that connects to the sky portion of that particular map). Maybe I’m looking into this too much, but could my love of Super Mario 3 be a result of it being, as far as I’m concerned, one of two video games I’ve ever seen my dad play? My dad and I never had a really close relationship. Could I be involuntarily holding on to this cherished memory by continually playing this game in the hopes of one day tossing my dad the second controller because I desire a closer relationship with my father? Yikes, this is getting a little deep for me. But this is only an explanation for one game, my favorite game. What about the other oldies?

Moby Games

Moby Games

Everyone has their reasons for being a retro gamer. Some may be hard pressed to find a reason for being a retro gamer other than “because it’s fun.” Well, of course it’s fun. You enjoy things that you find fun. But I want to go deeper. It may seem a bit self-serving, but I’m doing this introspective into my own head because I want to learn more about me. Maybe by doing this I can learn about others, but for now, I want to share my results with the world. One theory I came up with is how my post-high school life has been treating me. Adulthood has definitely had its share of ups and downs for me. I’ve faced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It perfectly matches my senior yearbook quote of “Life is like a rollercoaster. It’s scary.” Perhaps because my adult life has been less than desirable for the majority of my 20s, I’ve been holding on to childhood memories to remind myself of happier times. What better way to relive those memories than with the one constant in my life?



When I was living with an emotionally and mentally abusive girlfriend, my gaming room was my escape. For a small block of time, I was able to block her out and go back to a time where my feet didn’t touch the floor when I sat on the couch. I could sit in the basement and pretend I was 9 years old all over again. When a different girlfriend left me and I sat alone in an empty apartment, I picked up my 3DS and started speedruns on the copy of Super Mario Bros. I downloaded from the eShop. I didn’t have much, but I had the pure unadulterated elation of beating Super Mario Bros. without not just dying, but not even getting hit by an enemy. When I had a bad day at work and just wanted to yell and scream and ask whatever supreme being is in the sky “why?” I would go home, fire up my Nintendo, and take it out on the pixilated baddies. Ha! Take that goomba-who-is-an-8-bit-representation-of-that-customer-that-really-pissed-me-off-today! Okay, this seems to me that all I’m talking about is Mario. I mean, I played a lot of Mario as a kid as well as other series, but how does that account for my collection and love of retro games that I’ve only recently discovered?



When I originally started Five Dollar Gamer, I had not really started my retro gaming collection. I was mostly collecting games that I had as a kid, recovering what had been stolen from me in what I refer to as “The Great Nintendo Heist of 2000.” I managed to build that collection back up and then some, but Five Dollar Gamer started when my curiosity was piqued by a $2.99 Super Nintendo game. As a result of this almost 2-year venture, I have amassed nearly 100 “new” games to add to my collection. But what do I find so appealing about these games? These are not games that were a part of my childhood. But a lot of the time, these games hit the right mental notes. I had so much fun playing Solar Striker on the Game Boy, a game I only found out existed hours before the first time I ever played it. I feel it’s because of the similarities of the games I’m used to playing. The race for the high score, the simplicity, and the imagination required to craft your own story. Today’s games have the story spelled out for you. While sometimes that’s pulled of masterfully like in Bioshock or Grand Theft Auto V, for me, the kid who wanted to be the third Mario Brother, a little imagination goes a long way when enjoying an older game.



I don’t want this to come off as I only play old video games when my life is being shitty and I need it as a crutch to not fall further or a ladder to try to climb out. I play it during the happy times too. Everyone loves reminiscing and telling stories from the past. It’s just something that people do when they get together after not seeing each other for a while. We tell old stories. “Hey, remember that one time…?” For some social circles, “Hey, remember that one time…?” could mean “Hey, remember that one time we played 4-player Mario Kart 64 at your mom’s house?” Next thing you know, you and friend are huddled around the TV playing Mario Kart 64 and bringing up more stories. As a result of Five Dollar Gamer, I’ve got to hear from many readers who will suggest a game for me and tell me a story about how awesome it was as a kid, or someone will leave a comment on a game I wrote about sharing a story. It’s awesome.



Retro gaming unites us. It’s so easy to hop online nowadays and connect with a faceless gamer on the other side of the world. But where’s the camaraderie in that? How many people honestly wax nostalgically while sitting in a lobby while waiting for the next Call of Duty deathmatch to start? Hell, how many people are even sharing a laugh when they’re playing against nothing but strangers? Can you imagine if you took four strangers from a deathmatch lobby, sat them on a couch, and had them play Mario Kart? There would be a lot less swearing, name calling, and insult flinging. Sure, there’d likely be some, but not to the degree that you hear when hiding behind the wall of anonymity, and I bet it’d be a hell of a lot more light-hearted. There would be more sharing of stories and of good times past. Get four strangers on a couch. Put a controller in their hands. They’ll find common ground.

Giant Bomb

Giant Bomb

I think the notion that older games aren’t fun is silly. Everyone, one way or another, is nostalgic about the past. Nostalgia transcends different mediums. It’s why your parents listen to classic rock and oldies. It’s why your neighbor takes his ‘67 Ford Mustang to the car show every summer. It’s why you just bought that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt from TeeFury. It’s not necessarily because it’s better. It’s what you grew up with, it’s what you know. When two 10-year-old kids walked into a GameStop I was working at once, a coworker and I happened to be testing a Nintendo Wii. We were playing the NES version of Punch-Out!! that someone had downloaded from the Virtual Console. One kid asked us how it could be possible that this game could be fun. I asked him to clarify. He says “Well, look at the graphics! They’re horrible!” 21-year-old me was angered by his statement. How dare this snot-nosed brat shit on my childhood with his naïve statement! But 27-year-old me can look back at this incident with wiser eyes. All this child knew was realistic 3D graphics. His line of questioning wasn’t malicious in nature. He was just curious why I was riding a bike when I have a car in the garage. He wasn’t old enough to be nostalgic. Maybe when he’s 21 he’ll be feeling nostalgic about Spyro the Dragon (or more likely Grand Theft Auto IV) in the same way I’m nostalgic about Punch-Out.

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

In writing this, I’ve learned so much about myself in regards to my treasured hobby. I desire to be a happy person. I desire to make those in my life happy. Retro gaming makes me happy, so naturally it’s something I want to share with others. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not something I like because I’m trying to desperately cling to my youth as I continue to climb in age. It’s just fun. It’s a hobby. It’s partly nostalgia, but not fully. I can have just as much fun with a Super Nintendo game I discovered just recently as I can with one I played when I was 10. I can also have as much fun with a AAA Xbox title from 2013 as I can with an obscure Game Boy game from 1990. Right now, NES Kirby’s Adventure is getting equal attention with Fire Emblem: Awakening on my 3DS. For me gaming transcends the decades. It’s a timeless hobby. The question remains: am I, or anyone else, retro gamers because we play mostly retro games or our collections are mostly retro games? Or are we just gamers?


I said I was gonna do it in my last Top 5 article, so here it is! My Top 5 Nintendo Handheld systems! Now, for some of these there ARE some hardware revisions (Game Boy Advance, then Advance SP, for example) that I am keeping in mind. So when I list one, I am also including all revisions of it. With that said… let’s do this thing:

#5- Game Boy Color


We start off with 1998’s Game Boy Color! This was Nintendo’s first handheld system capable of displaying colors (hence the name, duh). This was the first big step in Nintendo overhauling their handheld offerings. The reason I list this at number 5 is because there wasn’t that much time that went by between this system and the release of the Game Boy Advance (about 3 years) and there isn’t really a classic GBC game that jumps out at me as being particularly outstanding. There were several good games, don’t get me wrong, but outside of some Pokemon and Legend of Zelda games, nothing was real noteworthy.

#4- Nintendo DS


This was a system I was super pumped for upon its release. The power of a Nintendo 64 in your hands?! Whoaaaaaaaa! I got my DS and Super Mario 64 DS for Christmas the year it came out and I was blown away as much as when I got my 64 and Super Mario 64 seven years prior. The reason I don’t hold the original DS (and Lite, DSi, DSi XL) in higher esteem is because I went through kind of a jaded gamer phase during my ownership of the system early on. I bought and sold it about 3 times (owning an original DS, DS Lite twice, and a DSi XL) and I also had a PSP so I could play “cool games” (ugh). The DS is an amazing system with amazing games, but I didn’t quite have the love for it that I had/have for other Nintendo handhelds.

#3- Game Boy Advance


I was so excited to get the Game Boy Advance, that I got the system before I was able to get any games for it. I didn’t even care that Super Mario Advance was merely a Super Mario Bros. 2 remake. The fact that this (at the time) super-powerful handheld system was capable of displaying Super Nintendo-quality (sometimes better) graphics was amazing! I brought my GBA everywhere! To my friend’s house, my paper route, to school… where it got stolen!  I loved this system so much, I spent every dime I had to my name to replace it after that. When the SP came out, I HAD to have it. The 1st Nintendo handheld with a BACKLIGHT?! WHAAAAAAAAT?! I was saving up money for it when all of a sudden…


THIS! This beautiful golden God of a handheld system was released! The NES-skinned Game Boy Advance SP. I drooled like Homer Simpson when I saw that. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to drain my savings and I was never able to get the SP. I never ended up owning an SP until earlier in 2012 (a plain silver one), but I would still LOVE to own the NES-skinned version (always accepting donations!)

#2- Game Boy


The original, the old-school, the O.G.G.B, the big fatty Game Boy (and the Pocket). This was among my first presents I ever requested when I was old enough to request stuff for my birthday. There are so many games I loved on this thing and so many I’m still discovering. One of the first sections I hit up whenever I go to a game store selling retro games is the Game Boy case. There’s just something about the cartridges and artwork that just invokes childhood memories and makes me wax nostalgically about “the good ol’ days.” There’s a reason I’ve done more Game Boy games for reviews on this site than any other system. I just happen to get more curious about Game Boy games than any other system. Now, if I was writing this article before March 27th, 2011, the Game Boy would be #1, but there was a certain handheld release that day that totally stole my heart.

#1- 3DS


That’s right. The most modern day Nintendo handheld system on the market is #1 on a list made by a guy who is primarily a retro gamer. I freaking LOVE everything about the 3DS. I feel this is the most complete system Nintendo has ever released. Fantastic games, fantastic features, and fantastic graphics (by handheld standards) make this the total package. How do you make a fantastic system even better? Release the 3DS XL! Oh my Shigeru Miyamoto, this is such a good system! Any design flaw the 3DS has (aside from a 2nd thumbstick, but I’m one of the few who doesn’t care about that), was addressed in this redesign. The eShop is fantastic and has plenty of classic games to whet my retro appetite and I’ve even discovered some classic games I never knew about. The 3DS is a great system and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for it!

What do you think? How would you rank these systems? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Facebook or on Twitter!

As always, thanks for reading!


So I recently came into possession of a Wii U. In particular, the swanky Deluxe Set pictured above. I’ve been having fun with it so far. The only two games I’ve played on it so far are Nintendoland (Which comes with the Deluxe bundle) and New Super Mario Bros. U. I’ll blurb briefly about some of the big talking points of the system and what I think.

The System Itself


The system itself is oriented differently than most other systems. Whereas most systems have more width in the front than length on the sides, the Wii U system has a more narrow front/back and longer sides. I find it to be a bit more convenient because of my limited shelf space. The door that houses the media ports (1 SD card slot and 2 USB ports) has a nicer feel to it than the cheap-feeling hinges on the original Wii that came off so easily. The Wii U supports the original Wii A/V cables and sensor bar. Although the Wii U comes with a sensor bar of it’s own (for use with the Wii remotes), it does NOT come with standard A/V cables. Instead, an HDMI cable is packaged in. Convenient if you have an HDTV (which I don’t). Otherwise you’ll need to track down some Wii A/V or component cables (in my case, I still have old Wii, so it was only a minor hiccup).

The Game Pad


What a comfortable controller! This guy is pretty darned ergonomic! The design and buttons feel solid and not cheap. The glossy finish will leave some fingerprints behind, however. The TV remote function is really awesome, easy to set up, and even works when the system is not on (which is cool because my universal remote is missing)! The screen in the middle is high-def and is my screen of choice when playing NSMBU (like I said, older-ish TV. Plus, no aspect ratio or resolution setting looks right on my TV). As a result, battery life on this thing is not good at all. 3 hours maybe while gaming, 4 hours if watching Netflix. While watching Netflix (if you’re viewing on your TV) the Game Pad will display your current show/movie along with episode/movie information, pause buttons, and progress bar. The screen will auto-dim after a while, but considering how short the battery life is, I would have liked to see it shut off after a while on auto-dim. Luckily, the charger cord is of a decent length and total charge time doesn’t seem to be that bad.

The Pre-Installed Apps


Right out of the box, the Wii offers you 4 different video-watching services. Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and Amazon Instant are all included right from the start. I don’t have a Hulu Plus or Amazon account, so I was unable to view anything via these services, but I did take a look at Netflix and YouTube. Netflix is a decent app. You can watch on your TV or the Game Pad. Switching between the two is seamless and there is no delay at all. I just wish the Wii U’s Netflix app had the auto-play feature for TV show viewing, where a new episode would automatically start at the conclusion of the current one. That would be my only gripe with the app. HOWEVER! The YouTube app is completely terrible. I don’t know if I’m missing something, but this thing was completely impossible to navigate properly. I hope this thing gets updated soon.

As for other non-video apps, the Miiverse app is pretty cool and easy to navigate. It’s like a simplified Facebook. Pick a community to post in, whether it’s an app or game, and you can comment on it, draw a picture, or give a “Yeah!” to a post you like or agree with (think Facebook “likes”). The eShop is alright the way it is… for now. I have a feeling it will need to be updated as more games get added to it. Two pages of games is not difficult to navigate at the moment, but as more games and apps are added, some clear division will be needed. The 3DS eShop has this problem. There is no way to view certain games unless you specifically search for them.

The Mii Maker is pretty much the same as always, but you can transfer your Mii from another system if you so choose. I transferred mine from my 3DS. That Mii is then tied to your brand new Nintendo Network ID! No more friend codes! Yay! You can also create a Mii from scratch or use the camera on the Game Pad to take your picture and build one from that.

The Games


Like I said earlier the only two games I’ve played so far are the ones pictured here. I really like both of these games. New Super Mario Bros. U is nothing revolutionary, but as a Mario nut, it sufficiently gives me my fix. Plus, it’s actually a bit challenging! Multiplayer can be played with multiple Wii remotes and/or the Game Pad. However, the Game Pad in multiplayer can only be used for Boost Mode, where you can tap on the screen to create blocks to help your 2nd player (and/or 3rd and 4th players). I would have liked to have the option to use just the Game Pad and Wii remote when my girlfriend and I played 2-player, but it wasn’t a big deal. There are also some neat challenge modes, similar to the coin rush mode on New Super Mario Bros. 2 on 3DS. Some are timed speed runs, some have you competing in endurance challenges.

Nintendo Land is the Wii Sports of this system, but so far seems to be so much more than what Wii Sports was. Unfortunately since I lack a Wii Motion Plus (merely setting for regular remotes) I wasn’t able to experience all games. I’m not sure I would have paid $60 for this (as those that purchased the Basic Set will have to, should they choose to play this game), but for a pack-in game, it’s perfect. Mario Chase and Pikmin Adventure are two of my favorites so far. I haven’t played all that were available to me, but we seemed to have the most fun with those ones out of the games we played.

Overall Impression


This is a fun system as it is and it has the potential to be so much more than it already is. I was a bit skeptical when it was first announced, but playing one could change your mind, if you’re wavering on buying one. The big annoyance out of the box is that EVERYTHING NEEDS AN UPDATE! The system itself (the infamous 5 GB download), each app, and both disc-based games so far. Some technical hiccups are to be expected with a new system launch and I try not to get upset about these updates (and I didn’t!) but it’s a bit frustrating when you’re excited to pop in the latest Mario adventure and you have to wait another 10-15 minutes for the update to download and install. I forgive it though. Just like every other system, it’s not perfect out of the box. It’ll get better with age. But as it is, it’s pretty fantastic. I’m not saying you MUST go out and get one, but if you were at least considering it… do it!

Hey, you there! Did you know I’m on the Facebook? I’m also on the Twitter! Guess what? I got that Nintendo Network ID too! Send a friend request to FiveDollarGamer on the Nintendo Network if you have a Wii U!

As always, thanks for reading!


System: 3DS eShop (also available on PC, Mac, and Android)

Release Date: December 29th, 2011

Rarity: N/A (it’s a download-only game after all!)

Price: $7.99

“Wait, hold on, FDG! I thought your name was the FIVE Dollar Gamer! What’s this $7.99 business?!” Let me spin you a tale, dear reader. You see, fairly recently (as of the time this article was written) Nintendo started discounting a game for a weekend. One of the first games they made cheap(er) for a weekend was retro-modern (modern-retro) game VVVVVV. What magical price point did they discount this game to? Why, it was lowered… for one weekend… to $4.99. Which happens to be the regular price for the game on Steam… soooo I win on a technicality? I’d rather play on my 3DS anyway.

Nintendo knows me.

I’ll admit the thing that initially hooked me, beside the price, was the retro-style graphics. Despite the 80’s PC-looking graphics, this was a game developed only a couple of years ago. It is part of a growing trend of indie games utilizing 8-bit graphics in modern-day games. But you know what? This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the game programmed around it is good. I have been conned before into playing a bad game because the retro graphics made me wax nostalgically about “the good ol’ days” of gaming.

Pictured: One of the thieving bastards.

VVVVVV is quite an interesting game. You play as Captain Viridian and you must rescue the other crew members of your spaceship after a teleport goes wrong and separates your crew. Each crew member’s name starts with a V (hence the name of the game). The game is open-ended, allowing you to begin your journey in any direction. Viridian moves from screen to screen avoiding spikes, enemies, and other traps and dangers. But you don’t do this by jumping or shooting some kind of awesome space blaster. The controls for this game are very simple. L, R, A, B, X, and Y all serve the same function. Hit one of these buttons and gravity will flip, allowing Viridian to walk on the ceiling.

“Hey spikes! I can see down your shirt!”

For a game with such a simple control scheme it can be downright brutal at times. Some rooms are like puzzles that you must navigate flawlessly to get through. One wrong move will send you back to the last checkpoint. Lucky for us, the checkpoints are plentiful. Also lucky for us, the lives are like soup, salad, and breadsticks at Olive Garden, completely unlimited.

But less likely to give you an upset stomach.

It may not seem like there is too much to this game, but just when you’re beginning to think that, a new small twist gets thrown at you that drastically changes how you play certain sections of the game. For example, after finding one of your crewmates, a teleporter once again fails on you, and instead of bringing you back to your ship, you must navigate several rooms of death with your partner in tow. Problem: While your crew member will automatically follow you, he does not have the same gravity-defying abilities you do. The strategy lies in the fact that he will not move while you are on the ceiling. Once you hit the floor he will come running to your location. One room will have you flipping back and forth between the floor and ceiling several times as your crewmate navigates a series of moving platforms placed precariously above and below a series of spikes. Oh, and stay on the platforms too long and it will deliver his squishy skull into the bloodthirsty spikes.

This is that room. The room that nearly broke me. It broke Viridian several times though!

There are also several collectables scattered throughout. These shiny trinkets don’t server a purpose at first and it isn’t explained to you (at least not up to the point I played) what purpose collecting all 20 will do, but Viridian brushes it off by basically saying “Eh, why not?!”

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

If you want a game that will test your patience with challenging action puzzles, this is the perfect game for you. I had to put the game down at several points (especially during “…Not as I Do”) just to avoid bursting out in a series of swears. But not once did I feel like it was the game’s fault. The flipping mechanic and physics are smooth as buttah. And the rush of relief I got after getting through “…Not as I Do” was what put the game over the top for me. It was some kind of weird high for me. That a game can get me so emotionally invested, not through its story, but through its gameplay is just… awesome. If you don’t want to pay $7.99 for it on the 3DS eShop, like I said, it’s $4.99 on Steam ($2.49 during the summer sale!).

If you flipped for Episode 14, then spike my traffic on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

System: Game Boy

Release Date: March 1991 (Game Boy)/January 18th, 2012 (3DS Virtual Console)

Rarity: 48%

Price/Location: $2.99/Nintendo eShop

I love Nintendo. Nintendo is in my blood. Nintendo has been in my house in one form or another since before I was even born (full disclosure: 1987). So when I am virtually strolling along the Virtual Console section of their 3DS eShop, I tend to take their word for it when they upload classic Game Boy games. A lot of these games I had never heard of. I saw it as a virtual goldmine of material. Classic, unknown Game Boy games hand-picked by Nintendo to be shared with gamers worldwide, all priced at under $5 no less! Some of these games I had played before and were better known like Super Mario Land 2 and Kirby’s Dream Land, but the Five Dollar Gamer likes to keep his game review choices as sight unseen as possible.

Shut up Neil deGrasse Tyson or I’ll give you some stars to look at.

I chose Maru’s Misson from the bunch because it was about a ninja. Ninjas are cool. How could I go wrong with this game? It’s from the early 1990s and it’s about ninjas.

This assertion typically applies only to video games.

Before I discuss the game play I wanted to point out the hilariously inaccurate box art. I mentioned this game was about ninjas, but as you can tell from the American box art, there appears to be an average 1991 kid featured. The screenshots shown on the 3DS VC store show a cute little ninja sprite.

Awwww. :3

Why? Why change it? Would Americans not buy a game with ninjas on it? Is it not American enough? Why must we change the box art for game about a freakin’ ninja into one featuring a character who looks NOTHING like his in-game counterpart. It should have prepared me for what I was about to stumble into.

Yeah. That’s stupid. No kid would want that. Give him a backwards cap and a Walkman.

The opening cinematic gives you the bare-bones basics of the razor-thin plot of this game. You, Maru, are walking with your girlfriend, Cori, in New York when a monster jumps out of the water and kidnaps her. That’s it. No dialogue. I forgive this transgression against storytelling because it’s an early-1990s Game Boy game and hope that like Chaos Legion before this, the gameplay will make up for the forgettable (non-) story. So the controls are pretty straightforward and standard platformer fare. A to jump, B to attack/shoot. If you hold A you can jump higher… all the way off the screen even. You’ll eventually come crashing down though, so don’t think you’ll be pulling a Kirby and flying through the level to avoid enemies.


When you throw your shurikens at an enemy and defeat it, you get an item that refills 5 units of health, which is useful because each hit will cost you 10. Now, these health items I’m assuming are supposed to be the spirit of the enemy you killed, but my dirty mind can’t help but wistfully play in the gutter and think it looks like something else…

I’ll just come (pun not intended) out and say it. It looks like sperm.

At about the same point in each level, right near the start you get a random power up such as bombs, comet-looking things that shoot from left to right wiping out any enemy in your way or a warp to the end of the level. Yes. Randomly it will warp you to the end of the level. I’ll talk more about this in the summary. The levels themselves are not too long and before you know it you’re at the first miniboss, Eyeclops. He goes down easy and gives you an item to help fight the level boss, Insector. Now, I don’t mean, you defeat him and an item pops out of nowhere or you gain access to an item he was guarding. He willfully gives it to you saying it will help you defeat the boss.

I’d thank you if your lack of loyalty didn’t sicken me.

You get to Insector beat him and he tells you Cori has been moved to Romania. So off to Romania, right? Whoa, whoa, whoa! Not so fast there, gamer! You’re going to go kill sharks first! …what?!

Ancient ninja secret. They never tell gaijin about the part of ninja training where they use harpoon guns to kill aquatic life.

So then. After that odd distraction, you’re off to Romania now! … … … I said you’re off to Romania now! … … …

Everyone is familiar with the arid Romanian desert right? When I think “Romania” I think “F*** Dracula! Watch out for that killer cacti!”

Whatever. You fight Wolfman and he gives you some garlic to fight Dracula. At least the 2nd part of this level is true to the image one would ACTUALLY think of when picturing Romania. Kill Dracula and he tells you Cori has been moved to Greece where Medusa awaits. They sure are going through a lot of trouble to keep Cori away from me. Greece is some kind of underground bone dungeon. I made it to the miniboss, Golem. That’s where I stopped. I’ll explain why.


This game pissed me off. The flimsy story, questionable shark killing, and misused environments are one thing, but on 3 separate playthroughs I made it to the Golem and died. What happens when you die? Well, let me show you:

Push Start… to waste your time.

No lives. No continues. Die, and it’s back to the title screen. Remember when I said I’ll talk more about the “warp to the boss” power-up? I wanted to talk about it here because it’s one of the things that pissed me off about this game. I started off one particular level low on health and had planned on meticulously defeating enemies and gaining health so that I had plenty of leeway in battling the boss. Nope. I warped to the end of the level still low on health and soon to be destroyed by said boss. The health power ups are useless since you lose more when you get hit than you gain by getting the health item. In many games it’s a 1:1 ratio or a #>1:1 ratio. In this game it’s 1:2. Sure, it makes it challenging. But when there are so many freaking enemies on screen, they’re hard to avoid. Not to mention, said enemy count causes some significant slowdown. Nintendo may have acquired the rights to distribute a bunch of Jaleco Game Boy games digitally, but that doesn’t mean that should have. I can’t vouch for the other Jaleco games they put up on there, but this game doesn’t make me want to take a shot at them. If you have a 3DS, please, leave this game in the virtual bargain bin. You can do way better for about $3.

Like using that $3 to buy (roughly) a gallon of gas to drive to the store to by a better game.

That does it for Episode 4 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!