Konamitober Special: Memories of an Arcader

If you were a kid during the late 80s/early 90s and you saw a video game that caught your eye, or better yet, if you managed to see said game being played at a friend’s house or any toy/electronics store, you didn’t care all that much as to who made it. If the game was fun that was all you needed to know. Of course, as time went by and you got older you began to be curious as to who were the ones behind the scenes. Such was the case in my childhood/adolescence. Then when I read an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto about Star Fox 64 my curiosity began to grow, and when I finally got the Mega Man Anniversary Collection and saw the interview with Keiji Inafune that’s when I wanted to know all about how these games were made, and having watched Icons/Game Makers from G4 some of the stories are so interesting that they almost qualify as TV/Movie specials in and of themselves. To bring it back to what this is about, there was definitely some publishers that stood out during my NES days, and Konami was one of them, and it all started with some heroes in a half-shell, and a magazine called Nintendo Power.

Whenever I would go to my cousin’s house he would always have more games for his NES than I would, but I still got a kick out of playing Ducktales and this other game that gave me a shell shock-pun intended: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Like every kid in the 80s, I watched the original TMNT show religiously, and there was just something about these four turtles that grabbed my attention. Seeing them in action was nothing short of awesome, and being able to play as them on a NES was definitely a must-play and a must-have on my list. And when I finally got a copy for Christmas I was over the moon.

You never forget your first video game magazine.

Not too long after that I got my first copy of Nintendo Power (Volume 27), and the article about Gradius 3 on the Super Nintendo was nothing short of incredible. Even showing the screenshots of previous titles like Life Force and Gradius 1 and how they compare to what the third installment would be – just wow!

While I am still waiting for the SNES version to make its way to the SNES app, I’m content with what I have (Gradius on my NES app, and the Arcade Archives version on my Switch), and having beaten Gradius 1 I see now why it is such a classic, and one that never gets old.

Then many years that I discovered Contra 3: The Alien Wars which was a whole other experience. I mean, c’mon, what could be better than blasting away at alien invaders on a side-scrolling platformer?

Many more years later I discovered Yu-Gi-Oh, and I gained a whole new appreciation for card-based games.

In all, Konami had definitely helped shape my childhood early on, and that impact still lingers to this day, especially now with many classics now available to play in various ways, and with the compilation many Arcaders had been waiting for: The TMNT Cowabunga Collection!

Even now, it’s still amazing to see this.

While it would be nice to see Konami back in the limelight more, I am still glad for the memories their games made, and it showed that thanks to their contributions early on, Konami cemented themselves as a true developer/publisher, and one that helped push the Arcade, as well as the 8-Bit/16-Bit console eras into the true Golden Ages that they were.

Thank you Konami, and Cowabunga!

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