Mario, Zelda, Metroid and more on your 3DS. Now you're playing with power!
Only July 28th, Nintendo made a pretty bold move. In hopes of spiking 3DS sales, Nintendo announced a $80 price cut for the 3DS, a huge amount for so soon in its lifespan. To stop fans who bought the 3DS at full price from raging, Nintendo offered what they called "3DS Ambassadors" (people who bought a 3DS before the price drop), 20 free games to download. Ten would be GBA titles, and ten NES titles. The first batch of titles released a few days ago, the 10 NES games. And there are some pretty cool games, both famous and under-the-radar for 3DS Ambassadors to check out...

Overall, I was very impressed by the ambassador program so far. I think Nintendo's choice of NES games was pretty awesome. I mean, they could have given us all crap games, but instead gave out some of the best ones, for free. For our rock-dwellers, the ten NES games given were: Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Metroid, Wrecking Crew, Balloon Fight, Yoshi, Ice Climber, Donkey Kong Jr., NES Open Tournament Golf. Pretty impressive list, huh? Nearly all the games are part of an iconic franchise now (Mario Golf anyone?). And releasing them again on the 3DS gives younger gamers a chance to experience how their favorite franchises got started.

This showdown never fails to be epic.
I've been really enjoying three of the games so far. Not surprisingly, one is Super Mario Bros. (SMB). This game still holds up fabulously to modern platformers. I know this will be controversial, but to me the first Super Mario Bros. is the best of the NES bunch. Even if you don't agree, it's hard to deny that SMB is still a great game, and a classic. Up until now, I've played SMB mostly via the GBC version, Super Mario Bros. Deluxe. Playing the original NES version, there's an added wrinkle of challenge, because if you get a Game Over, you start not from the last level you were on, but the last world (hold down A when you get the Game Over screen to reset on the world you were on). This makes it a little more challenging, as you have to manage your lives more carefully.

Balloon Fight, now on the 3DS.

The next one I'm digging is Balloon Fight. Bouncy physics, bouncy physics, bouncy physics! This score-based arcade game has got me a little addicted. It's a simple game, but mastering the fore-mentioned bouncy physics adds a really fun element. There is a set number of lives, and you have to try and beat as many different rounds as you can. The difficulty ramps up nicely, from just a few enemies to many, plus a man-eating fish, and bouncy lightening. Plus, the Balloon Trip mode is fun to try and last as long as you can.

Finally, the game that I've spent the most time with is the action-puzzler, Wrecking Crew. I think a lot of gamers will have this one fly under their radar, which is a shame. It has a few similarities to the great Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. Both star Mario, traversing a puzzle area to try defeat a puzzle. In this, Mario must destroy every object on the screen with his hammer before he dies. As he can't jump, both quick reflexes to dodge the many tricky enemies and obstacle, and a smart brain to decide when to destroy certain things like ladders, are required to succeed. There are 100 levels to play, and if you get stuck on one you can skip levels freely (go to the Start menu, then press A or B to choose which "phase" you want to play). Plus, there is a level designer, which is kind of awesome. You can even keep the levels that you made, like the Wii Virtual Console version. Definitely try this one out.

These old games are still a blast to play, and beating all of the will take even seasoned gamers a while. Having them on a portable feels great. Even if you hate NES games, this makes the wait for new 3DS titles a little more bearable.

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