Video Works by Jeremy Parish

Don't let the weird name fool you: This is totally a Bomberman game. In fact, it's one of the first Bomberman titles to have evolved the series beyond the basic maze action design, incorporating an adventure element, an economy, and a smartly balanced customizable power-up scheme. Weird that such an important entry in the long-running franchise would be hidden away behind an unrelated name… but that's the choppy localization history of Bomberman for ya.

We wrap our look at the second wave of Nintendo's Black Box launch titles for the NES with a notable capstone: Gumshoe. Besides being one of the most inventive concepts for a shooter ever, Gumshoe also has the distinction of being the first NES game designed exclusively for the U.S. (and European) market. Too bad it's so punishingly difficult most American kids never saw the ending! Or even stage 2!

A shamelessly derivative Nintendo game? Yeah, these things do happen. But even if Balloon Fight looks suspiciously similar to a certain other game, it has a heck of a legacy... and it's totally a blast, thanks to its fluid, fast-paced action, two-player co-op, and fantastic Balloon Trip mode. It's one of the good ones.

Nintendo's very first entry into the brawler genre was in some respects a landmark work, but it doesn't hold up well at all more than 30 years later — especially in light of the fact that Nintendo released the NES version of Kung-Fu a few months prior in the U.S. Whoops!