The NES Enshrined

Last Updated: 1-30-00 --- (MacDief, First Thane of Candy Land)

"I just had the strongest memory -- coming home from school and going to the fridge... ice cold bottle of milk... big piece of chocolate cake. Just the simplicity of it... I can't think of anything that'll make me feel that happy again."
-Charles Van Doren, as portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in Quiz Show

erhaps I am overly sentimental. If history is of any relevance I am without a doubt so. However, something broader than that needs to be said on the subject at hand -- the subject of webmastery; the subject of classic videogaming; ultimately the subject of nostalgia. So I'll drop back a bit from where my narration presently stands. Oh boy, a chance to ramble.

I do not pretend to love the American 1980s. An entire era of pop-culture fixated upon high school bears little resemblance to my proverbial cup of tea (although I must give due notation to Perfect Strangers, The Cosby Show, and the beginning of They Might Be Giants.) It is probably befitting, then, that the greatest love I extracted from that period was, in point of fact, an import -- and an amplification of the situation's irony that it has probably had a greater influence upon me than any other single thing.

Okay, so that's dramatic. It is not unfounded, however. My staunch belief in the universal human potential for heroism comes not from religious doctrines (Christian pontifications of an entirely separate, paternalistic god make no sense to me anyway) but the experiences of toppling evil on countless fronts that the Nintendo Entertainment System accorded my youth. Moreover, the system supplied an outlet of common interest to a remarkable number of people, such that I cultivated an inordinate number of friendships, and by way of which NES aficionados became as unified an interest group as any short of the Star Trek fandom.

That love -- that universal aesthetic recognition -- eventually fell by the wayside. The quality of the preexisting games remained, but the unit was no longer central. In my own case, I forgot it for some time. Then again, so did most. That reality opened the door for the revelation key to this very web scene's existence -- namely, the NES Renaissance.

The lost-then-found nature of the experience is, I admit, a cliché -- akin to by and large every experience of "rebirth" that has ever been of any significance to anybody. However, as the SNES era dawned, the majority of what I call "NES Preservationists" were far too young to weigh the conflicting standards at hand. Moreover, videogaming did not disintegrate in one fell swoop. The SNES featured numerous quality titles, and for that reason the gaming public was happy to accept it. Players did not know their ideals were soon to be abandoned -- they had no choice but to get lost.

A few years went by, after which, in my own life, a remarkable thing took place. I looked around the gaming realm and realized that, while I was running around the modern scene with my head up a certain private orifice,
the majestic castle in which I once revelled had been reduced to ruins. Gaming simply was not what it had once been. It had given itself over to something entirely committed to appearance -- fallen in with the cult of superficiality I in my fancy ascribe to the aformentioned eighties. Those who felt slightly disenchanted with that reality were mocked by game producers through such vehicles as Cranky Kong. I felt displaced, and feeling displaced I did what most people do when met with such a sensation -- I got pissed as hell. I wrote a satirical depiction of GamePro magazine, and systematically cancelled my subscriptions to the many gaming publications whose arrivals I had once sought expectantly (it was founded by that time, though -- when I e-mailed a lengthy diatribe to GamePro, their response was "way to go." I still don't know what they meant.) Then, aided by The Ninja Gaiden Homepage and 8 Bits of Power!, I found a more constructive outlet for those energies. That is, my "Renaissance" occurred.

It is difficult to describe the experience in universal terms -- mainly because each such sensation is relative to the individual. That suits me perfectly, for I don't want to define it. I don't want to apply weeks of intense cognition only to understand something less than I understand it now. This I know, and this I choose to believe: the "NES Renaissance" is very much the experience Fiennes/Van Doren was describing -- the sudden epiphany -- the "just ha[ving] the strongest memory." Really, that is what this entire preservationist retinue is championing -- even when we dissect games mercilessly in review form, we are, in effect, declaiming upon their multifaceted natures, their inherent uniqueness, their worthiness to be reviewed. How many original things are left to say after one has talked about three N64 games? Not many, I would imagine.

Well, we're championing their aesthetic quality and the somewhat unearned
right of a bunch of sixteen-to-twenty-six-year-olds to sit around like World War II veterans, reminiscing about the days of old, taking those old records off the shelf, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...

Sorry I got so homiletic there.

Oh, and welcome to The NES Enshrined (bienvenido al NES Enshrined)!

Select Your Destination From The Following Choices:

Recent Updates - A documentation of recent updates to the site.

Game Reviews - Reviews and informative overviews (varying in length) of the one hundred and fifty-five NES games I own.

Pedantry - Read on as I probe down to levels of gaming profundity that don't really exist. And when you're done, slam your head into a wooden button to learn the real truth (it'll make sense when you're finished.)

The Stump - A haven for views, theories, and other NES-related epistles -- open, I should add, to whatever you might like to contribute.

1999 NES Game Tournament - It's over now, but I had grand old time organizing it.

NES MIDI Library - My archive of NES MIDI files. For your reference, this is not one of those pitiful "I'm gonna post all four of the MIDIs I have for no better reason than to shatter your expectations" libraries. I have, for lack of a better euphemism, a two-fisted, "Big Mouth Burger"-esque helping of MIDI files. You won't be disappointed.

NES Media - Devoted to the many alternative forms of media (movies, print, etc.) that have made the NES the marketable superior of pretty much every other video game system -- before or since its time.

Links - Just what the name implies -- this is a page of links to other sites.

FAQ - Before you mail me, view this and see if it answers your questions.

Site History - Yet another totally practical tangent moulded to utter lunacy in mine hands (speaking in Shakespearean jive is fun.)

Acknowledgments - My homage to the many people who have helped both myself and the Shrine in various ways.

All About Dief - My bio -- suitable for those who, for reasons beyond my understanding, want to know more about me. (The title of the bio is a reference to the film All About Eve.)

Dief's Games - A listing of every video game I own, product of an itch of mine to add yet another personal touch to this site. Like the bio, this was inspired by a similar listing at Kupan's Literature Centre.

Webrings - A listing of the webrings to which my site belongs.

Disclaimer - If legal mumbojumbo is your bent, this should suit you.

This one rather speaks for itself...

(Dief says upon reception that accolades are not the true rewards
of his work. Then he goes backstage and points mockingly at his fellow webmasters
while dancing around like a lunatic.)

The NES Enshrined is history's first recipient of the

Similarly, this site has been named the

for November of 1998.

This site is honored to receive

for April of 1999

Questions, suggestions, commendations, condemnations, and proposals of marriage are welcome here. Solicitations, on the other hand, ARE NOT!

Graphics from Ultima: Exodus, and courtesy of what is now The Internet NES Database!, maintained by Michael Melanson.

My site can count. I'm very proud.

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