Video games are now as American as apple pie and baseball and in the 1980s, the word “Nintendo” was synonymous with the phrase, “video games.” For over 30 years, people still cherish childhood memories of taking weeks to beat various games, using the Contra Code (up, up, down, down, left, right, A+B, select, start) or remembering the code to get to Mike Tyson.
In the past three decades, musician and video game store manager Jay Bartlett, has collected everything video game related and continues to share his love for Nintendo.
Meet, documentarian Robert McCallum, who followed his best friend, giving him only 30 days to find all 678 North American Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) released game in the ultimate fanboy adventure. Bartlett accepted the challenge and the two went on their journey making the film, Nintendo Quest.
“It’s a lot bigger than ‘Did he do it?’ Jay isn’t a perfect hero without flaws, he doesn’t like conflict, you can see in the beginning when he was trying to negotiate,” said McCallum about his best friend.
The kicker was, Bartlett was not allowed to use the internet in order to find them or else, the documentary would be about 67 seconds long. They had to go town-to-town, store-to-store, paying only in cash and had to start from scratch, excluding his own private collection.
Bartlett’s Astoria bandmate Glenn Stanway said, “There are three things Jay is passionate about, Star Wars, Rock ‘n’ Roll and videos games.”
Only one video game was excluded from the list was the Nintendo World Championships 1990, but everything else was a must have, no cheat codes, no game genie and you can’t buy the bonus expansion packs the way people do today.
The Adventure began in Ontario, Canada and went south into the United States. On day one alone, Bartlett collected well over 40 games but the question is will he hit all 678? That’s something you’ll have to see for yourself.
So what made Nintendo standout? It was zany, kooky, a world of fantasy and fun, something that we have lost in the strive for realism with the advancement of graphics. There are no more Hogan’s Alley, Dig Dug or Marble Madness, no poppy music that stuck in your head for ages. There is a throwback to a simpler time for simpler games…except Silver Surfer and Die Hard, those games were way too damn hard.
“We wanted to make people happy but we wanted to talk about it in a legacy like discussion then, how has it changed and what are we yearning for today. Digital vs. physicals. You want a full connection, if you don’t fully own it, then there’s no connection,” said McCallum about the documentary and the legacy of Nintendo.
As we speak, a new game based on the movie being designed as an 8-Bit cartridge for the Original NES, is coming out next year via DigiCorp. It’s an unlimited Final Fantasy style game with the object being to win over collectors that have turned to the dark side and return them to the Nintendo Quest journey. According to McCallum, there might be a digital version but a very different ending that couldl be somewhat disappointing. You might not ever get to see the final image of the game if you go digital with this one.
This is a fun fanboy adventure that you don’t want to miss, the only real issue that Bartlett will face is being Canadian Nice in the U.S. while on his quest to conquer all 678 games. This is definitely every old school gamer fantasy come true.
Nintendo Quest is available globally on Vimeo now and will be released on all major digital platforms in North America on December 1, 2015.