There are tons of great modern video games available nowadays and coming in the near future, with many of them making great use of advancements in A.I., physics engines, and realistic graphics. But for some gamers, nothing beats the simple 8-bit pixels and midi-chip sounds coming from their favorite chunky cartridges.
Whether it's out of revered respect for the classics or nostalgia-fueled blindness, the older gamers always tend to say "they don't make them like they used to." And for the most part that's true. Apart from some indie developers, you don't see a whole lot of new 2D platformers or point-and-click adventure games coming out.
Of course, since many of the kids who played these classic games have now grown up, some have decided to pay tribute to these classics the best way they know how: with memes. Whether it's to talk about some great aspect of those games that aren't present in modern games or take a jab at some weird mechanics from the past, there seems to be no end to the supply of comics, fan art, and memes based on classic video games.
Today, we're going to be taking a look at 25 hilarious comics and memes based on classic video games. So dust off those cartridges, type in those DOS commands, and get ready to remember the good old days before microtransactions were a thing.
25 Dude (Looks Like A Lady)
Anyone who's played Final Fantasy VII knows about this curious little quest that occurs pretty early in the game. In order to get Tifa to join your party, you'll have to find her in Don Corneo's Mansion. Unfortunately, men aren't allowed inside, so Cloud has to pull some serious undercover skills and put on a dress and wig to get in.
This mission can lead to some funny moments.
If you choose the highest quality dress and accessories, Don Corneo may actually try to kiss you. He's not the only fan, as Aeris, Tifa, and Yuffie all seem to prefer Cloud's dress to his usual attire. They're probably big fans of "Boy's Love" anime as well. And if you think Cloud looks cute as a girl, don't worry. Remember, traps aren't gay.
24 The Fastest Plumber Alive
Many modern games try to strive for realism, with the far-reaching goal that maybe someday video game worlds will be on par with the real world. One such game franchise that does this is Call of Duty's Modern Warfare series. Taking place in a mostly real-world setting, the developers put you in the shoes of an elite soldier. Even special forces have limits, though, so players can only sprint short distances before having to catch their breath.
Turn back the clock to 1985 when realism was the last thing in anyone's mind. If there was enough empty space in front of Mario, he could run at top speed across the whole Mushroom Kingdom in just a few hours. And all while subsisting solely on a diet of mushrooms as big as he is. Not so elite now, are you, Soap?
23 Backtracking: The Game
Collectables and 3D platformers are a lot like butter and bread: they're tasty and go great together, but if you focus too much on the butter you're gonna get a heart attack. The 3D Super Mario games have their fair share of collectibles. There are the stars in Mario 64, the Shines in Sunshine, and now the Power Moons in Odyssey. But probably one of the most difficult and time-consuming examples comes from Rare's now forgotten N64 gem Donkey Kong 64.
DK 64 had you collect five different colored coins on each stage.
Simple, right? Except you had to do it five times, once as each Kong character, and the location of each coin changes with the character. And with eight different stages, that means you had to spend the next couple weekends looking for 200 coins. Maybe this game isn't so much forgotten as it is repressed.
22 At Least It Wasn't Dysentery
Many gamers growing up in the 80s remember playing The Oregon Trail on the computers at school or the library. Not only has it become the gold standard for educational video games, but it has become infamous for how difficult it is to beat. Wagons break down, supplies can run out quickly and settlers perished from almost anything, including exhaustion, drowning, and of course, dysentery.
Diabetes isn't exactly a walk in the park either. And while it doesn't exactly compare to traveling the treacherous 2,000-mile journey, there are some dangers. Eye damage, foot ulcers, and kidney disease are serious concerns, so diabetics really need to pay close attention to what they eat. Unfortunately, this sometimes means there's nothing suitable on the menu. I wonder how difficult a diabetes educational game would be...
21 Hasta La Vista, Devil
There are many awesome modern first-person shooters on the market right now, but when it comes to which is the most badass of all, many retro gamers would agree Doom takes the title. Doom was definitely a product of its time: featuring a heavy metal soundtrack, demons straight out of Dungeons & Dragons, and an action movie hero who almost looks like the mighty Austrian himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The run and gun action of the game is clearly inspired by Ahnold movies like Commando and Predator.
In fact, there were even some popular modified WADs back in the day that would add Predators and Terminators as enemies, drawing the comparisons even closer. Sure, Duke Nukem might’ve had better one-liners, but Doom is king when it comes to feeling like an action movie.
20 David Vs. Goliath: Round 2
For those of us who went to Sunday school, we'd often hear simplified versions of famous Bible stories, sometimes accompanied by an episode of VeggieTales or some other cartoon. We'd then be asked to remember those lessons and take what we learned in our everyday lives. Usually, this would amount to something like "be kind to others," but the story of David vs. Goliath left a different impression on young gamers.
There was always that one boss that was so insanely difficult, it seemed impossible to beat. There was Mizar's final form in Jet Force Gemini, Red Falcon in Contra, but the best parallel of all would have to be Little Mac's final fight against Mike Tyson in Punch-Out!!. Freakishly large, insanely fast and with fists like a freight train, kids everywhere felt like they were taking on their own Goliath.
19 I've Got A Golden Ticket
For as long as there have been multiplayer shooters, there have been overpowered weapons. Many online players nowadays complain about the AWP in Counter-Strike, the Warlock's melee attack in Destiny and Bastion in Overwatch, claiming that these weapons are unfair and need to be nerfed.
But the first OP gun is still the king of imbalanced gameplay in many gamer's hearts: the Golden Gun from GoldenEye 007.
Based on the villain's weapon from Goldfinger, the Golden Gun became notorious for being the first one-hit gun in multiplayer (not counting rocket launchers or explosives). The first player to find the gun instantly monopolized the scoreboard, and it became a race for the other players to find where it was spawning. Reveling in gleeful delight as your friends kept getting more and more frustrated was one of the most memorable highlights of the N64's days.
18 Your Taxes Hard At Work
Remember the good old days when you didn't have to worry about politics and paying taxes and all you really knew about government was what you learned playing SimCity and that one Schoolhouse Rock song about the bill? Sadly, for those of us who grew up playing these classic games, we now have the responsibility to pay attention to the messy world of government politics. But that knowledge does have one extra benefit: understanding political satire.
And sure, TV shows like the Daily Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert do a great job, but when looking for the voice of the youth, the only reliable source is memes. For those unfamiliar with the arcade classic Cruis'n USA, most of the tracks are littered with road hazards, such as potholes. All pretty mundane, until the track takes you into an underwater tunnel. Who's running this city?
Back in the good old days of classic fighting games, there were no DLC characters or content, but there were plenty of hidden secrets. There was Reptile in the first Mortal Kombat, Sentinel in the first Marvel vs. Capcom, and the hidden diagnostic menus in the original Mortal Kombat cabinets. But one of the most memorable secret bonus fights was Street Fighter II's "Some Honda," in which the player has less than a minute to destroy a car with their bare fists and feet.
But fighters don't always have to be about aggression, right?
That's why Mortal Kombat II added those happy "Friendship" finishing moves. It is with that same spirit that some fan artist decided to reimagine that famous bonus stage as a friendly mini-game about car washing, presumably to fund some well-meaning local cause.
16 The Need For Speed
Racing games are unique among video games in that they usually have some of the most climactic finishes of all games. Sure, things can get pretty exciting in shooters and sports games, but very rarely do those matches come down to the wire. Maybe its the fact that you're actually racing down the road as fast as you can, but the intensity is palpable in the final lap. Nowhere is this more clear than in Mario Kart.
Due to the items and boost pads, Mario Kart is actually more intense than other, more realistic racers. You can be in first place the whole game, but with just one Koopa shell, you can lose that edge right before the finish line. And that's not even getting into the hazardous tracks, like Rainbow Road. That final lap is key, so when the music speeds up, so should you.
15 Beware Of Chickens
While many games put players in the shoes of heroes intent on saving the world, there are still many that provide plenty of opportunity for cruelty. The Grand Theft Auto series seems to run on this, and it's even available in games like The Sims and Zoo Tycoon. However, sometimes developers will sneak in consequences for these actions.
No consequence is more thoroughly engraved in gamers than what happens after attacking the chicken in The Legend of Zelda.
Early on in A Link to the Past, players can find a chicken (called Cucco) in Kakariko Village. Unaware gamers looking for a food item or an easy end might attack the unusually resilient bird. After several swings of your sword, a flock of Cuccos will descend upon you from all directions, attacking mercilessly, and can potentially end you. Poultry has never been so frightening.
14 That's One Way To Deal
Whenever something starts to get too popular with the kids, parents and authority figures blame them as the source of any delinquent behavior among the youth. It was rock n' roll back in the fifties, horror comics in the sixties, heavy metal in the seventies, and Dungeons & Dragons in the eighties. But from the nineties onward, the video game industry has been a lightning rod for heavily biased accusations from parents and politicians.
Many gamers like to point out the hypocrisy of these "moral guardians," including Colombian artist Jago, author of the webcomic Living with Hipstergirl and Gamergirl. He tends to use Erika (the titular Gamergirl) as a mouthpiece for his opinions on this and current trends in the industry. He also tends to use her (and every other female character) for "fanservice," so be aware of that if you want to check out the webcomic.
13 The Hero Of Hyaah!!
Video game heroes tend to fall into one of two categories: voiced characters with their own personalities (Grand Theft Auto V, Overwatch) and silent protagonists for players to project themselves onto (early Call of Duty, Skyrim, Pokémon). However, there are a few cases in which even the supposedly silent protagonists aren't so silent.
In order to make the action more convincing, they have to let out the occasional grunt and wince.
Link took that a step forward in Ocarina of Time. While he never actually says anything, he does tend to scream a lot. Whether he's attacking enemies or being attacked, he yells just as often as he grunts. Kind of makes you wonder how a guy who communicates solely in screams is able to court a princess.
12 Much Metal. Such Gear.
There are many different elements to take into account when making a timeless and iconic video game, but one key factor is certainly memorable and unique characters. Whether they have distinct characterizations and personalities or they just have a really cool design, characters are important. Hideo Kojima took this into account when he was making Metal Gear Solid, and created one of the most memorable rosters of characters in video game history.
Now, these characters are cool and all, but what if they were doges? That thought must've gone through someone's head because now we have Metal Gear Doge, the greatest in stealth-doge action. All your favorite characters are here: Old Doge, the classic Solid Doge, and the fan base-splitting Raidoge. There are even classic villains like Psychoge Mantis and Rewowlver Ocelot. The critics agree, "Much action. Such espionage."
11 NES, Now In 4K!
Many classic gamers and even some modern gamers agree that the NES is one of the greatest video game systems of all time. It saved the industry from the video game crash of 1983 and pretty much created and defined the 2D platformer with titles like Super Mario Bros. and Contra. As true as all those points are, there are some serious drawbacks.
You can't play Grand Theft Auto on it. Or Skyrim. Or Resident Evil 7.
There's also the fact that modern systems now have 4K resolution, whereas the NES was severely limited graphics wise. So what's a classic gamer to do? Reskin your modern systems to look the classic console of your childhood. Sure, you can't actually (legally) play any Nintendo games on it, but it's a nice reminder of a simpler era.
10 Yo, Dawg! I Hear You Like NES Games...
As time and technology marches forward, things that were once considered on the cutting edge have now become quaint. That is certainly the case with the NES and its library of games. In fact, this image takes up more space on a hard drive (613 KB) than a ROM of Super Mario Bros. 3 (221 KB). Though that may sound depressing, it means that those chunky cartridges can be retrofitted to house a lot more than they could back in the 80's.
One fan had the brilliant idea of turning a Super Mario Bros. cartridge into an NES. Why would anyone do something like this, you may ask? The same reason people climb Mt. Everest: because they can! And because this dawg truly likes his NES games, he must place one inside the other.
9 Lifelike Graphics
As great as classic games are, they leave a lot to be desired in the graphics department. This is especially the case during the jump to 3D polygons. Games like Super Mario 64 and Tomb Raider look laughable nowadays, with characters comprised entirely of geometric shapes. Honestly, it's amazing anyone was attracted to Lara Croft when she first came out, considering her flat face and triangular chest.
Game publishers are trying to rectify this with the use of HD remakes, such as last year's incredibly popular Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. But what if developers take things a step further and make truly realistic looking remakes? Like a Sonic game where he actually looks like a hedgehog? Or a Super Mario game where the Chomps actually have realistic looking teeth. Maybe realistic graphics aren't everything they're cracked up to be.
8 No Filter
Group selfies are always fun. You're hanging out with your friends, having a good time, and someone calls everyone to get in for the picture. However, there's sometimes that one friend who likes to throw on unnecessary filters. They want to put it in black and white cause it looks "artistic" and "deep," or in sepia tone so everyone looks like extras from 300. Or, worst of all, sparkles.
Sometimes it's better to take the filters off and show people how you really look.
Even if the difference is as daunting as in this image. This comic seems to address the difference between the cover art and graphics of classic games. Most of the time, they didn't match up. Simon Belmont doesn't look like the Conan clone on the cover of Castlevania in-game. Fortunately, Mega Man doesn't look like the weird blue-and-yellow jumpsuit guy from the cover either.
7 Superman Vs. One Italian Plumber
Many classic gamers argue that the older games are infinitely greater than anything that has been released today. While it's true that there were some truly great games on the older consoles, there were many more crappy games being released than there are now. Many gamers only remember the greats, though, so that's why they have such a skewed perception. However, there were some games that were so terrible, they could never be forgotten.
Superman 64 is one such game. Featuring gameplay consisting mainly of flying through rings and navigating past glitches to complete tasks under insane time limits, Superman 64 is infamous for how completely broken it is. Obviously, Super Mario Odyssey is the better game, and anyone who says otherwise risks triggering the wrath of Miyamoto.
6 Real-World Skills
It's a sad fact of life that no matter how skilled you become in a video game, those skills have very little use in the real world. Gran Turismo won't turn you into a professional racecar driver, you can't learn kung-fu from Mortal Kombat, and any gamer who tells you they'll survive the zombie apocalypse is full of crap and Mountain Dew.
But when it comes to stacking boxes, our years of Tetris training really do pay off.
Whenever we need to pack luggage or put things away neatly in a closet, Tetris has taught us how lay things out so everything fits together just nicely. Sure, it might not be as impressive as learning to land a plane from playing Pilotwings, but when will you ever need to do that?
5 Stop This Against Chun-Li
Aggression against women is a truly terrible thing. There should never be an excuse for a man to attack a defenseless woman. However, if that woman happens to be a trained Interpol agent willfully participating in a worldwide martial arts tournament, perhaps there should be an exception. Erika from Jago's Living With Hipstergirl and Gamergirl doesn't seem to think so, though that's probably because she's such a sore loser.
Erika's ignoring that the "stop violence against women" movement is meant to protect defenseless women from abusive situations, and not some card for a female martial artist to pull whenever she loses. In the interest of gender equality, it's perfectly fine for Ryu to beat up Chun-Li or for Kano to rip Sonya. Just don't try it in real life.
4 Escalating Difficulty
In the world of video games, there are those that are incredibly difficult and there are those that are laughably easy. But somewhere in middle, there are games that appear easy and simple at first. You may think it's okay to take it easy, and in your overconfidence, you don't notice that you're about to be overrun by 100 "easy" enemies.
This tends to be the case whenever modern gamers decided to check out older, "simpler" games.
The best example of this kind of game is, of course, Tetris. The rules are simple: You place blocks. You make lines. You make sure they don't reach the top. Seems easy, but the longer you keep playing, the faster the blocks fall. Inexperienced gamers can start getting frantic, and then its only a matter of time before they completely lose it.
3 Where Is The Right Castle?
Ever since he first debuted on the NES back in 1985, Mario has been jumping on turtles and rescuing Princess Peach through 24 games. That's 33 years' worth of princess saving experience. After all that time, you'd think at some point he'd realize which castle she was trapped in. It's Bowser's castle, Mario. It's always Bowser's castle. Don't be surprised when you find out she isn't in the very first castle you see.
That being said, how is it that Peach gets so easily stolen all the time? They should've increased security in her castle after the first time. Actually, she can defend herself very well, as seen in her appearances in the Smash Bros. series. Could it be that Peach uses her taking as a way to tease Mario indefinitely? It makes a lot more sense than being stolen more than twenty times.
2 I Only Roll In Orange!
I think it's safe to say that many gamers aren't very rich. We don't tend to have a lot of money, and whatever money we do have we quickly spend on video games and gear. One of the great appeals of video games is how relatively easy it is to make money in them. Discounting cheat codes, the fact that you can find money just by completing simple tasks and beating up bad guys is infinitely more appealing than working a regular job.
The Legend of Zelda series is well-known for this. If players ever need some quick cash, they just mow the lawn and break some pots until they find enough Rupees. But if you want to make some serious dough, you gotta find the rarer Rupees, like the Orange ones in Ocarina of Time that are worth 200 each. Time to make it rain in Hyrule.
1 Blow Me
Who doesn't remember this? Getting ready to play your favorite Nintendo game and getting a screen full of nothing. What do you do? Exchange the game at the store? Order some expensive repair kit? Or give up all hope and cry in the corner? Every savvy kid worth their salt knew the simple solution: just pop that sucker out, blow in it, and pop it back in.
Of course, recent studies have shown that not only did blowing into the cartridges not actually fix them (it was the popping in and out that did the trick), but it actually damaged the copper in the cartridges, wearing them down so they'd be almost unplayable in the future. You might want to check if those cartridges you kept in the basement still work.