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Ben Davis avatar 3:29 PM on 01.25.2014  (server time)
The hunt for the missing NES game

Something really cool happened this week, and while it might not be the most exciting story to some, it was still very exciting for me.

So, growing up, my family had several gaming consoles that were apparently given to my dad as gifts from a coworker. We had an NES, SNES and a Genesis, along with quite a few games for each console. I played them almost daily, mostly with my brother. Then, in 1996 (I was about 8 at the time), the N64 was released, and my brother and I both really wanted to try it out, except our parents wouldn't buy it for us. My brother decided to buy it himself, and in order to get the money to pay for it, he decided to sell all of our consoles and games to a pawn shop. He ended up trading our huge collection of NES, SNES and Genesis games for an N64 and one game to go along with it: GoldenEye. I'm sure it was not the best deal.

While GoldenEye was indeed a very fun game, I immediately started to miss all of our old games. Once I started to earn my own money, I made it my goal to buy the old consoles again and try to find all the games we had for it. I never ended up getting another Genesis (it was my least favorite of the three), but I did get an NES and SNES, and have been steadily building up a collection of games for both. I found most of the games that I remembered playing as a kid, including the Mario games, the Mega Man games, Zelda, Blaster Master, Marble Madness, Ironsword, Bubble Bobble, etc.

But there was one game that I remembered playing which I could never remember the name of. I vaguely remembered some platforming mechanics and item pick-ups, and a screen showing a map of the world. I also had a very clear memory of being really bad at the game, and trying to make up passwords in the password screen to see if I could get further. I somehow managed to input an acceptable password and jump ahead to the middle of the game. I ran to tell my brother and sister what I'd done, but I don't think either of them really cared.

That's pretty much all I could remember about the game, but for some reason I really wanted to figure out what the game was. Neither of my siblings knew which game I was talking about. It was like a part of my childhood was missing since I couldn't remember anything about a game I spent a lot of time playing. I tried looking through a list of every NES game, hoping one of the titles would jog my memory. At one point a few years ago, after looking at some screenshots of random NES games, I grew convinced the game had been Little Samson. That would have been incredible, since the game is worth a ridiculous amount of money these days, but after playing it for a bit on an emulator, I decided that it wasn't the one (although Little Samson is a really awesome game!).

Close, but no cigar.

Then, just this week, Hamza posted a video of a compilation of every NES title screen in alphabetical order. I watched a bit of it just for the heck of it, and made it to the C titles, and laughed when I saw a game titled Clash at Demonhead ("It's that band from Scott Pilgrim!"). Then it played some music from the game, which sounded oddly familiar. I watched a bit more of the video, then stopped and went back to listen to the Clash at Demonhead song again. I thought, "No, it couldn't be..." but decided to look up some gameplay videos just in case. The music, the enemies, the pick-ups, everything brought back memories. "This is it! This is that one game I played as a kid! I finally figured out what it was!"

Those wonky-eyed enemies! I remember!

It was a really fantastic feeling to finally be able to solve a mystery that had been on my mind for years, even if it was a relatively unimportant mystery like a video game. It was also really cool that music was the thing that triggered the memory. I'd heard the title before while reading and watching Scott Pilgrim, but the title of the game was not as strong of a reminder as the music. It just goes to show how powerful and important music can be!

Needless to say, I'm currently in the process of tracking down a copy of Clash at Demonhead to play it again. I'm not sure if it'll even be a good game, but it's definitely something that I need to have for my collection!

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