Throwback Thursday - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Throwback Thursday - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Finding Brotherhood and Camaraderie with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

Few things bring strangers together like 2D, 4-player side-scrolling arcade machines. As a shy child who was the youngest of 5-siblings, I always saw myself as small and weak, and I was often afraid of encountering other children in public. Video games changed all that; well…kinda-sorta…sometimes. The 4-player arcade side-scrolling games that hit arcades in the early 90's created unity. An albeit brief community of strangers or friends rallied together in a common goal, embracing one another as compatriots, and ultimately celebrated as a team when a victory was achieved. For a moment in time, you and others became partners in crime-fighting and defending whatever world served as the setting for your game. PLUS, these action-packed adventures usually involved killing robots, and I am all about violence on robots (and demons) rather than people.  

(Dean’s Editing Note – I would like to apologize to the English challenged robot commenters that frequent our articles and spit out nonsensical word streams that almost become poetry.  CJ’s violent thoughts toward your race are his alone and not those of GamingwithSwag.com)

In what other video game can you fight two robots piloting helicopters while riding a jet-powered skateboard?

In what other video game can you fight two robots piloting helicopters while riding a jet-powered skateboard?

I adored teaming up with strangers on games like X-men, Avengers, or The Simpsons Arcade Game. But more than any other game I recall, nothing brought together a fellowship of strangers like the legendary Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game. Given the craze surrounding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the late 80’s and early 90’s, it’s no surprise that this machine became a staple of arcades throughout the U.S., and it seemed that everyone has played it at least once. In fact, from what I recall, players usually had their primary character, plus a backup because they had played often enough to have needed a secondary favorite to choose when their first choice was already taken.

(Dean’s Editor Note - I am just guessing, but CJ almost always loved the moral leaders in his pop culture like Cyclops from the X-Men, Duke from GI JOE so I bet he loved Leonardo.  I was Donatello and that long bo staff ALL DAY!)

Bebop and Rocksteady are no match for Don's bo staff.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles boasted wonderful colors, easy gameplay, and an overall sense of fun and adventure, as the four brothers –Leo, Donny, Mikey, and Raph---faced an army of Foot clan ninjas in a variety of colors, as well as prominent villains like Bebop and Rocksteady. Level after level, the turtles would jump-kick, flip, and fight their way through a bevy of foes, while eating health pizzas and occasionally respawning back into action with their weapon at the ready. Like so many arcade games of the time, I never beat this game---not even after it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System (Titled, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game”); but beating the game was not the point. Destroying Mousers was the point. Having fun was the point. Thinking back on the arcades of my youth my mind locks in on the digital Ninja Turtles and my joy spending time with them and the nostalgia hasn’t waned. And speaking of nostalgia check these crazy awesome, limited edish SDCC Exclusives based on the game. Radical!

--Old School C.J.

(Dean’s Editor Note – I find it ludicrous that CJ never beat the game, when I popped my quarters in it was a commitment between me and God that Shredder would be no more, and the quarters required were the real testament of skill. “I beat the game for $2.75!” or “I was all alone for the end and it cost $6.25 to beat it”.) 

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