Poppin’ Tags: The Gamer’s Guide to B-List Games

Atari Game Cartridge Poster by Hollis Brown Thornton

You step into Vintage Stock, the smell of awesome flooding your senses. Cue Thrift Shop. You only got 20 dollars in your pocket, and rows upon rows of dusty old video games are begging to be bought like puppies in a Wal-Mart parking lot. You’re itching to reach for that $26 copy of Dr. Mario N64, but you want to get the most for your money. The answer is simple: B-list games.

B-list games are no different than B-list movies: they’re cheap, short, and not exactly basking in fame. Does that make them any less awesome? “No!” cried a random Netflix-lover from his mother’s basement. One of the trickiest parts about B-list games is distinguishing fun from flops.  So before you blow that grocery money from your mom on Pyramid for NES, take a step back.  I, your gaming fairy godmother, am here to help with my magical list of buck-worthy, old-school Nintendo B-list games.


Paperboy, 1984 – Atari

The objective is simple. Complete all 7 levels by delivering papers to subscribers’ houses while dodging dogs, skateboard punks, and random tornadoes. Easy enough, right? Wrong. It’s about as stressful as babysitting triplets. On the plus side, you get to jam to a kickin 8-note soundtrack.

Cost: $12


Q*Bert 3, 1992 – Gottlieb

Although Q*Bert might be a classic, Q*Bert 3 certainly isn’t. Game play resembles the original in that Q*Bert must change the color of all the tiles by jumping on them while avoiding terrifying enemies like purple snakes and bouncy frogs.

Cost: $13


Chameleon Twist, 1997 – Japan System Supply

The goal is to beat the boss at the end of one of six obnoxiously long levels by sucking in villains and shooting them out like spit wads. Of course, this will rely on your practically infinite Yoshi-tongue. If you like the game, you’re in luck. There’s an even better sequel.

Cost: $16


Mary-Kate and Ashley: Girls Night Out, 2002 -Powerhead Games

Judge me if you will, but once you get past the leather pumps and sugary beats this boils down to an addictive Dance Dance Revolution for your thumbs. Trust me guys, if the premise was disguised in martial arts or something masculine, you’d love it. It’s catchy. It’s challenging. It’s Girls Night Out.

Cost: $4

There you have it. My go-to list of B-list games. Have something to add? Feel free to throw your own favorites into the comments below, and be sure to follow my blog for more nostalgic Nintendo to come!

The Superest Mario of All

What is the best Mario game ever made?


For the average Joe, this question goes along with turkey or ham?, but for me it’s right up there with journalism or English degree?. Mario Galaxy, Mario Go Kart, Doctor Mario…the list is as long as those end of game credits. Although comparing NES games with Wii games is a bit like comparing Led Zeppelin to Coldplay, I accept the challenge in compiling my top five, across the board, Mario picks.
Challenge Accepted
#5 – Super Mario Galaxy

Best Level: Loopdeeloop Galaxy
Worst Level: The Underground Ghost Ship
Final Boss: Too Easy
Best Feature: A new princess character! (Daisy doesn’t count. Everyone knows she was just created so Luigi wasn’t the third wheel.)

#4 – Paper Mario 64

Paper Mario
Best Level: Hot Hot Times on Lavalava Island
Worst Level: The “Invincible” Tubba Blubba
Final Boss: Difficult but beatable
Best Feature: The game champions strategy over reflexes, as battles are fought on a per turn basis. Plus, he folds up into an adorable little paper airplane.

#3 – Mario Go Kart N64

Go Kart 64
Best Level: Rainbow Road
Worst Level: Banshee Boardwalk
Final Boss: None
Best Feature: Banana peels, red shells, confusing upside-down-question-mark bombs: Mario Go Kart has everything; and just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s easy. You try beating Toad’s Turnpike without crashing into one car. You’ve got better odds of waking up with your head sewn to the carpet.

#2- Super Mario N64

Mario N64
Best Level: Cool, Cool Mountain
Worst Level: Jolly Rogers Bay
Final Boss: Difficult but beatable
Best Feature: The first 3-D Mario game in existence: pure, classic gold.

#1 – Super Mario Bros. 3 NES

Super Mario 3
Best Level: World 5 Level 1
Worst Level: World 7 Level 1
Final Boss: Stupid difficult.
Best Feature: Maybe it’s my fancy for nostalgia, but no modern graphics nor nunchuck controller can trump the simplistic heroism of a pixelated Mario bonking a crudely boxy Bowser on the head to save a newly blonde Peach.

Beg to differ? Feel free to make your case.