Monday, October 22, 2007

Ninja Gaiden and the Death of a NES Controller

It’s mid 1990. There we are, three of us in our L.A. Gear shirts and parachute pants. My cousins had just brought over the NES and we were enjoying the frustrating bliss known as Ninja Gaiden. After a few hours of wearisome playing avoiding enemy ninjas and their annoying bats and hawks - that blindly hover near the top of the screen yet that cause the most damage – we made it to the Guardia de Mieux, the Jaquio himself.

“Jump off the walls, and hit him with your sword as you drop down” we yell to oldest cousin playing the game

“Man, don’t worry I got this… damn, my nose is starting to itch”

“WHAT!?” we yell as he does the one action that crushes our dreams of that night, the dream of finding out what happens at the end of Ninja Gaiden – he takes his hands off the controller and scratches his nose. Our Ninja, Ryu, after traversing through impossible tasks and even saving his father from the Masked Devil spell, dies thanks to a simple nose scratch.

So flash forward to the present day. I’m doing my shift for the eStarland Star-tacular Sale and I see it. Some one is buying Ninja Gaiden and the memory comes back, the dreaded nose scratch incident. I pickup the game and this time I’m taking on Jaquio my self, nothing will stop me now!

As soon as I get home I find my NES and Ninja Gaiden. I start to play, but what is this!? Ryu cannot stop moving left, as if he remembers the original incident and is attempting to avoid the start of his journey.

Looks like he wins this time. After years of no use my NES controller seems to be dead. Sticky buttons galore. Looks like I won’t be able to take on Jaquio this time.

So a few days late we at eStarland get this thing in called the “Controller Repair Kit,” it’s suppose to solve issues with the sticky or dead buttons on a controller. I pick one up and give it a shot.

I grab a small Philips head screwdriver and hastily remove the screws from the back of the NES controller. I grab the repair kit, and replace the now worn out rubber button pads on the controller, and put the controller back together. The old rectangle has come back from the dead. Now I know I’m playing with power. Who needs ergonomic controllers anyway?

I start Ninja Gaiden again and only get up to the extremely long fourth level. I get frustrated and give up. At this point getting to Jaquio seems to be an impossible mountain to climb and I give up.

So to all your classic gamers out there, don’t let a worn out controller crush your dreams of reliving the golden age of gaming. Don’t settle with 3rd party controllers and fix that original Nintendo controller, that old friend doesn’t deserve thrown away. It deserves to be fixed and be brought back to life.

The controller repair kit includes all the necessary parts to repair two(2) first party controllers and is available at for the following platforms:

Nintendo NES - $6.95

Nintendo SNES - $6.95

Sega Genesis - $5.95