The Magic of NES
I'll start off with a given...NES has something other systems lack. I knew that! you're thinking. If it didn't have something, I wouldn't still play it! I'm going to try to explain that something, which seems to be a calculated combination of challenge, suspense, and fun.
First off, the challenge. I'm sure I can find hundreds of next-gen gamers who will argue that modern games are harder than NES games. "They're longer!" they claim. "That makes them harder!" Well, it could. But not if you have to do the same tasks over and over again (cough *Donkey Kong 64* cough). And it also shouldn't be considered hard if you can save just about any time you like (cough *Donkey Kong 64* cough). NES games may have been shorter than modern games, but they are harder due to variations in game play and not being able to save whenever you want...and maybe not being able to save period. If Ninja Gaiden could be used with a controller pak, not many people would think it very hard. They would just save at 6-4 and, if they lost, reset and go right back. But Ninja Gaiden can't be used with a controller pak. After a loss to The Masked Devil, it's back to 6-1 for you.
NES games also hold a certain type of suspense because, in so many cases, the action is slower than in today's games. It gives you more time to comprehend exactly what is happening. Let's compare two baseball games for a good example of this. First, Ken Griffey Jr. presents Major League Baseball (N64). Fielders and runners in this game move at a brisk pace, and, soon after the ball is hit, you can tell whether or not your runners will be able to score. Now, Baseball Stars (NES). Fielders and runners both move at a sloth-like clip, and fielders throw the ball at different speeds, depending on how well you press the buttons. Trust me - it can get very suspenseful when a throw comes bounding towards home plate from the center fielder, with both the ball and your runner looking as though they will reach the plate at the same time; the action seeming slow-motion. When everything unfolds slowly, you have time to bite your nails and pound your feet, time to get into the game.
NES games also seem to be more fun. Honestly! If there's any modern gamers out there, I'm sure you can comprehend this, but it's true! There's something about them. Seeing Copyright 1987 makes me, and many other classic gamers, tingle. Popping in Tecmo Super Bowl or RBI Baseball and seeing the names of pro athletes of yesteryear pop up gives me a rush. Playing the original Final Fantasy when the series has reached nearly a dozen games is thrilling. Looking down at a simple controller, who's button names and placements can be memorized in seconds, fills me with joy. Looking up at a grey box with it's little red light on...well, that's the magic of the NES.