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It's painful watching teens play Konami's original Contra on the NES. It was hard game and I never really liked the Contra games because I thought they were cheap, but when you see the teens play Contra and not even make it past the first level, all you can do is facepalm.
YouTube channel React garners a lot of views by gauging reactions from people playing various games. This time it was Contra from 1987 and the 2D side-scroller showed these kids no mercy. Check it out below.
Opposite of game's today, there is no half-hour tutorial to teach you that 'A' is to jump and 'B' is to shoot. There are no enemy indicators to blatantly point out who is bad and who is good. There are no voice-overs to guide you through linear levels and no checkpoints after you die repeatedly. Contra is one of those games based entirely around skill and entirely around teamwork and fast reflexes.
Now personally, I've always found Contra games to be difficult, yet easier than other side-scrollers like Ninja, Mega Man or Macross. In Contra you could at least spray and pray; also the controls weren't quite as stiff or ill-responsive as Mega Man's earlier titles – a problem that seemed to persist up until the blue bomber's debut on the SNES.
When the teens failed hard at Mega Man, I could understand. I always failed hard at those Mega Man games and the stiff controls combined with the screen-to-screen scrolling made it difficult to play. But Contra had smooth scrolling, it had two players so you could cover more ground and you had power-ups scattered about to easily dispatch baddies. All you had to do is literally run and gun, yet the teens failed to do that.
The thing that makes it so frustrating is that a little bit of critical thinking could have saved these kids a lot of deaths. If you don't have a tutorial in a game usually the first thing to do is find out what your character can do; test your limits and the controls. That method still applies today with a lot of throwback indie titles where they don't always roll out a tutorial for you.
Also, in older games, the coding was a lot more simplified: anything that wasn't a player character was usually a bad guy. The objective was practically kill everything in sight at all times.
Every time the teens would stop to ask if one of the charging baddies was coming to kill them or if he was actually bad, I was cringing and about ready to grab at my hair. I guess they thought this was Mass Effect or Dragon Age and the guy running toward them was going to stop and bring up a dialog wheel so they he could chat them up about his life's journey in selling bandanas in the jungle while feeding his family in a village controlled by a dictator or something.
Again, it was frustrating to watch. A lot of the problems the teens suffered through could have been fixed with them just recognizing they needed to kill everything in sight and dodge anything that wasn't their own gun fire. The fact none of them got past the first stage was just disheartening.
Maybe next time someone should give these kids the Konami code.