After the Nintendo Power Glove came up in the previous article, someone pointed out that it made a cameo appearance in Beethoven. Yes, the 1992 movie about a sloppy St. Bernard and the man who grows to love him. Somehow, the Power Glove was in that.
Actually, yesterday’s anonymous commenter undersold the scene. It wasn’t just a Power Glove — it was an absolute smorgasbord of vintage Nintendo goodies. Obviously, my destiny was to dissect this madness.
The scene takes place in young Ted Newton’s bedroom, and only exists to convey that the kids are too distracted to notice the bad guy messing with their dog in the backyard.
Lasting mere seconds, they could’ve easily gotten away with just suggesting Nintendo games, with obscured controllers and untraceable music. Instead, everything’s shown onscreen, and it’s all so visible that I have to wonder if some promotional partnership wasn’t in play. (Beethoven did end up getting his own games under the Nintendo umbrella, after all.)
Beethoven fans should remember the kids playing Super Mario Bros. 3, but you might have missed that conga line of boxed Nintendo games next to the television. I don’t know how well he was able to guide Mario with the blasted Power Glove, but Ted Newton definitely scored some points with me.
I’ve mentioned this in other articles, but keeping your Nintendo game boxes intact was always everyone’s goal. Most of us failed, because kids can’t be counted on to let thin cardboard maintain its shape without eventually brutalizing it in some form or fashion. We always wished we saved them, though. Many props to Ted, one of the few children tidy enough to pull it off.
The lot includes some of my favorite Nintendo titles…
Super Mario Bros. 3!
To save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser’s kids, Mario turns into a raccoon. And sometimes a frog. Easily on the list of truly perfect Nintendo games, I couldn’t name many people my age who didn’t lose a full year of their lives to Super Mario Bros. 3. (And since I’ll never find a better place to hide this tidbit: I used to be completely obsessed with Iggy Koopa.)
Mario returns to smack golf balls. Or maybe it’s just someone who looks like Mario. I’ve never been clear on that. Golf is the one game on this list that I never really bothered with. Hey, I was eight, and even video game golf sounded boring.
A classic! In Ice Hockey, you build a team from an assortment of skinny, average and giant-sized players, guessing at what mix of speed and brawn will take you to the championship. Two player games were famous for becoming dangerously competitive, and I’m sure some of you have taken a punch over Ice Hockey. (Incidentally, I rediscovered this game at a flea market last July!)
In Kung Fu, Thomas must save his girlfriend from Mr. X by killing magic snakes and karate schmucks, all while reserving his stamina for a series of oddball sub-bosses who laughed at different pitches. This is one of my absolute favorite Nintendo games, and among the few that I can easily beat. (Hint: You gotta punch the magician in the stomach. Remember to punch him the stomach!)
Donkey Kong Classics!
A single cartridge containing both Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong Classics let you decide if you were for or against gorillas on a daily basis. As famous as the original is, I’ve grown to appreciate Donkey Kong Jr. even more. Mario wasn’t cast as a villain often, and this was my one chance to kill him without killing myself.
As much as I loved Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, I’m ashamed to admit that I was never much good at it. Of course, I still clocked in an ungodly amount of hours, just by hanging out in the towns and making Link bother the same dozen tipsters over and over again. I used to pretend that the object was to help Link establish a life for himself in those towns. I hope I wasn’t the only one.
An aggressive pinball game where the playfield doubled as a mean-sounding robot, Pin Bot was challenging enough to hate but too addictive to escape. It didn’t top Nintendo’s earlier Pinball title, but it sure out-weirded it.
What a sweet haul! Can’t blame the kids for being too absorbed to notice the guy in their backyard smearing himself with fake blood to frame their pet dog. (I still can’t believe that scene survived the final draft.)
While Ted’s sister breezes through with a standard NES controller, he tries to survive SMB 3 with a Power Glove. As Beethoven was directed with a realist’s touch, Ted looks fittingly frustrated if not downright maniacal. (Also, as reader Nate pointed out, it’s pretty interesting that they’re playing a game that couldn’t be played by two players simultaneously… simultaneously.)
…and just as I was about to wrap things up, I noticed something else in his bedroom. Something not at all related to Nintendo, but something that it is my sworn duty to mention.
Ted’s bedroom was mostly free of big brand toys, but he did manage to sneak in Skeletor’s Skull Staff, one of the best toys from The New Adventures of He-Man collection. Even if you never had it, you might remember its absolutely insane TV commercial, where a kid models his toy in a haunted mirror and inadvertently summons Skeletor for a staff-to-staff battle.
(There are a lot of links in this article, but make sure you click that one. You’re not gonna believe your eyes. Holy cow.)
Thank you, anonymous commenter, for inspiring me to spend a full day plucking Nintendo games and He-Man toys out of Beethoven. Thank you or fuck you, I’m not sure which.