Interview with a NES game reviewer

Everyone say hi to Dylan Cornelius.


Dylan runs, a blog full of NES reviews. His goal is to review every single NES game released in the US. He’s reviewing each game in alphabetical order and is now currently in the J section. I’ve been following his blog for quite sometime and I enjoy everything I get out of it. Video game reviews can be a funny thing. Not everybody is going to agree on a rating for a game, but Dylan does his best to review games with a few paragraphs and insight on each game. His reviews are nice and short, but not too short.

I had a chance to do a little interview with Dylan about recently, and here’s what was said…

Brainer Drainer: First off can you tell us a little about yourself and why you started reviewing every NES game?

Dylan: Sure. I’ve been playing games since I was four and writing since I was eight, but it wasn’t until this blog that I combined the two passions. I thought reviewing every NES game would be a fun writing exercise and, when I first started in 2010, it was something that I hadn’t seen any one person do on the Internet. Of course I know that’s not true now, thanks to,, and some others, but I’d like to think we all give our own unique takes on each game.

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BD: Do you own each game you review?

Dylan: I definitely do not and that’s all I’ll say!

BD: Do you only enjoy the NES or are there other systems out there that have a place in your heart?

Dylan: I enjoy the NES a lot. It was the very first system I ever owned as a child in the late 80s, so playing the games is incredibly nostalgic for me. The SNES, the Playstation 2, and the Gamecube are probably my other favorite systems. 

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BD: I love the SNES as well. Ever consider reviewing those games when you’re done with NES?

Dylan: I have thought about it reviewing every SNES game. Unfortunately, it looks like the guys at beat me to it. Their review styles are similar to mine, or perhaps, mine are similar to theirs. Either way, great minds think alike.

I have something in mind after the NES games are done, but I’m not ready to reveal much info as of yet. Hopefully the new project will happen.

BD: I see you’re reviewing games in alphabetical order. Are there some games that you can’t wait to review, but it might be a while because they are a lot further down the alphabet?

Dylan: I’m really excited to do the Mega Man games. Those were some of my favorite games as a kid and I think I’m going to go all out for those.

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BD: There’s a good amount of Mega Man games. I bet that’ll be a fun week for you.

Dylan: I don’t want to build up those reviews too much, but expect more substance than the average review for those games. Mega Man’s very dear to me.

BD: How was doing all them baseball games in a row? Get bored much?

Dylan: I haven’t thought about those baseball games since I left them all behind in the letter ‘B.’ With those games, after awhile, I started to zone out. Interestingly, though, despite my not knowing much about baseball, the differences in those games were readily apparent. I’m sure playing them one after the other helped, but I was still surprised.


BD: Out of all the games you did a review for, do you have any that stand out to you? Any real awesome or real bad games?

Dylan: There’s so many unknown gems for the NES library. Destiny of an Emperor comes readily to mind as an RPG classic that no one really acknowledges. Guerrilla War is another fantastic SNK top-down action game that stole my heart. Fire ‘N Ice is a great little puzzle game that came out later in the NES’ lifespan. Bee 52 is a strange… bee simulator, basically. Codemasters are the kings of random unlicensed games. Felix the Cat is a fantastic platformer by Hudson Soft; much better than the Adventure Island series, in my opinion. As for truly awful games… so many. The 3 games in the Fisher-Price series are just the worst kind of game: edutainment that fails either to educate or entertain. The Great Waldo Search also is just ludicrous. Unfortunately, there are far more terrible games for the NES than great.


BD: You know the Adventure Island series was pretty much ripped off of Sega’s Wonder Boy? It’s almost exactly the same. I still love the Adventure Island series though. Since Felix beats that I guess I’m really gonna have to try the Felix The Cat game. I hear good things about it. 

Dylan: I’ve heard of Wonder Boy, but – retro gamer fail – I had no idea Adventure Island was “heavily inspired” by it. I’ll have to check those out. And yes, Felix the Cat is worth playing. It’s a fun breeze of a game, easily finished in an afternoon.

BD: Everyone has a different opinion of what games are good or bad… Do you ever get angry comments or emails because somebody thought you reviewed a game wrong?

Dylan: Not as often as you might think. I attribute this to many gamers expelling their vitriol towards issues they have with the latest releases, like Diablo III or Mass Effect III than some old NES game, no matter how beloved it is. I definitely got some hate over Ducktales, which I called “average” instead of “perfect” like many people believe it is.

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BD: What’s wrong with Ducktales? I love that game haha. So many hidden walls and treasures, bouncing on a cane and hitting shit with the cane as well. What’s not to love about that?

Dylan: There’s nothing wrong with Ducktales at all. I was just expecting something more than it was, which was, to me, an average platformer.

BD: How much time do you usually spend playing a game before you can give it a legit review?

Dylan: Depends on the game. Obviously I’m going to sink a little more time in an RPG than a platformer or a sports game. The brilliance with older games is that you can really get a good feel for them in, at most, an hour. Also, the more I like the game, the harder it is for me to stop playing!

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BD: I’d like to see some homebrew game reviews too. That ever crossed your mind?

Dylan: I’ve thought about reviewing homebrew games, but to be honest, there’s so many. Just like there’s so many Japanese and European-only games I could review, but I’d be doing this project forever, I think! For now, reviewing all American-released games, licensed or un-licensed from 1985-1994 is my main goal.

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BD: If you weren’t reviewing games with your time, what would you be doing?

Dylan: I suppose I’d be writing about other interests or just wasting time on the Internet; both of which I already do anyway. At least by keeping up with the site, I can help others waste time!

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BD: Do you ever think about what’ll happen when you’re done reviewing every game? What happens next?

Dylan: I think I’ll smoke a cigar after I’m done, to be quite honest with you. I’m not sure if I’ll be the first person to review every single game in the NES library, but I’ll be one of the first. After that, though, I think I’ll go back through, edit the reviews. There’s quite a few that I’ve written that I’m not happy with.

BD: I saw that you mentioned turning all the reviews into a book when you’re finished. Is that still something you consider?

Dylan: Yes, I’m definitely considering that. I’d like to publish it myself, but it could cost a fortune and I’m not sure how many people would be interested in such a thing. It could make a sweet coffee table book, though, if such things still exist. I’ll worry about that later, since I still have approx. 450 reviews left to go.


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