System: Famicom Disk System
Release date: 1987
When I first played Taito's 8-bit port of Fukio Mitsuji's classic quarter-muncher, I hated it. The top three reasons for my malignity: the Famicom (or, rather, NES) version's backdrops lacked the depth of those seen in its big brother, its fruit sprites weren't as well drawn and it featured a metric ton of flicker. A few months ago, I gave the game another chance--after realizing its enemy sprites, at least, were pretty respectable recreations of their arcade counterparts. I'm glad I did, because the experience forced me to recognize that this version of the game successfully (and surprisingly) reproduces two of the most important aspects of the original: its addictive gameplay and its awesome soundtrack. Sure, there are a few quirks here and there--the main one being that bubbles sometimes float through the ceiling when they shouldn't--that keep me from calling it "perfect." (An accolade I'd use, without hesitation, while describing its arcade cousin.) It's close enough to that pinnacle, though, that I believe it's well worth buying if you own a Famicom, NES or Wii (it's available for sale via this last system's Virtual Console).
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts