Release date: 1984
Back in the early days of the NES, just one of Nintendo's launch-window (aka "Black Label") releases was a "repeat renter" in our household: Pinball. Admittedly, the gameplay, graphics and even sound in this title are as simplistic and straightforward as its name, but that doesn't mean the overall product is boring. At least, not entirely. Now, boring is exactly what it would be if all it offered was a two-screened pinball table and a single bonus stage, but as is nearly always the case with Nintendo-developed games this one includes just enough bells and whistles (although I hesitate to call them that) to make things interesting. For instance, there's the little ditty that plays during the title screen and before each round. Sadly, that's all the music you'll hear while playing Pinball, but at least what you do hear is enjoyable. Also, there are the charming characters--including seals, penguins and just-hatched chicks--that populate and enliven the title's otherwise sparse play area. (Two similarly charming characters, Mario and Pauline, star in the title's Breakout-esque bonus stage.) None of the above would matter much if Pinball played like crap, but thankfully that's not the case. Sure, it doesn't feature realistic physics like most modern pinball games, but it feels good all the same--and that's all my brother and I looked for back when we scanned the aisles of the local grocery store for our next weekend rental. It's also what I look for today when I scan my collection for my next five- or 10-minute gaming fix.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts