Release date: 1985
It could and should go without saying that Ice Climber is unlikely to be everyone's cup of tea. Hell, it wasn't even my cup of tea until a month or so ago. Why? For me, it began and ended with the game's frustratingly stiff, Mario Bros.-esque jumping mechanism.
If you've never played this early Nintendo-published title, that's a problem because the point of Ice Climber is to help its parka-wearing, mallet-wielding protagonists--Popo is the guy, Nana is the gal--make their way from the base of some 20-odd mountains to their peaks. You do this by forcing them, via your controller's A and B buttons, to bound from platform to platform while bashing, or even avoiding, pesky enemies like tottering seals ("Topi"), swooping birds ("Nitpickers") and sunglasses-sporting polar bears. (For some weird reason, a blood-red condor stole Popo and Nana's cross-eyed vegetables and stashed them atop said snow-covered bluffs.)
Is the game's stilted jumping mechanism a deal-breaker? It will be for some, and it was for me originally, but it doesn't have to be. The key is to embrace and accept it. After that, things become much more manageable. You'll still struggle, of course, but it won't be a pull-out-your-hair kind of struggle--or at least it isn't for me.
That's because there's a lot to like about this game once you get over Popo's and Nana's leaping abilities (or lack thereof). For instance, there's the game's rather jazzy soundtrack. Its graphics are pretty nice, too, although a bit repetitive. My favorite part of this classic platformer, though? Those aforementioned veggies. What can I say? I like games with produce.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts