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Contra wipes the smile off the faces of frustrated teens

by Ron Duwell | June 9, 2015

I thought I was over these Teen React videos, but this one is a little too sweet and personal to look away from. Contra is described in the video as one of the hardest video games of all time. Really? Well, with the way these teenagers play it, it certainly looks like it.

These kids can’t do anything right. They can’t shoot flying weapon capsules, they can’t cross the exploding bridge, and they can’t even get past Level 1! No Spread Cannon for these twerps… well, one gets it and loses it right away.

To be fair, they are playing in co-op, and that is a handicap right there if one person is a lot better than the other. Screen scrolling can create an invisible wall right into a pit if one player falls behind in the wrong spot. However, nobody in these teams look like they can claim to be the weaker of the two.

It was also their first time playing Contra, and this is what everyone looks like the first time they blast through Konami’s NES masterpiece. If given more chances and enough practice, they might be able to 1-credit the game just like us old timers. They do make a lot of progress in this short allotted time, getting deeper and deeper after each continue.

Deeper and deeper… into Level 1.

Do teens of this generation have the patience to perfect a game that crushes them over and over again though? A few indie hits and Dark Souls aside, games these days are all about instant gratification, and that is something Contra does not provide in the least.

The more these teens fail though, the more some of them start to demand more attempts. This proves to me that the NES spirit of competition and getting up, dusting off, and trying again are still strong enough to make me smile.

It’s a bit of a personal video for me because I first picked up Contra when I was three-years-old, and it’s been one of my favorite games ever since. In fact, one of my first gaming memories is having my older cousins put in the Konami Code for me and laugh as they watched me struggle through 30 lives rather than the 3 lives these kids have to put up with. Ten times the torture! I looked like this for the first few years of my life too, but those few years paid off!

Contra doesn’t have its way with me like this anymore. Contra is not that hard… if you sink a year or two of your formative years into memorizing its ins-and-outs and finding the perfect rhythm to every level. Don’t look at me! We didn’t have the Internet to melt our brains back then! We had to do something with our free time.

Polygon

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Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...


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