(CBSNY/CBS Local) — A day of giving is behind us, and empty boxes and wrapping paper are piled high waiting to be thrown out. Hopefully you awoke Christmas morning to overflowing stockings and an abundance of presents sitting below a well-trimmed tree.
December 25 is always magical. As a kid, the thought of Santa coming down the chimney as nine flying reindeer waited patiently on the roof was absolutely enchanting. And in the morning long after they were gone, tearing into the presents Mr. Kringle left behind was the highlight of the year.
Then December 26 would come. And although the shiny new toys were still (mostly) shiny and new, the feeling just wasn’t the same. Much of the magic had had vanished.
The Christmas hangover and slight feelings of sorrow still exist in most of us whose formative years are decades in the rear view. In a sense, part of us never grows up. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the season and then feel let down after it has past.
The feeling was no different this year. But a recent conversation with WWE Superstar Xavier Woods allows us to rekindle that excitement and even turn the clock back to our youth. For Woods is helping us unwrap the present of video game classics.
The former tag team champion is as well known for his gaming prowess as he is for his in-ring accolades. And while recently discussing the peculiar exercises he performs to strengthen his surgically repaired Achilles tendon, he also tapped into his inner gamer and rattled off his choices for the top NES games of all time.
Yes, he was talking about the original Nintendo Entertainment System, which debuted in the United States way back in 1985, the same console that was the reason for more than a handful of missed homework assignments. The legend of the NES Classic system lives on in the hearts of 30 and 40-somethings, including Woods, who still have an affinity for 8-bit gaming when 4K Ultra HD systems are readily available.
In case you’re in search of a belated present or just want to relive your youth, a check of Amazon shows the consoles are available for right around $100 while the Zapp Gun for Duck Hunt will set you back another $6 or so. Ah, memories.
If you’re in the market for games to go with it, here are Woods’ choices for the top three NES games of all time. He and I had debated the subject for a couple minutes during our recent interview.
The good news for the 33-year-old child at heart is that since it could be another five to nine months before he’s back in the ring, he has little extra time to fire up the old console, blow on the cartridges and give these vintage games another whirl.
What are your top three NES games of all time?
Number one is River City Ransom. Number two is Mega Man 5. And number three is probably Super Dodgeball.
Yeah. I’m a big Tecmo Japan guy, so I like the style of the animation and the gameplay’s always very good.
River City Ransom, it’s like a reverse clone of Double Dragon essentially. The good guys come and take your girlfriend, and you got to fight across town to go get them. It’s just an absurd game, but it’s a game that still holds up to this day.
Then obviously Mega Man 5 is… it’s a Mega Man game, so it’s Mega Man 5. It’s got great music.
Then it’s Super Dodgeball. It’s just a really fun game that I don’t think gets enough love.
I haven’t even thought about that one. I was a big fan of T&C Surf Designs. I don’t know if you ever played that one. Surfing and skateboarding, and that’s all it was. And the original Bases Loaded.
I loved that game. That was classic.
I was a big Bases Loaded 2 guy. That was the one that I sunk my teeth into. But then RBI Baseball with the black weird cartridge. Great game.
Speaking with Woods conjured up many fond memories of countless hours spent playing Bases Loaded. The hidden trick of getting the batter to charge the mound after being hit by a pitch absolutely made my day. The only thing that would have made that better would have been the ability to actually control the punches, a la the fights in Blades Of Steel. Good times!
NEWS & NOTES
WWE will hold its annual post-holiday house show at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 26. The card is headlined by a triple threat steel cage match for the Raw Women’s Championship, with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair seeking to strip Asuka of the gold. In the co-main event Kevin Owens will face Seth Rollins.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley revealed that she didn’t actually cut off her signature ponytail until just hours before a live show at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas recently. “I knew what I wanted to do and I knew what I needed to do. But the actual snip of the ponytail, I was a little in shock,” she told the Detroit News. “My hair was the longest I’ve ever had it, and I’ve had that freakin’ ponytail for seven years. The last time my hair was this short, I was 10 years old.”
WWE streamed a unique version of the Christmas Yule log on YouTube featuring Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House. It’s six hours of crackling fire and features Wyatt’s offbeat cast of characters popping up every so often.
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.