• Andy Ross

Hold All Calls, I’m Busy with Turtles in Time



Two weeks ago a new video game collection was released that is straightforwardly aimed at a target demographic I am a member of. Depressed Elder Millennials. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection” brings together an impressive mix of 13 video games that came out in the late ‘80s through the mid-'90s. As far as I can tell every arcade and console version of a game with the hero in a half shell is included.


The game has the standards of every good pizzeria of my childhood, the classic Ninja Turtle arcade game and its sequel, the truly wonderful “Turtles in Time.” It’s one thing to be able to play these two games I begged quarters from my parents for, but it also includes the NES port of the former and the SNES port of the latter. A staggering 13 games are included in “The Cowabunga Collection” spanning the Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Nintendo, and Sega Genesis systems.


On top of the games themselves, there is even an archive of material to spend hours looking at. Music from every game, design documents, box art, game manuals, screens from the various TMNT cartoons, and even an archive on advertising for the games. The cherry on top is the ability to take those four-player arcade beat-em-ups online and engage in multiplier with other nostalgic turtle fans across the globe.


“I’ll just spend a few minutes playing Turtles in Time,” I told myself the other night when I was first exploring the collection. Next thing I knew I was in my little bubble where I was again a happy seven-year-old, smelling the aroma of pizza from Deano’s pizza as I worked my way through smashing the foot with Michelangelo’s nunchucks. It didn’t help that as I was falling deeply in love with many of these games I hadn’t played in close to 30 years, I was forgetting to do other things with my actual life.


“Hmm, I have some time to kill. I’ll just spend 15 minutes playing Black From The Sewers for the game boy.” Next thing I knew I had a text on my phone asking where I was, almost 80 minutes had gone by. I had lost all track of time. I wasn’t just playing my Nintendo Switch, I was again sitting on a big cozy couch focused solely on the patterns appearing on a game boy screen.


It’s both a testament to my nostalgia and how well “The Cowabunga Collection” is put together that caused me to sink so much time without realizing into playing it. It’s easily the best collection of retro games I’ve ever played and it helps that a lot of the games are still as much fun as I remember and in some cases as frustratingly hard as I remember—looking at you Nintendo TMNT game!


But that’s all I can say about it. Not as I’m about to quit this so I can go kick Shredder again. No. That’s not the reason. Not the reason at all. See you next week. By the way, do you have anything that’s a remedy for “joystick thumb?”