Happy Birthday, Nintendo: 6 Awesome Retro Game Covers

Today is the 122nd anniversary of the founding of Nintendo. Yes, you read that right. Nintendo is older than the automobile, Dracula, and the country of Iraq. In a just world, we would brave an abandoned warehouse haunted by tentacle monsters in order to win a cache of steampunk video-game hardware to prove this fact, but Selena Gomez is the No. 1 seller at the sheet music store we work at during the day, so a just world simply doesn't exist.

The truth is that when Nintendo was founded they started out manufacturing playing cards, something they still do to this day in Japan. Then in the '50s, the head of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yaumachi, went to a meeting with the largest playing-card company in America expecting to find an impressive corporate headquarters and got a dinky little office instead. This clued Yaumachi in that there wasn't much of a fortune to be made in playing cards.

Nintendo tried a lot of different things after that, including running taxis, hotels that charge by the hour, a TV network, and a brand of instant rice. Eventually, they progressed from a Love Tester device into light-gun games. In 1974 they hired Shigeru Miyamoto, who you may remember as having invented fun itself, and the company went on to create some of the greatest video games of all time.

Rocks Off spent most of our childhood glued to the TV playing the NES, SNES or hunched over a Game Boy, so Nintendo is to us what Jesus is to a lot of you. Namely, Salvation, a friend in dark times, and the ultimate bringer of judgment. And just like Jesus, Nintendo is responsible for some pretty awesome songs. So in honor of the company, we made them a mix tape.

6. Basshunter, "Plane to Spain"

Back when we featured the greatest Tetris theme covers ever we somehow missed Basshunter's "Plane to Spain" with features the theme heavily as a leitmotif. Too bad because except for Pig With the Face of a Boy, who turned the whole thing into a mini-musical about the Soviet Union, this is has become our favorite version of the tune.

5. 7 Deadly Bits, "Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II Theme"

In our mind the two most underrated games from the original 8-bit era are Metal Storm and the Wizards & Warriors series. We like the music from first game better than the second, but the video 7 Deadly Bits put together for their cover is so hilarious that we just had to show it.

4. The Black Mages, "Darkness and Starlight"

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We're just going to come right out and say Final Fantasy VI is the greatest video game ever made. We wish they'd put out an updated version on the 3DS along the same vein as IV and III. One of the most memorable scenes in the game is the opera, which is interrupted by Sezter to kidnap its star. It's a great scene, but we've always wondered what the hell happens in the rest of the opera?

Well, composer Nobuo Uematsu has answered that question with his band the Black Mages. The lyrics are in Japanese, but if you head over to the video on YouTube the English translation can be found in the video info.

3. Joe Pleiman, "Zelda"

This song has been mislabeled as being both by System of a Down and by the Rabbit Joint, a band that does not actually exist. The Rabbit Joint is actually the name of the album "Zelda" appeared on, but the confusion has led to some of the dirtiest comment wars we've ever seen on YouTube.

2. Mega Beardo, "Bubble Man"

Mega Man II may be the best retro game soundtrack ever. It defines beepity action music like AC/DC defines rock and roll. That's why it was so weird to hear Mega Beardo take the excitement down a notch with his classical guitar covers of from the game. Weird, but soothing.

strong>1. Unknown, "Closer (Super Mario Bros. Mix)"

We first heard this mix on our favorite new goth podcast, Space Radio with DJ Regen Robinson. Even she didn't know who was the original mixmaster who put this mash-up of NIN and Mario together, and if she doesn't know, then we're pretty sure that information is freakin' lost, man.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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