The NES bursts into a new year, screaming headfirst into 1989 with the fiery, hardcore, all-time classic… Sesame Street 1-2-3? Hmm, well, perhaps not the first-footer your local Scot would consider an auspicious beginning to the year, but it does speak to the evolving nature of the platform at this point in history. The NES has finally reached a level of market saturation in the U.S. that justifies putting out basic arithmetic exercises for very young children… and, hey, at least it looks and sounds pretty solid.

Then, Astro Grover takes a left at Albuquerque and ends up in a complicated morass of a game: Star Soldier. Well, no, the game itself is profoundly uncomplicated—shoot, get power-ups, die, repeat—but it has an unusual backstory, having largely been copied from another company’s homework, turned into a significant gaming culture event in Japan, and then published belatedly in America by a completely different publisher who would go on to copy it for their own homework.

Yes, 1989 promises to be raucous indeed.

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