How were you introduced to Metroid?

Image: Nintendo Life

In case you didn’t know, tomorrow (Monday, August 15) marks the 35th anniversary of Metroid’s NES launch in North America. It is insaneRight? 35 years! Do you feel old yet?

In the years and decades since it debuted in 1987 (’86 in Japan), the Metroid series has become one of Nintendo’s marquee franchises, with games released on nearly every console bar the N64 and Wii U (Virutal Console doesn’t count! ). Despite earning some lukewarm commercial success compared to the likes of Super Mario and Animal crossing, Metroid has more than earned its place in the hearts of Nintendo gamers worldwide; heck, you only have to look at some of the reactions to Nintendo’s announcement of Metroid Prime 4 to understand how impactful the franchise has become.

So with that in mind, we thought we’d share our introductions to the franchise, and we want to hear your stories too! What game did you start with? What drew you to it? Did a friend or family member introduce you?

If you haven’t played the franchise at all yet, that’s okay! Also, some of us have big gaps in our Metroid history, and you’ll notice that only one of us (me!) have played through the Metroid Prime trilogy, so you’ll be in good company here.

Enjoy, and be sure to share your stories in the comments below!

Ollie Reynolds, Staff Writer

I guess I got into the Metroid series pretty late, all things considered. My first entry was Metroid Prime for the GameCube when it launched back in 2002. I remember reading about it in issues of NGC Magazine and being completely blown away by how amazing it looked. Thinking back, I’m not sure I even realized that the franchise actually started as some kind of 2D adventure series; it wasn’t until I saw Metroid Fusion for the GBA and then did some research that I realized that Metroid Prime’s first-person view was a hero new version of the franchise.

Needless to say, I fell in love with Metroid Prime hard; places like Phendrana Drifts and Phazon Mines were among some of the most beautiful environments I’d ever seen, and the balance between exploration and combat was quite easy perfect. So of course I first got into the franchise and played through the original Metroid, Metroid II and Super Metroid, before picking up Metroid Fusion at a later point. Despite the obvious limitations of the debut title on the NES, I could see how the game had influenced the franchise going forward.

It’s probably safe to say that Metroid is my favorite Nintendo franchise to this day, and I owe everything to Metroid Prime. When nothing else would catch my eye, Prime was the game I would fall back on – each time. You can imagine my delight when Nintendo announced that a fourth entry would be on its way to the Switch… Speaking of which, any updates on that, Nintendo?

Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime (2002) — Image: Nintendo

Alana Hagues, staff writer

Admittedly, it took me one really long to fall in love with Metroid the way I am now. It probably wasn’t helped by the fact that my first Metroid game was the GBA Classic NES Series release of the original Metroid. I jumped off it, hard. But I really wanted to know what this cool, orange-clad bounty hunter was like that I’d seen in the original Super Smash Bros.

So I did some digging around online and Metroid Fusion immediately jumped out at me. I managed to get my hands on a copy, played through it – scared myself to death a few times – and loved it. Fusion’s stalker-like enemy SA-X had me crawling under my sheets, even as a teenager. But even then, that still took me a while to say I loved Metroid. I tried to play the original a few more times through those Animal Crossing NESs you could get once upon a time, but it was the SNES Classic that finally pushed me to try out the venerable Super Metroid in 2018. Now there’s a video game with a terrifying rumor. But it turns out there’s a reason for that – there is phenomenal. The atmosphere, the map and the sense of progression are still unmatched, even today.

The rest is history. Super Metroid made me go back and replay Fusion, pick up Zero Mission, and even try the original Metroid and Metroid II again. Admittedly, I’m still missing a lot of holes – Prime, Samus Returns – but Dread has cemented this series as one of my favourites. I’m glad I kept trying.

Kate Gray, Staff Writer

I’ve never actually played a Metroid. Maybe I would really enjoy them, I don’t know! But I still have a Metroid story, sort of. When I applied for the open Staff Writer position at Official Nintendo Magazine—a position for which I would end up being selected out of 650 applicants (spoilers, but it’s important context!)—there were a bunch of tests and interview stages I had. to go through, once they had read my application.

The first was a phone call. Easy peasy. I chat all the time. The second was an interview with the editor of ONM and the overall editor-in-chief of a bunch of the magazines, which was a bit daunting, but I think I managed. The third was a test article – I had to write about 300 words of news in an hour, and Twitch Play’s Pokemon was in its early days at the time, so I just wrote about that. But the last test was one I was sure I had failed.

It was a Nintendo quiz, you see. I was 22 at the time, fresh out of university, and although I had played ton of games from N64 to GameCube to Wii to DS and 3DS, not many of these games made the quiz. I answered the questions Professor Layton, Ace lawyerand Mario (it would be a shame not to get the Marios right), but when it mattered F-zero and Metroid question, I just… had no idea. And people get really weird when they find out a Nintendo writer hasn’t played a Metroid, which always bugs me – I mean, no one gets weird if you haven’t played Ace Attorney, despite it being a seminal work of any genre – is. It’s always the shooters that people care about. Sigh.

So I was convinced I had blown it. Totally messed up, thanks to my flawed knowledge of Nintendo blockbusters. At that point I thought, “might as well have some fun” and did a bunch of doodles. I drew Blathers in the margin of the quiz; I wrote “Falcon Punch???” in answer to an F-Zero question, and I drew a little Samus next to a Metroid question I didn’t answer. Apparently… that’s what got me the job (besides the writing, obviously). The editor didn’t care that I hadn’t played all the games. You can teach someone how to play games. You cannot teach them to write as easily.

I still haven’t played a Metroid, but that quiz taught me that the games I have or haven’t played don’t define me or diminish my worth. It’s a nice lesson to learn.

Metroid (1986) — Image: Nintendo

Jim Norman, Staff Writer

Metroid is always a franchise that fascinates me. Not because I’m a huge fan of the games, but because – despite my unabashed love of platformers – I’ve never really warmed to any of them.

The first Metroid game I ever played was Metroid Fusion on the GBA. This was at a time when I bought every game I could get my hands on, regardless of what anyone said about them. I was drawn to this particular title, but because of my love for Super Smash Bros. Melee, which I played almost consistently on my friend’s GameCube. I always wondered who the bad guy with the gun was and that led me to Fusion.

I can’t say that this first experience really stuck with me (wow, what a way to kick off the site’s new feature), but I do remember not being completely impressed. What has followed in my gaming life has been an inconsistent relationship with the series: a a little a bit of Metroid Prime Hunters here, a bit of Samus Returns there.

Maybe contributing to this recurring feature will make me rush back into the series when I read other people’s undying love for the franchise. Somehow I doubt it.

Gavin Lane, Editor

My Metroid story started, oddly enough, on the DS. I had been holding off on getting a “Phat”, but the slim Lite and one particular game tempted me enough to open my wallet and I picked up one very shiny black console and Metroid Prime Hunters.

Looking back now, it’s all pretty crazy, but at the time it felt amazing to have such an intricate game on a system that’s so crazy. It’s no classic, but the bounty hunter-based combat (not to mention the sublime Metroid Prime Pinball) got my foot in the series’ door and prompted further investigation.

I ended up finding a loose Zero Mission cart (I wanted something I could play on the Lite, plus it was a remake of the very first game so it made perfect sense) and I was hooked. I soon caught up on Super Metroid, then Fusion (as part of the 3DS Ambassador Program), then went back to Return of Samus on GB and the 3DS remake, and finally Dread last year. All fine games, although my heart belongs to Zero Mission, which surely ranks as the best remake ever.

The Prime series is still a personal blind spot – or not after reading all above! — and I’m hoping the rumors of a Prime 1 Switch remaster are true to give me a feel for Prime 4 when it releases sometime in Q4 2027.

Metroid Zero Mission
Metroid: Zero Mission (2004) — Image: Nintendo

Gonçalo Lopes, reviewer

Like most Nintendo IPs, Metroid entered my life by accident. Back when I had my clunky Game Boy, it was standard practice to swap cartridges with my friends in high school so we could play as wide a variety of titles as possible. One such friend was stuck on something called Metroid II: Return of Samus. The name was only known from local TV commercials for the NES version. I borrowed it and was quite surprised to find a pocket Turrican-style exploration gameplay with a lot of hidden depth, namely when you get the Spider Ball upgrade. When the staff credits rolled, I knew I had just played an all-time Game Boy masterpiece. It took me many more years after the fact to discover that it was Turrican who had first sought inspiration in Samus’s galactic adventures.

Fast forward a few years later and I find myself eager to buy a Super Game Boy. But in the store there was an equally big (huge!) Super Nintendo game box next to it: Super Metroid! Despite the German only player guide, I decided to spend my birthday earnings on it and well… here I am today looking at the same huge box on the shelf as I share this story with you fine people. Together with F-zero and Star Fox, Metroid is part of my Nintendo “Triforce” of science fiction escapism. The show’s impact on my life is still quite palpable.

So there you have it! We hope you’ve enjoyed this little look at how each of us was introduced to the Metroid franchise.

Anyway, now we want to know how you was introduced. Cast your vote in the poll below and let us know which game you played first, then give us some context with a comment!

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