Contra: Thirty Lives Later

Contra is a run and gun action game developed and published by Konami originally released as a arcade game on February 20, 1987. It was released a year later for Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988 as well as ports for various computer formats. The game’s storyline involves two commandos, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, who’ve been sent to destroy the enemy forces and uncover the secrets of the aliens who control that force. This was a game that invested in the concept of two players simultaneously playing on the same screen. An uncommon concept for console gaming in the early 80’s, but that is not to say that you need two players to embark on this journey but the more the merrier, right? Contra also incorporated multiple perspectives within the different stages of gameplay. Some include a standard side view and a fixed screen format.


One of the most memorable things of Contra, for me, was it’s well known code, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, A, B, A. The very code that granted players of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) thirty lives in Contra. One of the most highly memorized code in all of time. Even to this day, decades later, you’ll find many 80’s gamers who still know this very code by heart. But the code isn’t only unforgettable part behind Contra.

Another impressive feature was the weapons that were made available to players. They consisted of a semi-automatic machine gun, a laser gun that shoots a powerful beam, a fireball gun that shoots its rounds in a corkscrew pattern and my personal favorite, the spread gun which fired bullets in five different directions. Bless you Konami for developing such a unique bad ass weapon of our time. One minor fun thing that I loved was that Contra was the first to have the main characters somersault through the air, instead of the standard jump used in all games at the time. This game was nothing complicated but remained to be hours of fun.

With Contra’s beloved fans and popularity Contra was followed by Super Contra a year later. It was the only Contra sequel for the arcades developed in-house by Konami. The Contra brand made many releases with over 20 titles like Neo Contra, Cobra: Shattered Soldier, Contra Rebirth and so much more. These titles were available on various gaming devices like Gameboy, Gameboy advanced, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, and the list goes on. You can however stop by Xbox live arcade for the classic version of Contra and for $4.99 Contra can be yours for taking.

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