Balloon Fight for the NES is the home console counterpart of Nintendo's arcade game, originally released in 1984. The player controls a character called the Balloon Fighter who can fly around stages using two balloons attached to their helmet.
The goal of the main game is to pop the balloons of rival Balloon Fighters in each stage by hitting, without losing both of their own balloons; losing one balloon will negatively affect the Fighters' ability to float around, thus putting them at a disadvantage to opponents. Players can tackle the main game alone or with a friend in two-player co-op multiplayer.
The game also features a "Balloon Trip" mode, challenging players to navigate automatically scrolling obstacle courses in order to collect as many balloons while avoiding hazardous obstacles.
Balloon Fight would continue to be ported to other game platforms in the years following the NES home console release
- The NES port of Balloon Fight was the first (commerical) video game that Satoru Iwata was involved in as programmer while he was still an employee of HAL Laboratory. Iwata would later become the CEO of Nintendo itself from 2002 until his unfortunate passing in 2015. Balloon Fight is typically seen as Iwata's big break in the console gaming industry as a result, and one of the hallmark titles that he would be remembered by following his death.
- Balloon Fight would also serve as an early indicator of Iwata's skill in game programming. The NES game actually featured smoother character movement and control compared to the arcade version! Nintendo's developers were so surprised that they turned to Iwata to find out how he achieved this; the knowledge they gleamed would be applied to the critically acclaimed Super Mario Bros. for the NES.