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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


blows a hole in the radio

retronauts is finally back after a two-month hiatus, and they actually dropped two shows in two weeks. so on this week's episode the crew reminisces about mario games, and spent a few minutes on their first experiences with the series. it brought me back, too, to my childhood.

i never got an original NES - i was primarily a PC gamer back then (and by PC gamer i mean the immortal C64, wolf3d was the first PC-as-in-x86-architecture game i really dug into)... some of my friends had the console , which is where i first experienced the legend of zelda, the mega man series, final fantasy, the original ninja turtles games, etc. but my first time with mario was at my grandparents' house.

to this day, i'm not too sure why they had one... i assume it's so that me and my cousins could have something to do (and leave the adults alone) while hanging out at their place. at the time my cousins christina and alex and i were the only ones around that were old enough to play a game console. their library wasn't huge - just the super mario bros./duck hunt cart and SMB2, but those three titles were more than enough to keep us busy. i was the oldest (and the most excited to fire up the NES - i thought of little else on our long drives up to dayton) so i got first crack at the games - and as a result tina & alex got very little time to play as the second player. i absolutely loved SMB, so simple and yet so challenging. people talk about the music, but the sound effects were what stuck with me - the sound of stomping an enemy, grabbing a coin, chucking a fireball - they were rich, so much more stunning than the grainy pops and beeps coming out of my c64's speakers.

i remember that the discrepancy between styles in SMB and SMB2 was always confusing to me... hearing the origins of SMB2 later in life cleared up a lot of that. i never liked SMB2 very much, and even after finishing the all-stars version i wasn't very satisfied.

i got a gameboy in '89 for christmas, and after i burned through an afternoon of tetris i switched up to super mario land... i remember hating that game because it changed play styles even further from SMB/SMB2. what was this level where you fly a plane? where's my fireball? all i have is this stupid bouncing bowling ball. to this day it's one of the only games from my childhood i haven't revisited via emulation.

i've extolled the virtues of super mario 3 before - i need not repeat my praise, except to hold it up as one of the finest console games ever made.

the real revelation was christmas 1991 when i opened my SNES box and freaked out much like the N64 kid. i played super mario world most of the day, until we went up to visit family that afternoon. that evening i went to bed - but unbeknownst to my parents, who for some reason had the SNES hooked up in my room, i got up and played the entire night through and finished it on day one. i was twelve at the time - my first all-nighter. i haven't stayed up all night to finish a game since.

mario 64, mario sunshine - for some reason these two never really bowled me over. i'm excited for mario galaxy in two weeks - i hear it's marvelous - but my heart will always lie with the old side-scrollers.


for this post

Blogger Rob Says:

well put, sir....

i still have my NES, and it's still functional.

i remember waking up on christmas and opening it up and hooking it up to the tv in the family room.

it was that moment, right there, that birthed my undying love for video games.

my parents had no idea what they were about to unleash when i got the NES.


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