Last night, J and I stayed up late talking about our first video game memories. I’ve said before that I love watching people play games and listening to people describe their favorite gaming stories. So I thought it might be fun to start a new feature on the blog for Throwback Thursday on the games of my past.
When I was four or five, my family got a Nintendo Entertainment System. It came with two games: Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. Duck Hunt was fun and all, but Super Mario Bros. immediately captured my attention. I read the instruction manual over and over, trying to derive clues about the mysterious and magical Mushroom Kingdom. At first I mostly watched my dad play. Or rather, we would take turns playing together (I played Mario and he played Luigi), but my turns were usually quite short due to my lack of skill. My father managed a pizza joint with arcade machines in the lobby, so he had quite a bit of practice manipulating digital characters and I remember bragging to my friends that MY dad had been able to beat up Bowser in the game’s final level.
As I got better at the game, I became obsessed with finding hidden items. I would take practice runs where I would break every brick I could reach in a level until my time ran out just so I could find all of the bricks stuffed with coins, mushrooms, and fire flowers. I checked every single pipe in the entire game for hidden rooms and shortcuts. To this day, it amazes me how many of these locations I still have memorized.
I remember the first day we found the hidden warp zone. I don’t know if my dad found it through experimentation or if he heard about it from some other parent, but I remember it blew my mind. When he ran on top of the ceiling of the level and found the hidden room with the pipes to other worlds I remember thinking “I don’t think we are supposed to be here.” I think, in my mind, I imagined this room to be the way that the enemies got around behind the scenes. I didn’t think it was a good idea for Mario to travel in their tunnels.
The music from this game is burned into my brain forever.
Years later, when I got Mario Paint on the SNES, I remember being delighted that the theme was made for us in the music editor.
And, to this day, my husband professes to be amazed at my ability to sing the Underground theme.
So many happy memories… This is where it all started for me.