Monday, July 07, 2008

Old School Mario

In recent months, the boys and some of their friends have become interested in old school Nintendo systems and games. They watch game reviews on YouTube. And they're always asking me to take them to used media stores like Goodwill, Thrifty Joe's and Bookman's.

A few weeks ago, Lucas and I were browsing through Goodwill, where he found a Super Nintendo console for $5. He later found a controller at another Goodwill store for $3. Luke was a happy boy that day!

And then there was Kyle's friend, who acquired three complete 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems. Apparently, the boy went a little trigger happy with his mom's eBay account, leaving her responsible for the purchase of all three auctions. They gave one to Kyle and Lucas.

My sister and I played a lot of NES when we were kids. Our mom got us a system for Christmas one year. Both of us were addicted to Super Mario Brothers. And now, I'm addicted all over again.

It all started the previous summer. I had what was perhaps the best babysitting gig ever. I watched two boys, ages 8 and 11 (translation: no diapers), who had no bedtime for me to enforce. Their mom always left us money to order pizza, and consistently paid me more than my $2 per hour rate. Twenty dollars for one night's work was big money for a teenager in 1987.

These boys also had Nintendo. And we would spend hours playing Super Mario Bros. "Zane" and "Jack" showed me where all the 1-UP mushrooms were located, how to get to the warp zones, and a few game glitches that can only be solved by running the clock out.
Now, I'm teaching the game to my son. Problem is, I never learned the proper names of all the characters, animals, and other game features. What I call a "bigness mushroom" Lucas refers to as "human growth hormone". Everytime he gets one, he remarks, "bigger self-esteem...smaller nads". My knowledge base wasn't near as broad when I was 10.
But a lot of time has passed since those days in Zane and Jack's living room. I have forgotten where many of the free guys and hidden coin boxes are. I certainly can't beat the game anymore. Even so, I usually mange to score enough points that, if translated to money, I could pay off our mortgage.


Craig said...


I remember back when I was a youngster and the original Atari system came out. My parents bought my sister and I the Atari system. We played it for a few months and then we were done with it.

Next came the Colecovision system. That system rocked. We only had about 10 games, but we played them constantly. I remember Donkey Kong but all the other games escape me at this time.

My mom won the original Nintendo system when it came out. From that point on, I have been a Mario groupie! I have played every Mario game (the good and the bad). Every time a new Nintendo system comes out, I buy it just so I can play the new Mario games. (As of yet I still don't have the Wii, but that will happen soon!)

SeangSTM said...

OMG - Val, you rule. lol

I dunno which is which but the mushrooms and turtles are koopas and goombas? I dunno. The bad guy is Bowser and the chick you're rescuing is Princess Toadstool. FUN TIMES! I have an emulator on my PC that lets me play NES games, SNES games and old Commodore-64 games. sweet!

Ms. Val said...

My mom won the original Nintendo system when it came out. From that point on, I have been a Mario groupie!

Craig, my boys are Nintendo purists, too...Kyle, in particular. That boy is first in line when a new Mario game comes out. And I'm more than happy to partially underwrite this hobby as long as it keeps stuff like Grand Theft Auto out of the house. Nothing against GTA. I just don't think it's appropriate for young kids. My boys can play it when they're older and can afford it themselves.

OMG - Val, you rule. lol

Aw, shucks, Sean. Thanks. I tried playing SMB on the PC. Kyle even downloaded SMB on his Wii virtual console because I asked him to (and I paid for it). But it's just not the same. I NEED that old school controller. It's what I'm used to.

Anonymous said...

wow i still remeber mario,zelda and donkey kong on the nentendo 64 like yesterday. to bad my bunny chewed the wire and my mom trew away the system. i still have the games and memories though.