By Joshie Jaxon
I wrestled with how I wanted to celebrate this particular occasion. There are so many great games and moments in the series, I thought about how best to share them with you, dear readers. I decided to go with a personal narrative, and my history with Mario. Let the geeks begin!
While my first gaming system was an Atari 2600, I have very few memories of actually playing it that often. My original Nintendo was a gift, I believe for my birthday. It was 30 years ago, gimme a break. I know it got opened at my grandma’s house, and I swear we set it up to play right then. It was the bundle that came with Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. As much as I hated trying to shoot ducks with no cross hair to put them in, I loved, and I mean loved playing Mario Bros. To this day, I only think I’ve ever beaten it once, maybe twice. I can make it through Ocarina of Time without dying, but trying to beat NES Mario Bros 1 is nearly impossible for my poor brain. I don’t know what it is about that game. I still love it though. The music is infectious, and has been with me for decades. Super Mario Bros 2 and 3 rounded out the NES adventures. Tons of new worlds, and new bad guys as well. I was a little sad that Wart and company weren’t in Mario and Luigi Dream Team. There were pillows and a dream land, for crissake. Wart, Mouser, Fry Guy, c’mon, do we really needed Bowser AGAIN? If you’re not gonna trot out other older villains, at least don’t make it Bowser all the time. The whole, no one takes Peach but me thing, could make him a temporary hero. Sorry for that tangent. Where was I?
Ah yes, Mario moments. Super Mario World is one that I logged a ton of hours on. I had all the star roads, all the secret worlds, and autumn coming to Dinosaur World. I knew the secret to get infinite lives in World 4, which was good, because my non-Bevianna sister sucked, and I needed to be able to transfer more lives to her. Maybe she’d have been better if I had let her play more often. Nah! She wasn’t the hardcore gamer I am. She wanted friends and a life. I wanted the high score and personal glory. I stand by my life choices. I’m the Gracie Hart of gaming. Instead of friends and relationships I have sarcasm and a controller. I played the next few Mario entries on my own. Granted, they were mostly designed as 1-player games. There’s no Luigi in Sunshine. He’s missing in Galaxy. Before the Wii and more, family-centric gaming, it seems Nintendo was just fine with us playing with ourselves. That doesn’t sound right, but it does sound like me.
Speaking of the Wii, that’s where my next Mario moments took place. When the New Super Mario Bros Wii came out, I got a chance to love the series all over again. Being the alpha nerd that I am, I was always Mario. My ex and I spent a good portion of our relationship trying to acquire every single star coin available. Our relationship ended with one coin left unclaimed. Maybe if we’d found it, we’d still be together. Probably not, but the world will never know. The point is, even with him getting in my way, and me tossing him into lava when he wouldn’t bubble on demand, Mario brought us together.
Now Mario is being enjoyed by a new generation. I loaned my nephews my copy of Mario All Stars Special Edition, which lowed them to see what the original games were like, albeit with updated graphics. The point is, they didn’t just have 3D Mario adventures. They got to kick it old school. My eldest even played the original Mario Bros. No Bowser, no Peach, no plot, really. Knock out the bad guys before your opponent can. I was taking a break, and rather than switching to one player mode, my nephew stayed in two player and let Mario die so he could collect wins. After seeing what he was doing, I picked the controller back up, and started kicking his ass. He asked what I was doing, and I told him if he was going to play two player, both players were gonna play. He just stood in safe places, waiting for me to die. I figured out his little game, and I started kicking shells into him. I know it shouldn’t, but frustrating my nephew like that filled me with such joy, I know if there’s a hell, I have a reservation.
Mario Brothers – bringing families together for 30 years.