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Super Mario Brothers & Sisters
Classic Gaming Memory by Amos Parker

When I was a wee lad, I was drawn to video games.

We all were, of course. I haven't yet met anyone that was repelled by video games as a child and then grew to love them as they got older. Some of us grew up and out of video games, deciding that the video games of today didn't have much to offer anymore. Anyone like me would have had a kind of identity crisis when that happened. How could something so dynamic and so dear fall away?

But we come to Good Deal Games because, whether we're in a new chapter of life or not, we love the old ones. "Asteroids", "Star Wars Arcade", "Roc'n'Rope", or whatever came our way. Maybe nostalgia is the main culprit. Maybe the games aren't even something we would play that often. But the memories hold our attention. And we hold on to them.

When I was a wee lad, there were the systems that others had. Some friends had a 2600, some a Colecovision. Some had an Apple IIe, some had an Intellivision. I was always enthralled. Perhaps the grass was always greener on the other side.

But I just know that when I found out that the Robbins household had a dog and cat ripoff of "Pac-Man", and that I could get there from my babysitters, it became all that I could think about. My babysitter had horses, and I would've learned to ride them just to out pace anyone that would've chased me up the hill.

And when I discovered that an "Asteroids" machine was perched just inside the entrance of the local market, I suddenly had something to do when my mother decided that she needed to buy food. Why eat when you can stare at that little glowing ship dance around in a maze of deadly rocks? Usually my mother spent all of the quarters she could on groceries. I would've had it another way. I'd have been happy to spend all of the food money forever, until I was a skeleton, elbows near the "warp" button, hands on my fists.

It was always a vacation to get a few dollars in quarters from my parents and get taken to the local arcade. I'd always beg for more after. I'm sure they loved taking me. It was a virtual heaven, with temporary keys that cost 25 cents. I remember one time when a guy around 18 was beating the pants off a "Commando" machine. I squeezed my head in too close and blocked his sight just enough to make him lose his last life. Boy was he angry. Some of the others that were watching his reign asked me if I was ok, after he shoved and yelled at me. Another time I saw a guy punch the screen after he lost. I thought he was cool, so the next time I lost at "Crossbow" I tentatively slapped the already cracked and taped plastic. The owner saw me, and said that I'd have to pay for it if I broke it. I quickly decided not to take out aggressions on gaming equipment. Unlike some of my friends, I've never broken a controller.

My father's friends were always a good contact. David Pransky had a 2600 at his house, which was a drive of over 20 minutes away. I remember shooting at AT-ATs in snow speeders, having a sort of four-way "Breakout" match with brothers and friends in a game that may or may not have been called "Warlords". Then, when my father met and later married his second wife, I had better access to a 2600. "Keystone Capers" and "Pitfall 2" became my new draws. Everyone was worried that I cared more about their games than the people my father had brought closer too us. Alas that was true. But if they were willing to play with me, I'd care about them.

For some reason, my father decided, before the Christmas of 1986, to get the family of his new girlfriend a NES. A NES? I wasn't sure why he didn't get one for me and my brother. Maybe since they had a four-child family while my brother and I were it. Maybe he was trying to impress her. Maybe he didn't want his own kids melting their brains like that. But I was soon introduced to the joy of characters that had distinguishable facial features. Mario had a nose, a moustache and eyes? "Wild Gunman" had opponents with personalities. The ducks in "Duck Hunt" exploded just like the real thing... almost. Before long my brother and my soon-to-be step-siblings were fighting over the right to deal Bowser a dip in the magma, and the right to puncture the cornea of Gohma with rupees-turned-arrows. Often times I just let the others play. I wasn't as good, and I wanted the game's characters to succeed, to die as little as possible. And I was more enthralled by watching than most others. Even to this day the Native American name that I was given in Jr. High rings true. I was called "Stands Back to See".

There were those early bouts with what is still known as "Nintendo thumb". I remember Adam and everyone joking with beginners about how Mario would get 5000 bonus points if he jumped into this or that pit. Laughing ensued. I remember how beginners to games in general would try to control the game with their entire body. You want Mario to move left? Move the controller 3 feet to the left. I did it too. And the more in danger the gumshoes were, the more the controller moved. Usually Mario just moved into a coffin.

It wasn't until "Super Mario Brothers" that I was even aware that a game could be beaten. Not only were the people close to me getting better, but games were starting to have a specific goal more often. There was less forever and more princess. "The Legend of Zelda" was the epitome of this. Such a specific mission. I remember how often our game got erased because of a faulty battery or a careless other player. We'd stand in stunned silence for minutes, too broken hearted to do anything but contemplate who might be blamed.

When my brother made the mistake of loaning us "Wizards & Warriors" after getting it for his birthday, he could then blame us for beating it for the first time without him. But that's another story.

You may contact Amos, he would love to hear your comments and opinions.

Visit Amos' other Website: Sega Web


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