Throwback Thursday: Nerd Edition
by Matthew Cocozza (@MatthewCocozza)
This is a brand new segment called Throwback Thursday: Nerd Edition. These articles will seek to feature one game a week that takes a look back at the old school games that we grew up with. The games that changed the industry but more importantly were super fun to play and talk about with your friends, The ones that caught the magic that game designers saw and tried to recreate time and time again.
I am writing today to talk about the first home video game that I ever played. Yes ladies and gentlemen the one that started it all for me. The spark that lit the flame of passion, over a thousand hours of game play, good times, great times, and unbelievable frustration. Lucky for me my first home gaming experience turned out to be one of the greatest games ever made. I’m talking Super Mario Bros. ya’ll.
I was 4 years old when my mom picked me up from preschool one day and told me that we were getting a brand new gaming system (it was a total hand me down from God knows where but I was four so who cares?) I could hardly contain my excitement as we pulled into the driveway. Soon I would be playing video games at home as long as I wanted. No quarters required, game over just meant start again not “fork over more cash or go home”. This is literally THE DREAM. Little did I know I was actually still about 3 hours away from my first gaming experience because the setup for my Nintendo was just way too hard for my mom to comprehend but after numerous phone calls to friends who had set their up for their friends and frustration wrestling with cords and remotes I was in. And ladies and gentleman it was well worth the wait.
Now by this time Super Mario Bros had been out for about 10 years so It was already well established as one of the greats but again I was 4 so I didn’t know that but I would soon learn first hand how awesome this game was. Right off the bat this game was super fun to play. You get to be a little Guido in overalls running around stomping on mushrooms (Goombas) and crazy pelican turtles (Koopa Troopas), What more could a kid want? I remember the excitement of playing hop scotch with my enemies getting a double or triple jump on the Goombas or the dread of jumping on a pipe to check if I could suck down into it praying that one of those mutant Venus Fly Traps (Piranha Plant) wouldn’t spring up and end my streak because I had already gotten a mushroom power-up and I’d be damned if I didn’t get the fire flower and start shooting fire balls at my enemies!
This game was exiting for all the right reasons. The art work was cleverly done in a way that set the tone for where you were; weather it be out in the cheery sun about to drag the flag down and end the level, rummaging through dark pipes knee deep in gold coins or in one of the super spooky dungeons dodging fire balls praying for it all to end. The music also complimented these scenes so well that to this day I still get the theme song stuck in my head and it’s always a good thing when I do.
The creator of Super Mario Bros. Shigeru Miyamoto created a game that saved Nintendo from what seemed like an impeding doom in the North American market. It wasn’t stunning graphics, online gaming or a rich story plot that made this game great. What propelled this game into mythic proportions is the simple fact that it was, and still is to this day, a ton of fun to play. Mario has become an endearing character of video game lore that has been featured in hundreds of games worldwide. He is an instantly recognizable character to not only anyone that has ever played a game but to anyone that lives on planet earth. This game was his transition from a fringe character in Donkey Kong to the most recognizable character in video games and it is for sure one of my favorite games of all time.
This game is the first game I am featuring in my throwback Thursday article because what else is there? How do you guys feel about Super Mario Bros.? Does my experience match yours or was your first encounter with the Italian different? Comment below and let me know.