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The start of the affair: Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt

2:27 PM on 06.04.2008 // pedrovay2003


[Editor's note: pedrovay2003 tells us what started his affair for June's Monthly Musings topic. -- CTZ

pedrovay2003's note: This is NOT an attempt to steal dvddesign's idea. I have been wanting to do this all day today, but I had to work and just barely got to my computer. I loved his blog, and it made me feel the rush of my childhood coming back to me, for which I thoroughly thank him. Besides, I wanted to talk more about Duck Hunt than Mario.

You kids today and your fancy graphics, your 3D games, and your dual-joysticks. Back in my day, when Pluto was a planet and we had real games, there was Super Mario Bros, the platformer that started it all. The fat plumber brought videogames back into the world, but not alone --- He had his legion of gun-fodder ducks and his demon-possessed bloodhound to give him a hand. Oh, and Luigi, too.  I started playing this dual-game game when I was 2-years-old, and I've been gaming ever since.

I always kind of considered the original NES to be a Birthday present to me from Nintendo --- It came out like a week after I was born, and up until recently, I still had it, along with the controllers and Zapper, in the original box. I remember sitting in front of my TV in the basement playing both games that came with the NES for hours on end, never wanting to get up. I didn't have to think about anything else when I was playing --- It was my escape from school and whatever else was stressing me out (couldn't be much, just school, probably).

The original Super Mario Bros. was an inspiration for pretty much everything on the NES, and probably about 80% of what was on the SNES years later. Hell, I still think that game is the reason we still have excellent sidescrollers today. Not only that, but it's held up very, very well --- It was the first Virtual Console game I downloaded on the Wii, and it plays just as well as it did 20 years ago. I still load it up and play for hours, even after all this time.

However, as much as I liked Mario, I think I actually played Duck Hunt even more. Probably because my dad would always play it with me, and we'd just sit there forever, and I'd stare in awe at how my dad would never miss. Seriously, he wouldn't. Every shot would be a hit, and that's why I played so much --- I wanted to be as good as he was. But you can't just pick something up and expect to win every time. Remember this screen?

Yeah. I really, really wished you could shoot him. I still kinda do, actually. Oh, wait a minute... you can!

I also really enjoyed playing the Clay Pigeon Shooting portion of the game, too. While it was basically the same concept as shooting ducks, the clay pigeons would get smaller if you took too long to shoot them, making the game even harder. After I got good at the ducks (which I just barely found out last year can be controlled with the second controller), I spent all my time on the clay pigeons, but I still never got as good at those.

That's why I liked the Shooting Range portion of Wii Play --- While it wasn't nearly as magical as Duck Hunt / Clay Pigeon Shooting, it was still a pretty cool, graphically updated version of the original game. I still like to play it for nothing but the nostalgia value, and to see the ducks flying across the screen. You can even hear the dog in the background when the ducks are about to come out.

Looking back now, I still can't believe it's been 20 years. I love our current games and consoles, don't get me wrong --- But back then, life was good. No "console wars," no fanboys, no deciding which systems to buy. It was the Nintendo Entertainment System, the one and only, and you got games to play right out of the box. I grew up with Nintendo, and whenever I think of videogames, it isn't Wii or the 360 or the PS3 that I think of, it's the NES, and it's Super Mario Bros., and it's a load of ducks. And it's one sadistic dog that --- while I hated him as a kid --- I would never want to forget now.

Please, enjoy some Duck Hunt if you have the time. It's not the same as playing it with a gun, but everything's still there.

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