My first contact with the beauty that is gaming, was when I was about 2. Apparently while shopping one day with my mother I spotted a playable NES in a store. I waited ages in the cue and finally got to play Super Mario Bros I believe it was. After that, all I wanted was a NES. Thankfully I got one. A few months later in my mother saved up and got me one for Christmas 1991 (or 1992). The games I got with it from the start were (I believe): Super Mario Bros
/ Duck Hunt
, Duck Tales
, Yoshi’s Egg
and Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Mario Bros and Yoshi’s Cookie greatly, and Duck Tales Duck Hunt even more (that damn dog!), but my favourite game had to be Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout (which I’m sure was called Happy Birthday Bugs but whatever). Perhaps it was because I was born in 1989, and had grown up those past 2 years watching Looney Tunes daily and Foghorn Leghorn and all those (though I did watch Duck Tales A LOT
Either way, that game was in my NES most, I just enjoyed playing as Bugs Bunny, having to battle characters like Daffy Duck and Taz the Tasmanian Devil. Although the game may have been a simple run and jump platformer, as we all know, as kids we’re entertained pretty easily. In fact I remembered the music from the first level from the last time I got to play it till this day. The game wasn’t that related to the cartoon other than the character boss battles, since the main enemies during the levels were walking hammers, soap boxes and exploding clocks (maybe the guy who did the character design was high).
A sweet serenade to my ears.
As the months went by, eventually my best friend at the time asked if he could borrow the game, since he was going on holiday to Poland. Reluctantly I agreed to let him borrow it, since he was my best friend and all, but that didn’t stop the pain of not having that game while he was gone. Bring it forward two months and he returns from Poland. The past two months were agonising as far as gaming goes, sorry to say this, but Super Mario Bros, while an amazing game, was just not a substitute. I went round his house to play (those were the days) and I anticipated getting my cartridge back. Unfortunately, he told me that he lost the cartridge while he was there. You can imagine my heart shattering into a million glass pieces. To be honest, after that day, though we remained best friends for a good few years after that, our friendship wasn’t the same (not necessarily just because he lost my games… well maybe). Actually I’m pretty sure it’s his fault I haven’t got Duck Tales anymore!
As the years went by I moved on from console to console, picking up a SNES, moving to an N64 though all my mates had the PS1 and then getting a PS2 (and Gamecube later on, note that I still have all of these consoles, including the NES
). Though the memory of the game stayed fresh in my mind for many a year, the dream eventually faded. I though I would never get to play the game again.
I was wrong.
Fast forward to late 2002, my mate had bought a Dreamcast a few years after release, and was showing me all these pirated games he had. Seeing Rival Schools 2: Project Justice in action, I knew I had to get one. Upon finding one in a Gamestation for £20, I gave my mate a bunch of blank discs and in return I was showered with games. As I went through the games I had been provided, I eventually came across a NES emulator for the DC. Scrolling through this list of 600 or so NES games, I eventually came across a game called “Happy Birthday Bugs”. I thought to myself “Can this be? No way.
” and proceeded to select the game. As soon as the screen started up I knew what was going on, I was being reunited
with the game.
As I went through the first level, humming the tune as it was being blared out by my TV, I experienced all the joy of playing it that I had when I was a kid, practically 11 years ago.
What did this teach me?
Well I realised, that someone can have such a passion for a game or gaming in general that time won’t make that passion falter. I also realised that a game can still be enjoyable no matter how old it is. Every now and then, whether it’s been months since I last played it or years since I last played it, I go back to the game, and all the feelings and I had from that first time come back, with a little bit of nostalgia. It also taught me that game music can be as great or even great than the stuff we see on Top 20 charts.
Since those other NES games also were part of the start, I figured I’d add what each of those taught me about gaming in general and the real world.
What did Duck Hunt teach me?
Duck Hunt taught me that if I ever get a cap gun/air-rifle/weapon and assault some ducks, a dog will catch them and will mock me if I miss. It also taught me that you don’t need a typical controller to enjoy a game. Along with that it got me into light-gun games (Time Crisis 2 FTW!).
What did Duck Tales teach me?
Duck Tales taught me that not only do Looney Tune characters make for great games, but Disney characters make for great games too. It also taught me that ducks can use canes as pogo sticks. To be honest, it didn’t teach me much that the other games didn’t teach me, but dammit Duck Tales is a great game.
What did Super Mario Bros teach me?
Super Mario Bros taught me that fat plumbers can run fast and shoot fire under certain circumstances. It also introduced me to the main man Mario, whose games I still enjoy today. Heck I even had some of those Nintendo Adventure Books
where you choose your own path. I also learned that Luigi>Mario and since that game, I mostly played as Luigi in the Mario games (heck he’s even better than Mario in Super Smash Bros Brawl).
What did Yoshi’s Egg teach me?
Yoshi’s Egg was the first game to teach me that Yoshi’s come from eggs. It also taught me that Yoshi eggs are made when two eggshells are combined (go figure). It also started my love of the puzzle game genre and got me into high-scores.
I was going to write about another side to the article about how Super Mario Bros got me into co-op games and modes, but Papa Smurf will leave that story to another time. Thanks for reading.