- A short “rant” about my brother.
Last Monday a package arrived on my doorstep. I opened to find an original 1985 Nintendo Entertainment system, a copy of Super Mario Bros 3, Contra and Megaman 2 amongst others. To my knowledge these are three of the best games for the system.
I never played the NES as a child, I was born 8 years after it’s original release and grew up with a SNES, Genesis, Playstation and the king of the handhelds; The Gameboy. It was on the Gameboy that I was first introduced to classics such as Pokémon, Mario Land etc. My point is I grew up playing Nintendo games, I consider myself pretty good at platformers from the 8bit and 16bit eras, I can run through Megaman 2 in less than an hour, and know where all the warp whistles are in Mario 3.
My brother on the other hand would struggle to find the “B” button on a NES control pad. This is the reason I am writing this today. My brother, Izaac, was born in June of 1999. A child of the Millennium. He didn’t grow up in the waning years of the “Bit wars”; he didn’t witness the death of Sega, the Birth of Sony or the polygons of early 3D gaming. He grew up with the PS2 and Xbox.
So last week, after hooking up the NES (without help from my parents) I decided to show him how much fun Contra could be. His response made me burn with anger. “I don’t like this game, it’s too hard and the graphics are rubbish.” I pushed past this, admittedly Contra is a hard game, and I shouldn’t have introduced him to this amazing console with a punch to the face. I popped in Super Mario Bros 3, and as the curtain rose his little face lit up. He recognised Mario. Great, I thought, he might enjoy this. I played through the first stage, very easy for me; I’d sunk hours and hours into the Gameboy Advance version. Then it was his turn. It was painful to watch, he had no idea to hold “B” to run before a jump, he hit the second Goomba, and then fell down a hole. I bit my tongue and played through the level. The final straw came when he complained that “the music stops when I jump” and how “the sounds are much better on Xbox.” I literally grabbed the controller out of his hand and pushed him out of the room.
When did children lose the ability to appreciate anything that doesn’t have online multiplayer or a colour palette composed of three greys and a few browns? I would rather shoot pixilated Aliens in Alien 3 for the Sega MasterSystem than “Frag” generic Russian/Korean/Space Marine in Gears of Halo Duty 7. Admittedly I have played countless hours of TF2 and Fallout:NV, but I will always have time for the classics. I have over thirty games consoles, only three of those are of current generation, and even my custom built gaming PC is used mainly to play Doom, Quake and Emulators.
To wrap it up, it really shocked me to realise that my own brother didn’t share my love of the retro. I assumed, possibly wrongly, that he would be able to pick up any controller and instantly know how to play. Maybe the age difference was a bigger thing than I thought; let’s just hope that not every twelve year old can’t get enjoy the good old NES.