Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Gaming History Pt. 2

This blog series is going to be a look back through time as I recall my 20+ gaming “career,” if you will. I'll take you through the ups and downs, the trials, tribulations and the triumphs. The sleepless nights, the gorging on pizza, the tournaments, the competition, the fights. The friends made over gaming, and the friends lost ov-no wait, I can honestly say that I have never lost a friend because of gaming. That would be rather pathetic, would it not?

Part Two (Part One can be found HERE)

And so, morning, as mornings inevitably do, came.

And so did I.

(that's what she said?)

Those thumb calisthenics, thumb pushups, and juice (Deca Durabolin and Testosterone Enanthate) injections certainly helped, because on that day, my brother and I beat Super Mario Bros. Multiple times. In fact, we got so damn efficient we were able to beat it without losing a single life. Multiplayer was out of the question, because all player 2 ever got to do was watch player one dominate the FUCK out of that game.

In short, we were badass little mofos.

By the end of that day, the princess had been rescued a dozen times, and Mario was out of breath and shoving pastramis down his fat throat as fast as his fat little sausage fingers would let him. My brother and I were neighbourhood heroes. Then we were on TV. We were national heroes. The first two Canadian kids to dominate the FUCK out of Super Mario Bros. We were in all of the magazines. We were banging supermodels and drinking cognac at 4am while getting our manhoods waxed, if you know what I mean. We were earning honorary doctorates in anything you could imagine, both related to video gaming and not. Harvard alone handed us 9 of them each.

Except of course, for one little problem:

Brace yourself:

I just lied.

None of that shit actually happened.

The truth is this: We got stuck, as did most kids I'm sure, at world 7-4 (maze castle). DAMN that fucking maze!! Being so young and having no internet available at the time meant doing it the old fashioned way: via trial and error. We did eventually conquer that level, and subsequently, the rest of the game, but long after that first day. So, no glory, no babes, no fame, no fortune, and no honorary doctorates. Still, I bet most kids didn't even have the requisite skills necessary to even reach 7-4, so hey, there's that, right?

Both on that day, and as those early NES days progressed, we also spent a lot of time playing Excitebike. A lot of fun was had challenging eachother to make progressively harder and harder custom tracks, and then seeing how long it would take us to get through them (notice I said get through as opposed to beat or conquer.....reason being we would do just that- get through.....more like stumble through, with our poor little rider taking tumble after tumble after tumble lol).

And of course, much time was spent playing Duck Hunt. In fact, Duck Hunt got the whole family involved in gaming. My father, who was (maybe still is? I dunno, I don't talk to my parents) a hunter, found the whole light gun thing really appealing, and he used to play with us (and show us up, as he was quite good). This was extra cool to my brother and I as he had been against the whole gaming thing, so to see him enjoying one was a novelty that never really wore off (nor did his disdain for video games, despite his enjoyment of Duck Hunt). My mother gave it a shot on a few occasions, but mostly just watched and cheered us on (yes, my mother had the ability to cheer in those early days) (before the demons took hold, that is), making Duck Hunt a family affair in our household, at least for a time (my dad eventually grew bored of it, although my mother eventually actually developed an interest in Super Mario, which she actually started to play at one point, along with Super Mario Bros. 3, which was her favourite of the two.

As an aside, a really fun thing to do in Duck Hunt is to use the second controller to manipulate the duck in the one player game. You can really piss off player one as you take control of the duck, taking the difficulty and ramping it up to extreme! Try and shoot down my ADHD fuelled duck, asshole!!!!

And so the NES had become a staple in the household. My brother and I eventually did beat SMB1. We went on to play such classics as Castlevania, Double Dragon, Blades of Steel (a favourite amongst the two of us, especially given the competitive nature of the fighting, what with the loser being the only one to get were they thinking with that one?), Shinobi, After Burner (both unlicensed Tengen carts...naughty naughty looking redesigned and black carts though, and great games), SMASH TV, Ninja Gaiden II (one of my personal favourite games of all time and my favourite game series ever) (in fact, see HERE for a Ninja Gaiden Series Retrospective), Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones (jumping spin kick FTW), SMASH TV, Super Mario Bros. 3, etc.

Speaking of SMB3, we actually stumbled across it one day while we were out with our parents. Imagine our surprise!! We'd somehow managed to be oblivious of the fact that there was a 3rd game, let alone the fact that it was out, and $90 (if memory serves) later we had Super Mario Bros. 3 in hand. And WOW was it ever good! We spent YEARS playing that game, beating it and finding all sorts of tricks, techniques and short cuts. My mother was really into that one for a while as well, as I previously mentioned.

Lots of eating going on there. Fitting, what with the mains characters being Italian and all! ;)
The NES was the only console we owned during the 8 bit generation, although I did get the chance to play the Sega Master System a few times (a friend owned one, although he wasn't nearly as in to video games as I was, and so we played way more ministick hockey than we did Sega Master System games, much to my chagrin). It had a few good/great games, technical superiority in relation to the NES (as is aways the case with Nintendo and eir competition it seems), some interesting novelties to boast (3D games via the cheesy 3D glasses you remember from the old days, and a built in secret game played right from the systems' BIOS) but the NES was still king, boasting a humongous game library and terribly dominant market control.
And then 1989 rolled around and the 16 bit generation was off to a start, with the release of the Sega Genesis, followed by the TurboGrafx-16 shortly thereafter (the SNES released 2 years later).

My brother and I were still playing the NES religiously when the 16 bit generation began. We were interested in jumping onboard, although I don't recall this being of pressing concern, since were were still enamoured with our NES. Interest level aside, we weren't able to join the party, as my father had previously sworn that we were never getting another video game system purchased for us by them again (a promise that he eventually broke, but not until over a decade later). And, being the jobless, prepubescent kids we were, that was our only option. The launches of the SNES and Genesis passed us by. The 16 bit generation may have been rolling along, but we were still living in 8 bit land. Small, less colourful sprites, tinier gameworlds and less expansive, worse sounding soundtracks ruled the roost in our house.

Then, one day a few years into the 16 bit video game generation, my brother and I were in some store with our parents, and the particular store in which we found ourselves was being closed down. Consequently, everything in the store was on clearance. We made our way to the electronics department at some point, and that's when we saw them:

Sega Genesis consoles and games, all on clearance. Massive clearance.

The prices were too good to be true. I cannot recall specifics, but I do know that my brother and I were able to acquire, on that day, by pooling together some gift money that we'd had with us (from some holiday or another), oh, just a few thi-


The cake was a lie.

The supermodels were a lie.

The doctorates were a lie.

The transition, however,

to sixteen bits from eight,

I can most honestly say,

was absolutely not fabricated,

not by accident nor on purpose,

nor by the inclinations of

neither man nor tortoise.

My brother and I were now (finally) going to be joining the ranks of those playing in glorious 16bit. Sure, we were a few years behind, but we just joined in a BIG WAY!! 


See you in part 3.


  1. I really loved the humor at the beginning of this. Especially since it seems a stark contrast to my gaming experience. I remember being made fun of for playing video games back in the day. It was just another nerdy thing I did like read comic books and do well in school.

    It is funny how things have changed and all of the things that got me picked on have come full circle to cool.

    Anyways back on topic, the original Nintendo system was where most of my gaming memories with the company come from. I remember most of the games you mention here including Excitebike. Only I always made the tracks for my brother. It has always been the way we play things like that since my brother has never had the mindset to create. He can destroy me in any racing game though. The genre just comes to him so naturally.

    Damn that sounds like you guys got a hell of a deal. If I recall correctly I got my first Genesis from a friend.

  2. I don't know why.. But the white text on a black background does something weird to my eyes and makes it "hard" to read. I know I have no right to ask, but could you change the background to white and the text o black? It'll do wonders for my already short-sighted eyes.

    I can't believe you lied! Just imaging two young Canadian brothers becoming prominent figures of promiscuity with models and drunken nights for dominating the Original Super Mario Brothers all NOT being true.. It's all too much for my brain to handle..

    But FUCK.. Getting fourteen games with your transition into the next generation? That sort of stuff is what DREAMS are made of you lucky bloke!

  3. I've tried to change it in the pat bro, and it creates a HUGE problem due to the usage of alternate colours in previous blog posts. Much of it is rendered unseeable and then I have to go in and edit over 100 posts.

    Just not worth it.

    Tx for commenting guys. Appreciated, as always :)


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