|Super This Game is So Fucking Cool 3.|
After quickly spamming the start button Mario materialized on the world map. Once again, I was introduced to an entirely new concept in video games and I loved it. On top of being able to play through the pinnacle of side-scrolling platform action, there was now a world map in which I could see all of this taking place. I felt like I was truly part of the world now. After playing the first Mario Bros., I already had a fairly good idea of what I would be up against and what my objective was - and now that I was older, I was beginning to truly appreciate it and become obsessed with the story.
The game was magical. The ability to fly truly broke the barriers that had limited the other games I had played and opened up the world even more. I would spend my days flying around the open air searching for secret areas and items to aid me on my journey. I ate, drank and breathed Super Mario 3.
|This image will be imprinted on my mind forever.|
|Water World - not to be confused with the movie starring Kevin Costner.|
|Shooting him in the face with a fire flower is way too much fun.|
|Turn 17: sucked into sewer by Luigi again...|
I finally took the dive. I warped all the way to World 8, bypassing several worlds to go straight to the end. It was a ravaged land, torn by the conquest of King Koopa. I would have to face an entire army of tanks, boats, air ships, underground labyrinths, dark lands and - at the end of it all - Koopa's Castle. This world tested all of my skills as a gamer and I failed many times trying to make it to the end, but one day I finally made it. I braved dark, murky waters, flying cannon balls and exploding bombs, flying platforms moving at subsonic speeds, giants, and several smaller bosses and had made it through victoriously.
|This place scared the shit out of me.|
Then, without warning, he lunged at me - throwing himself into the air and quickly crashing down on the bridge beside me as I dove out of the way. The bridge began to break under his weight. That was it... I had to wait for him to jump again so he would break through to to endless expanse below. I dodged more incoming fireballs, waiting for him to make his move. Finally he jumped, coming crashing down on top of me. It hurt, but luckily I had eaten a mushroom beforehand and was good to go, despite my reduced stature. More fireballs and a jump. I moved away as he fit squarely into the hole he had made before, destroying even more of the bridge presumably separating me from the princess.
|No axe this time... he kills his own fat ass.|
Inside, to my expectation and relief was Princess Toadstool herself. I had done it. Once again I had defeated all of King Koopa's minions throughout the long span of the Mushroom Kingdom and had saved its ruler. But what's this? A familiar and unwelcome message appeared at the top of my screen as she gave thanks for my heroic rescue.
|Do you have any idea what I've just been through?!|
|Inside the golden cartridge, a wonderful thing was present.|
|How ironic... this time, you start practically on top of her. What were you doing in here before anyway?|
|Oh come on! I was only in those trees for 2 seconds!|
|A common harlot. She's got the stance and everything.|
|There's a lot of these giddy assholes in here.|
|It was rough at first, but once I got it down it was time to rape this horse.|
The rest of the experience was a mixture of exciting adventure and frustrating defeat. The game was hard... even by today's standards. I've only seen the final boss in videos since the road to him is hard as hell to travel down. I've only made it to the actual temple once and I had failed to lower the barrier protecting it so I was forced to go back and promptly died on the road.
|On my way to retrieve a "P bag". I really hope there's money in there...|
But this list wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention one more game that made the final critical impact on my young gaming life...
This is a game I wasn't introduced to until a few years later. The SNES was out, but I didn't own one so this game helped hold me over in the meantime.
|This screen would be seen over and over after I learned about the famous "Konami Code"|
|Die! Die! DIE!|
|All this thing needs is a smaller mouth inside its big mouth and Ridley Scott could sue.|
|Automatic weaponry FTW!|
|An enemy base mid-wreckage.|
When he was killed, exploding in the mandatory ball of fire common to enemies in the NES days, we continued on into the next enemy fortress. I had earned a few extra lives in the endeavor so he came back in and we went to work wreaking havoc on the enemy defenses, using the upgrades weaponry we had recovered from the "eagle boxes" and "balloons" that appear throughout the levels. Once we destroyed the "super computer" at the end of the stage we were off to face the final and most difficult challenge yet. A test of skill and will.
After destroying another large alien creature that looked identical to the aliens in Alien I continued forward to find an oddly familiar sight. I would soon discover that the mastermind behind this entire operation was just that; literally a mind.
|Face-huggers and Mother Brain. This game ripped off so much in a good way.|
This brings us to the end of my NES days as I remember them. There were a lot of other awesome games I played, but none that had as big an impact as those listed had on me. I also enjoyed Super Mario Bros. 2, Rad Gravity, Little Nemo and classics like Tetris and Dr. Mario, but these are the games I will always remember because of the way they made me feel and the ideas they inspired. I was a great time in my life that I'll never forget... but it was only the beginning. With the Super Nintendo released, I was ill-prepared for the fresh wave of 16-bit games that were about to completely redefine gaming as I knew it...
|Coming Soon: The experience of a lifetime in another grey box on top of your TV.|