Posted on Thursday, December 20 2007 @ 17:32:33 PST
I was recently playing Super Mario Galaxy at a Gamestop the other day, since I don't yet have the game for myself. Playing it was really fun. I would have kept playing it all day if it wasn't for my conscience kicking in telling me to let other people play it too. Well that, and I needed to sit down because my feet were killing me for standing in one place for so long.
But that gripping feeling of wanting to sit around and play Mario all day really got something going in me. It reminded me of my childhood. Reminded me of a place in time when video games were new to me. You all know that feeling. You know it as nostalgia.
When I was a little kid, I would play on my SNES with my Dad all the time. Super Mario World, all three Donkey Kong Country games... I never quite got the hang of Doom, but only because I wasn't used to the concept of the First Person Shooter, and I sucked at the game. I watched my Dad play all day. My favorite weapon to watch was the chainsaw. Not for all the blood and gore, but because my Dad owned a chainsaw and I thought it was cool. Just imagine this seven year old saying "Use the chainsaw, Daddy! Use the chainsaw!". Take that, Jack.
But back to Mario. Playing Super Mario Galaxy reminded me a lot of when I'd play Super Mario World with my dad. It was the first console game I remember playing. Games before that were on the Gameboy, when I'd just mindlessly fill up the screen in Tetris and Dr. Mario, or not knowing what the hell was going on in Mysterium, some first-person dungeon-crawler pseudo-RPG. I think I lost the old cartridge somewhere.
And from looking back to Super Mario World, I looked back to the rest of my childhood in gaming. You could always find me playing a video game. One reason I always played was because they were fun, and for a kid like me, it was amazing seeing this thing that lets you tell your TV what the characters should do. Another reason was because I was what you'd call 'the weird kid' at school, and almost nobody ever wanted to play with me, but instead make fun of me or even just totally ignore me. I had no one to talk to most of the time, and I never got to have any friends over at my house very often. So in a way you could say that I played video games to escape. The characters in the games were my friends. Mario and Luigi, Donkey and Diddy, Joe and Mac, the list goes on.
Donkey Kong Country and its sequels were great because they had more of a cooperative experience than Super Mario World. When a different character was needed, my Dad and I was take turns without even having to exit the level. In DKC 2 and 3, I was always Dixie because my Dad never got the hang of gliding with her hair. I didn't mind, gliding was cool.
Starfox blew my mind, because I had never played a 3-D video game before.
I almost tear up when I look back in nostalgia to the years back then when I could do all that. In the N64 days, my Dad played less games with me. We both loved deathmatch in Goldeneye and racing in Diddy Kong Racing, but more and more one-player-only games started coming out. I was introduced to Zelda for the first time with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Link became my new best friend in my video gaming fantasy world. It was also shortly after my discovery of Zelda that I found Game Revolution, and have been an avid fan of the site ever since. Either late 1998 or early 1999, either way I've been here a long time.
The last game I remember playing with my Dad was Vs. mode in Dr. Mario 64. It was really fun, and by then I actually knew how to play.
But my Dad died in 2003. He died of a heart attack. A pain so hard not even video games could cheer me up (that was a job for Monty Python. Never underestimate the power of cross-dressing lumberjacks and dead parrots). He was gone, and the days of playing video games with my Dad like old times were gone with him.
Of course, I still play video games today. I don't play them so much to escape. Today I keep playing because they're fun. I guess I could say I'm also trying to find a game that challenges me. I tend to beat most of the games I play fairly quickly today.
Nostalgia can be a great thing. I look back to my childhood, and think of all the fun I had, my adventures through Dinosaur Land, DK Island, the depths of outer space, any place you could imagine. Sometimes I really miss those days. Especially the days when I'd be playing with my Dad. You all know, or at least many of you know, how I feel, each to different extents depending on how you as an individual grew up with video games. It's a great feeling, isn't it?