It would be a few decades since I last sat semi–circle with my siblings and friends in front of the family TV. No not an LCD or Plasma, a 26inch with wood panelling. We were tethered by Bat-shaped hand held controllers, we were puppeteers for an Italian plumber in red overalls and his brother Luigi in green, the Super Mario Brothers.
Apparently Mario was trying to find his girlfriend – a blond, a bit of a princess really. He called her Peach. She was last seen in the arms of a seriously bad dude–chicks love a bad boy, that hasn’t changed. So we helped Mario navigate through drainpipes, magic mushrooms and collect gold coins. There are so many puns in that last sentence that I’m not even going to go there.
I’m pretty sure it was the Nintendo 64 we started with. It did have a predecessor, the Classic Nintendo console, but all I remember prior to our 64 was the Commodore 64 . And before that it was Dungeons and Dragon on the Atari , but I think that’s going a little too far back.
Welcome to the 90’s and the arrival of Super Nintendo. It was harder to get a game at this point as boys ruled and girls were only allowed to watch–most of the time. There were now four controllers and the game of choice was Mario Kart, still Mario and the gang, but we drove them around in funky little cars. Sounds cute I know, but it got quite personal at times and could turn into a blood bath (not literally it was G rated game).
I always played Yoshi the Green dragon character, he had a cute fist pump and shouted ‘woo hoo’ when he passed another car. When competing in a Grand Prix my concentration was paramount and this was evident from by my tongue being firmly thrust into the corner of my mouth. I moved my body and swung my arms with every corner. This irritated and amused my brother. ‘You only need to use your thumbs not your whole body,’ he would say. Well Jokes on him! Cause now, in 2012, we have Nintendo Wii and movement is essential!
So all my practice with moving my body with the control has paid off. The new Nintendo Wii with motion sensor controls means I can insert the magic wand into a steering wheel casing and drive like a pro. Mix that with a large plasma TV and a few friends and it’s quite addictive. Being below a .05 blood alcohol level helps but not a requirement, a glass or two of vino brings the childhood game back, more fun than ever.
I’m still racing as Yoshi, but now he comes with a pimped-up ride. There a few more mystery box prizes and mesmerising graphics creating new worlds and courses. It wasn’t just Mario that seduced me back to the Nintendo. The new Legends of Zelda Skyward Sword is defiantly worth checking out. Probably one if the best G-rated adventure games on the market. The graphics are like watercolour paintings and on a large TV flying through the air can feel extremely dreamlike and surreal. Just watch out when playing, like me if you get a bit excited and use a more theatrical way of movement the remote and Nunchuc can fly out of your hands and cause some light injuries.
Gamers and non Gamers alike, if you’re like me and spent your school years playing Nintendo you won’t be disappointed when taking a trip down memory lane.
Next week: when did Connect-4 become a double-panel woven challenge?