Friday, December 10, 2010

The 4th Generation

The Best Gaming Memories Are Those I've Shared

My daughter Katie is a 4th generation video game player. I doubt many can say that. I've grown up playing video games, and the coolest part is that the whole time I've shared the hobby with my mom, my grandma, and many other family members. Yes, my grandma plays video games, and has for over 20 years! As you can see, my kids have both been into video games since they were tiny...


The First Epic Win

One of my greatest video game memories is the day my grandma and I decided to sit down and beat Super Mario Brothers 3 together.We had played it together before and had lots of fun with it, but we knew if we were going to sit down and play it all the way through we would need to get serious. Back in the day before "save games" it was a lot harder to finish a game, and for us it was a big production. We looked at the Nintendo Power Strategy Guide (this was before internet FAQ's, when you had to call a phone help line or check a magazine when you got stuck in a game) and then we wrote out a plan of attack- which levels to play and which to warp past, where we would get our warp whistles, how many "p-wings" and "skip clouds" and other power-ups we would need, how many lives to stock up on and where to get them... we thought of everything! We gathered up some junk food and dedicated an entire day to the game.

We played it for hours. We stopped for soda and candy, maybe dinner. Since I was a kid at the time, I really only remember the candy and the gaming. In the end we fought our way through World 8 and took on King Bowser himself. And yes, we rescued the princess. It was a glorious moment, a shared victory that we were both really proud of. I looked high and low and can't find the picture of our triumph to share right now, but we have an awesome shot somewhere of us both posed in front of the TV with "The End" up on the screen. It was an amazing gaming memory, and one I will never forget.

Onwards and Upwards

Since then I have shared many other great video gaming memories with the family. My mom and I had an ongoing Super Mario Kart rivalry in which we constantly tried to knock out all of each other's best times. Tetris and Dr. Mario were such phenomenons in our family that my grandpa even got in on it, and they ended up being games my grandma and grandpa played together daily for years. One younger cousin grew up falling asleep for his nap every day watching grandma play Mario 64. Wii Sports was a huge hit with the whole family, inspiring Wii purchases for almost everyone. Playing New Super Mario Brothers Wii last year with my mom, grandma, and daugther was no surprise. Two weeks ago at Katie's 5th birthday I found all four of us together again standing in a video arcade at her party screaming at a "Deal or No Deal" game as grandma won more prize tickets for the birthday girl.

Mom, Grandma, Katie, and Aunt Diane

Yes, we really are a family of gamers. I've loved every minute of it, and those moments in which we are all together playing, laughing, screaming at the TV, and talking about games has been a strong force in keeping me playing for all these years.

Challenge Link:

Read about another "Awesome Gaming Moment" at Cool Factor 5. Then come back and share yours here in the comments. Seriously!

1 comment:

  1. Let's get in the way WAY back machine, pick up a joystick and toggle on the old Atari VCS (2600).

    (atari from weiqi, baduk, igo, or go... greatest game of all time EVER! Deep Blue won't touch it. Hail Bushnell!)

    Remember Adventure?
    Well, we weren't quite to x86 stuff yet so for a kid who liked D&D this was simply the bee's knees of video experience.
    How do you know you've been playing Adventure too much?
    If you accidently find the magic dot and then find out what it does you've been playing too much Adventure.
    So we roll forward a few years and Atari comes out with this new "console" that even had this membrane "typewriter" right on top.
    There were even a couple of magazines out that had pages of code you could type out (on a membrane keyboard mind you) and then save to cassette tape.
    The counter on Dad's G.E. was MUCH better than the one on Atari's version so the G.E. took the place of Atari's "storage device".

    (My first 'hack')

    It was still a year or so before they came out with an actual disk drive.
    It was a 5.25" floppy.
    Took almost another year to afford a 2nd drive to save all the swapping but by then I could buy some software so the savings weren't adding up as quickly.
    The next brush with adventure was the first floppy I ever got.
    Scott Adams Adventureland.
    Picture a kid way WAY past bedtime the day after x-mass.
    He's gotten all the other treasures, all he needs to do is get past the bear that's sleeping on this ledge.
    He's tried , he's tried he's tried , he's tried EVERYTHING and nothing works.
    Finally, out of shear frustration he types .
    "The bear leaps up in surprise and tumbles off the ledge", or something like that.

    I later learned that the parser only read the first 4 letters and the more appropo works too.
    Either would be surprising to a sleeping bear is my guess.

    It'd be a couple of more years until the magical summer of '81.
    Things got graphical again both solo (Ultima I) and multiplayer with Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves which was a greatly expanded version of the Atari Adventure with shopkeepers and a dozen or so different "characters" to choose from.
    That one got the parental units involved and now my heads spinning from all the circles...

    Anyway, we had it rough.
    Walk to school.
    Up hill.
    Both ways.
    And when we got home our father would cut us into little pieces with a butchers knife and sing alleluya on our grave.
    We had it rough I tells ya.