For years people have placed arbitrary letters to generations under the assumption they all share a common bond. For me that generation is X and anyone seeing this letter often pictures the following…
They picture the fashion, music, and all the incredible influences we were exposed to during the formative years of our generation. They picture the grunge scene, Kurt Cobain, and an army of long haired, plaid soldiers marching along with acoustic guitars. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kurt Cobain, but I don’t think he is what defines our generation. Despite MTV, Ronald Reagan, Kurt Cobain, and the rise of the digital era through the personal computer, one influence reigns supreme above all others. That influence was Nintendo.
Nintendo practically raised me. Nintendo travelled with me through college and some of the greatest experiences of my life were coupled with or controlled by Nintendo.
The day I wet my pants and learned about women’s liberation
My first extremely embarrassing experience happened while enjoying the newly released Super Mario Brothers 2. I was completely engrossed in the game until someone blurted out a joke resulting in the most tragic and hilarious moment of my life. The portions of my brain controlling laughter completely overpowered the portions of my brain reserved for bladder control and I proceeded to urinate all over my freshly pressed pants. I can’t remember the joke or even who said it, but I do remember one thing…
Super Mario Brothers 2 was awesome!
Note: picture source and a thorough review for the game can be accessed by clicking directly on it.
You have got to respect something so powerful it swallows pants urination whole. I don’t remember the friend who invited me. I don’t even remember the joke. I remember it revolving around bodily fluids or gaseous emissions of some sort like most nine year old jokes and ending with my immediate dismissal from the party as the joke landed itself all over my freshly pressed pants. I was pissed.
Not because of the acidic substance dribbling down my thighs as I trudged my way back home, but mostly because I missed out on the single greatest mario game in existence. Super Mario brothers 2 was awesome! You could play as both Toad and Princess Peach, characters remaining absent from every other successive game in the Mario franchise. It was a pivotal moment in Mario based women’s rights.
In every other Mario game, Princess Peach is simply a damsel in distress floundering around helplessly in Bowsers castle. In Super Mario Brothers 2 she was the one doing the distressing as she tossed turnips at overly aggressive anthropomorphic mushrooms. Consider she did all this without ripping her dress or dropping her tiara and you can see just how much of a badass she really was.
Since this time I’ve played every Mario game in existence. I can’t speak to the psychological effects of engrossing myself for hours in a game featuring vegetables as implements of destruction, but consider the total and complete lack of vegetables consumed in my diet today and make all inferences from there.
Battletoads taught me how to curse like a man and cry like a little girl
I learned my first curse words from the game Battletoads. Anyone exposed to the rage fest accompanying this wart addled trio knows the extreme frustration surrounding every second of it. Probably the single greatest stream of curse words emanated from a single stage.
The above third level of the game, ‘The Turbo Tunnel’ was a hellacious exercise in frustration, but with enough training I made my way to the next stage where I was immediately destroyed. To this day the game remains my single greatest feat of failure.
A Boy and his blob taught me the importance of interspecies relations
Sometimes complicated situations require the utilitarian use of sentient gelatinous ooze.
I learned about fair fighting from the basketball game Arch Rivals
I could speak for hours about the sportsmanship lessons learned from the game Arch Rivals, but why do that when ice skating sports legend Tanya Harding and Theodore Roosevelt have already done it for me.
“Walk softly and carry a big stick” – Tanya Harding and that Roosevelt guy.
The title Arch Rivals described the game perfectly. The game was part basketball and part ultimate fighting and I can’t think of any other game so effortlessly combining these two forces.
Nintendo made me nippon.
Nippon- transliteration of a Japanese word for Japan.
Those of you who have read my older post I think I’m turning Japanese know my love for all things Japan. In America I was a social troglodyte languishing at the bottom of the cesspool of our high school, but I was convinced of unsubstantiated coolness overseas. Why, because everything I did inland and indoors (I didn’t go outside much) was distinctly Japanese. I played Chronotrigger, The Secret of Mana, and every other RPG I could get my hands on and these eventually introduced me to the movie Akira and all other things Japanese. If it wasn’t for Nintendo I wouldn’t be nippon.
In college I was the deckhand for the captain of the Nintendo pirates
College is a horrific culture shock for most kids and in the fleeting seconds remaining between working, studying, and drinking, true unwinding begins. Freshman year I found myself at the dork dorm in college which was perfect, because I was a huge dork. Here me and fellow dorkonians engaged in a ring of piracy the world has yet to witness.
Napster had just been released, but music piracy paled in comparison to the eight bit digital piracy running rampant throughout our campus. A neighbor of mine majoring in computer science and minoring in FBIs most wanted for hacking and internet piracy introduced me to my first NES emulator. Emulators are computer programs designed to ’emulate’ the Nintendo experience on your computer screen for the sole price of nothing or many thousands of dollars of damages and potential jail time for copyright infringement and a host of brand new viruses you never knew existed.
These viruses were the worst part about the entire situation as most of us had relationships only with our computers, meaning viruses in trojan horses were far more serious than viruses from expired trojan condoms. Based upon the first twenty three years of my existence, it’s a miracle I found the incredibly beautiful and amazing woman I now call my wife.
The aforementioned friend who introduced me to the whole experience used so much of our college’s bandwidth that he caught the eye of not only our student body government, but also the United States government. Napster died and so did his dreams for college. I no longer engage in any of these activities, but they did get me through that first lonely year at the university.
Goldeneye sat me down with the cool kids in college
One year following the dork dorm I had cleaned up my digital act and was enjoying the wonders of Nintendo through the ancient college tradition of trash talking around Goldeneye. The game Goldeneye was trending like mad and skills at this game could garner you some actual street cred around the dorms as digital killing sprees drew friends closer together. Finally I was a winner. I did this by being cheap.
Anyone playing Goldeneye knows about the benefits of the obscurely unpopular character Oddjob. This guy was adorably small and impossibly difficult to hit as bullets safely slid past him and onto every other surface of the game. He was cheap and so was the memorization of every level in the game. I did both.
Nintendo strengthened my marriage and brought me closer to all my wife’s friends
Getting to know your wife’s friends is an important milestone in any marriage. The first time I met one of her friends from Seattle, I glanced over at the Wii console seated next to their television and we might as well have been platonic soul mates.
Me: Is that a Nintendo Wii.
New friend: Why yes, yes that is.
Me: Is that Super Mario Brothers Wii?
New best friend: Why yes, it certainly is.
Me: Can I play too?
New soul mate: Yes, let me get the second controller.
…Cue lifelong soul friendship…
Another high school friend of my wife’s also had a Wii and the game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. This was an instant win for our friendship and a mutual commiseration over the loss of our old Nintendo consoles was the glue cementing that win together forever. We Gen X’s may have music, television, and a shared history, but nothing bonds us together quite like Nintendo.
What do you guys think. Do you have Nintendo stories you’re willing to share with the world wide web? Show some Nintendo love and leave a comment describing it below.