Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Super Mario Land

It might have been the retro warp levels in Super Meat Boy.  It might have been my listening to random Gershwin pieces(one piece of music in Super Mario Land 2 really reminds me of a song from An American in Paris).  Maybe it was just time to swim through some memories.  Whatever the reason, I dug out and started playing some Game Boy games tonight.

Not Game Boy Color games, or Advance games, or DS games.  Classic black and white (or yellowish and black) dot matrix Game Boy games.

I am a self-proclaimed gadget freak.  It occurred to me as I dug all of this stuff out that the Game Boy was the first electronic device I wanted.  Really wanted, besides perhaps the fictional computer book Penny had in Inspector Gadget.  I think I might have begged everyone I knew for one (Game Boy and/or computer book) at the time.

My parents gave me one for my birthday.  We were visiting my grandparents, who lived out in the country.  It came with Tetris, but I was given Super Mario Land as well.  My parents said they got it free with the Game Boy because it was an opened return, but I think perhaps they knew how boring it would be to have one game, yet wanted to cover up how much they actually spent.

I just looked and a Game Boy cost $90 on release.  That's surprising.  I remembered it being much more expensive, but perhaps my expectations have raised over time. $250 3DS, anybody?

I've had two Game Boy classics (the first one was dropped a few too many times, and eventually each successive drop meant another row across the screen would go blank), a Game Boy Pocket and a Game Boy Color.  By the time they got to the Game Boy Advanced I had kind of moved on to more adult toys, like the Tapwave Zodiac (a gaming PDA, brilliant design and easily my favorite gadget of all I've owned--really released 2 years after the Game Boy Advance).  The Zodiac ran Palm OS, and it had a few good emulators that could handle most Genesis, SNES, and Game Boy games.

Anyway, the point of this post is:  I don't believe I've ever beaten Super Mario Land.  I could get to the last boss, but I could never beat him.  Like Fry, I would have my older brother take care of him so I could see how the game ended.  I have all the music memorized, I know most if not all of the invisible bridges and secret elevators, but I'd never actually beaten the game.  Until tonight.

Funny thing is, I remembered the game being a long and painstaking process.  It's only 12 levels, that's it.  I beat it in about 45 minutes, give or take.  I beat the boss on my first try.  What was wrong with me back then?

Well, I decided to dig through my past a bit.  I've heard people say they don't want to go back to places they spent a lot of time in as kids, because it looks completely different.  Houses seem smaller, the smells are different, and most times that piece of your past just doesn't belong to you anymore.  I enjoyed this little regression.  I finally beat Super Mario Land.  I bet I could probably beat up my dad now too, if I wanted to.

No, probably not.  Still,


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