Friday, April 21, 2017

Ben's Beginnings: First 2D Platformer

Welcome to the first part of the new blog series! Announced yesterday as "My Beginnings," and now known as "Ben's Beginnings" (because, why not?), this is a brand new series of posts that will have me taking a look back at each of my firsts in gaming. To start things off, I figured I'd go all the way back to where things first began, and talk about my very first 2D platformer... Super Mario Bros(/Duck Hunt).

Now this is a story I touched on before, but I figured it was worth going back to. When I was roughly one and a half years old, my uncle and cousin built an NES for me. At the time the SNES had just come out, and neither of them had any use for their old (apparently busted) consoles. So, the two of them got together, took their Nintendos apart, mixed and matched the working pieces together, and then gave it to me as a gift. Sure I was a bit young, but that didn't stop me from trying the thing out! I can still remember sitting in the corner of the house I lived in at the time as my dad connected it to the TV, and got Super Mario Bros working for me. In that moment I was instantly transported to a new world, and my gaming life began.

Super Mario Bros was a hard game for me back then. As young as I was, I can still remember myself thinking "this will take me forever to get to the end," but I was determined. Even as I died to the first Goomba, and fell down the first cliff, I didn't give up... At least not until I wanted to try something else that is -- but that's besides the point. From that day on Super Mario became a big part of who I was as a kid, and it was the source of a lot of fond early childhood memories. Although I was too young to actually finish it then, the game really left a lasting impression on me. I loved the characters, I loved the music, I loved the bright colors, and I loved just working my way through each stage. That moment when I finally reached the water level and my mom taught me how to swim, was simply perfect. While it may seem like a little trivial thing to anyone reading this now, back then to me it was amazing. Each stage was something new to experience, and finding the secrets hidden in some of the levels was also pretty great. The "flying fish," the "high trees," all of it -- just, flat out blew me away. If it wasn't for Mario, who knows if I would be the gamer I am today.

Although I did have many other games for the NES (thanks to my cousin), Mario continued to be my go to game, and as I got older I was able to progress further and further on my own, and I even started playing the other games in the series. Of course it wasn't until I was around 4-5 years old that Mario Bros 2, 3, and World entered the picture for me, but when I did play them for myself, they blew me away just as the first one had.

Despite Super Mario Bros being an old, "basic," 2D game, it is one I still return to from time to time. While there are hundreds of other games I'd prefer to play over it now days, it holds a special place in my heart, and that's something that will never change. I owe a lot to that simple little game, and although I may not be quite the Mario fan I once was, I still look forward to what the future holds for that plumber.