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Most Important Games Ever (3 and 4): Thank You Mario, But...

[See first in this series here]

Yesterday I mentioned something about doing a post on life altering experiences, in addition to doing the important video games thing and I realized that in a way, the two can be done at the same time.

I'm saving the bad life altering experiences for another time. For now, let's talk about how a dragon that looked like a duck, a plumber and a princess changed my life.

char_yorgle.gifMy favorite console video game ever is Atari's Adventure. It was simplistic and crude, but it thrilled me nonetheless. The thrill of slaying the dragon/duck, searching for keys, opening doors, finding the chalice - I had never played anything like it before. It had all the makings of one of those fairy tale adventures I loved so much when I was young. Well, minus the prince and the knights, but I had a good imagination. The best thing about the game was finding the Easter egg.

Select game 2 or 3 and enter the maze in the Black Castle. Move screen to the left of the first maze screen. At the bottom center of this room is a closed cubicle. Use the bridge to enter that area and collect the "dot". Carry this item to the screen just above the catacombs, located one screen down and to the right of the Gold Castle. Note: The "dot" is the same color as the ground outside, so care must be taken not to lose it in transit. Drop the "dot" here, and bring two other items onto the same screen. Move through the line on the right side of the screen to view the programmer credits.

There were also little quirks like different ways to get around the bat or make it so the dragon can't eat you. And really, was there anything more terrifying than the noise the game made when that dragon tried to chomp down on you?

I dreamed about Adventure. I played it in my head. And I thought how cool it would be if they would expand the game because I wanted more. More dragons to slay, more treasure to find, more quirks to discover.

Enter Nintendo. I clearly recall sitting in my living room one night with my sister Lisa, watching the Olympics. We saw a commercial for the Nintendo and made up our minds right there that we had to have one. An hour later, we were at the Video Vault (conveniently located in the lobby of Modell's, which was then a giant department store and not a sporting goods store*) buying ourselves a Nintendo.

I don't remember how long we played for. I know our eyes probably glazed over at some point and thumbs were aching and our asses had gone numb, but we were hooked.

I described Super Mario Bros. as Adventure times infinity. It had all the magic of Adventure - the quest, the hero, the villians, the scrolling from screen to screen as you tried to find your way around. But it was so much more. It was that expansion I was looking for. More worlds. More hidden features. More suprises. You never knew what would happen next. Would this brick bring a star or a mushroom? What will happen if I crouch down on this pipe? You can go up into the clouds!! Every time you played, there was something else to find, another clever trick or hidden surprise.

And the graphics! No more was I running from a pixelated dragon! Everything was so well defined. The colors were plentiful, the characters had real shapes..this is the stuff I had been dreaming of!

And now we get to the real reason why SMB is one of the most important games of all time: "Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!" thing? That was awesome. That, my friends, is how you learn coping skills. That's how you learn to handle disappointment. Put your kids in front of Super Mario Brothers and let them play their little hearts out until they think they won, and then those lowly mushroom retainers appear with the bad news and your kids will have learned one of life's greatest lessons. Disappointment sucks, but you must go on! I taught my kids how to play SMB at an young age just so I could let them know early on in life what if feels like to have the rug pulled out from under you. It comes in handy later. "I know you completed the entire project on time and you did a great job, but I think I want you to write me a ten page essay, too." THANK YOU MARIO! BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!

You just can't beat a video game that's not only fun to play, but gives you a harsh dose of the realities of life to boot.

I still have so much love for the 2D side scroll games. In fact, I prefer them over today's 3D games that tend to be more about art than gameplay. I'm more interested in finding secret rooms and hidden weapons than I am looking at my heroine's perfectly formed tits.

And that's probably my next gaming post, so I'll stop there.

*I worked at both places at various times


I got that Atari-games-packed-in-a-joystick thing, and my 4-year-old twin sons loved Adventure (shouts of excitement when the dragon comes into view).

Adventure was great, and the ducks were actually pretty scary!

One trick I think I managed to pull off once or twice, if memory serves, is killing a dragon after being eaten. You can still move around a little bit in the dragon's belly, and if you're close (and maybe if the bat picked up the dragon and flew near it) you can grab the sword, then pull it toward you and kill the dragon!

Though if memory serves, you then usually wound up trapped under the dead dragon's body, unless there are lots of items in the room, which makes dragon bodies flicker (and enables you to walk through them.)

Come on Fhqwhgads
I see you jockin' me
Tryin' to play like
You know me...

Is the Internet broken? This is the second incoherent post I've seen in a span of a few minutes.

Or I should say comment.

My point exactly... excellent post about SMB. Especially like "Adventure times Infinity"...

Even after all these years... after beating the game countless times... I can still never quite get the 100 free man thing with the turtle shell jumping.

There's still more to learn, it would seem.

Zoloft's comment appears to be spam-like, considering the email address.

If you love old games, seriously, I spent four hours d/ling from www.abandonia.com. It's teh_awesome... all sorts of old Sierra adventure games.

Zoloft's comment is neither incoherent nor spam. The connection to the post is actually pretty clear, provided, of course, that you are familiar with Strong Bad.

sigh Fhqwhgads definition:

That reminds me, I ought to buy the Strongbad CD...

"Somebody get that freakin' duck away from me!"

But, seriously, man, what about... Zelda?

"Even though you did file your expense reports correctly - getting all three required signatures, preapproval from your boss, his boss and accounting, and the fact that you made the company ten times the actual cost of your trip - we won't be covering your travel costs. In other words, THANK YOU MARIO! BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE!"

You're right Michele, it works on so many levels.

That should be your next comment game Michele. Come up with the best true scenario that TYM!BOPIIAC! works for.

Don't worry, Zoloft. I got it.

I think Mario was the first video game I ever played...My parents refused to let us get a gaming console until I was in school, and then one of my teachers thought it would help my boredom if there was something to stimulate me. Though I was never very good at it...I need to go buy myself an NES and SMB/Duck Hunt cartridge. Even though the console I had is long gone (stupid dust bunnies), I actually still have the controllers and the weird orange gun =)

I loved Mario Bros. And you'd be surprised how many situations "Thank you, but your princess is in another castle" fits. People tend to look at you a little strange when you say it though.

This post actually made me think to play the game again (on the SNES though, NES is still boxed up). Man the memories, although I don't remember being able to scroll the screen before...

"I still have so much love for the 1D side scroll games."

Don't you mean 2D? Length and width... x axis and y axis...

I swear to Mario that said 2d when I posted it... I even had a link to a page abotu 2D games there. Hmm.

About a decade or so ago, someone actually did expand Adventure.

A guy named Craig Pell made a fairly decent DOS port of Adventure (entitled "Indenture"), that included a couple of bonus levels that had about 10 times the original number of rooms, as well as extra objects and baddies.

You can still get it here:


This page actually has a number of versions of the original Adventure:


God and Nolan Bushnell bless you, Michelle.

Damn kids nowdays don't know how bad they have it--they never got to play "Adventure." Much less "Yar's Revenge."