How My Dad Conquered Super Mario
Easton video game contest brings back memories for Patch editor.
Early one morning in the winter of 1987, my dad woke us up for an important family meeting.
With dawn still hours away, he informed us that -- after weeks of toil and frustration -- he'd conquered Super Mario Brothers.
This memory's been knocking around in my head for the past few days, ever since I wrote about the Mario Brothers tournament at Easton's Game Gallery.
The tournament challenges customers to see who can get the highest score on Vs. Super Mario Bros., an arcade version of the home video game Nintendo introduced in the 1980s.
Back then, we were less concerned with getting the high score and more concerned with just getting through the game. Between various enemies and obstacles -- what The Onion once termed "randomly placed swinging blades" -- it was very easy for Mario to die.
I've never actually finished the game. My younger brother did, eventually. But my dad -- who would have been a few months shy of his 38th birthday at the time -- got there first, after weeks and weeks of playing.
Over the years become a funny little family legend, how my dad conquered a kid's video game before either of his actual kids.
But it wasn't until I began writing this that I realized that the only reason this was true was BECAUSE he was an adult. He could play the game as long as he wanted.
Still, it's more than that. The game takes persitance. I don't know how many times I watched him try to make this giant jump in one of SMB's final levels. But eventually, he did it.
Of course he did it. He'd helped raise two kids, and had spent years teaching countless more. How could menacing turtles stack up to a classroom of seventh graders?
Incidentally, the Game Gallery tournament is still underway. As of this morning, the high score was just above 230,000, according to manager Matthew Ellis, who had held the previous record.
"Some kid came in...first time playing," Ellis said. "He just decimated it."