Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 27

Today's video game moment comes to us from Super Mario Brothers 3. It's toward the end of the game, but there aren't really any spoilers in NES-era Mario platform games, so read on, anyway.

When I was 9, my parents, my brother and I house-sat for a couple who lived on a lakeside lot. This family happened to have a Nintendo with a copy of Super Mario Brother 3. My parents didn't want us to waste our time playing it when there was so much natural beauty to behold. They had a point, of course, but my brother and I still set our alarm clocks for absurdly early hours so that we could sneak down to play it. Every day for two weeks, we would get to the same exact place in the game.

This place.
The level came to be known as the 'fast' ship. In retrospect, it's really not all that difficult (or that fast, as long as you stay fairly calm, it's actually kind of a cakewalk), but to 9 year old me, it was pretty much the first time a video game had thrown anything resembling a difficult obstacle my way. I didn't have a Nintendo as a kid, and anytime we hung out at a friend's place, we'd play Mario until the friend got bored, and then we'd do something else. The fast ship was the first time that we'd run into something that took a few tries.

...and then I beat it. Shouts of pure, unadulterated joy woke my parents up.

The rest of world 8 (which only really starts after the fast ship) was crazy hard, and it kicked my ass, so we didn't end up beating SMB3 that week, but more than maybe any other moment in gaming, this one got me hooked.


  1. Good call. And, yeah, if you didn't mention how stupidly hard this game got after the fast ship, I was going to.

  2. Hey, a game I've played!

    When I was young, I always saved a Lakitu's Cloud so I could skip a level here (8-2?) because I hated it so much. Now, none of them are that big a deal (especially with the 90 lives I get on level 1-2).

    However, I had already played Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden plenty, so I had already seen a few obstacles I could never hope to get past.

  3. Yeah, 8-2 is still one of the harder levels of the 2D standard platforming era (I chose these words very specifically to exclude Ninja Gaiden, since I'm not even completely sure it's possible to finish that game).

    Then again, the last time I played through SMB3, I played clean (no "super bonus extra lives" sploits, and no whistles) and beat the final boss with 26 lives left.

  4. I beat Ninja Gaiden many, many times. I was obsessed with it.

  5. "I'm not even completely sure it's possible to finish [Ninja Gaiden]"

    That would, of course, be at mid-teens me that picked up Ninja Gaiden at a garage sale talking. I decided to give it an honest effort. After about 4 or 5 frustrating hours, I decided than an honest effort might be better placed in the hands of Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy VI.

  6. I must have logged serious hours on Ninja Gaiden, because I remember once getting to world 5 (the snow level) without dying once.

    I was also the first guy in my group of friends to beat Mega Man. My friends thought I was so cool. I took what I could get.

  7. I played Ninja Gaiden so often that one time I got to the final level without dying once. But I could never even get to Jaquio without a Game Genie. Even with a Game Genie, it took an act of God for me to get past Jacquio. Man, that might be the hardest boss ever.