Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top 20 NES Super Mario Moments: Number 3

3: Don't Blink, Don't Look Down

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.

I wrote that up a couple of years ago when I was going through my list of favorite video game moments. This one was number 27, which seems just about right. We so badly wanted to beat this level and it just didn't seem possible to do so. We had no problem getting here - whistles made that almost trivial. For some reason that I don't seem to recall, we always used our P-Wings elsewhere, which (in one of this level's - and indeed, this' game's - biggest failings) would have rendered this level stupidly easy.

Oh yeah. Big fuckin' hero flying over the entire level.
This level is short. It doesn't seem nearly short enough when you're a kid, but that's most because the overly quick forced scrolling of the level. It's the gimmick to end all gimmicks. Without the forced scrolling, this level's a cakewalk. If the level scrolled at the speed of, say, the first forced scrolling level in world 1, this level's still very easy. Even once you put everything together, you've still got a level that wouldn't be difficult enough to be a training level on Super Meat Boy.

But to my brother and I? This level was Everest (of course, we were wrong... we didn't find out about that until AFTER we beat this, though...) Conquering it was monumental, and I still have warm, nostalgic feelings about that week we spent waking up early in the hopes of beating...

...this guy

I know he seems anticlimactic now, but we did die to him once that week. I don't know if I've ever been so pissed at a video game.

1 comment: