August 21, 2011

My Tryst with Mario!

Here i am..Rock you like a Hurricane..Here i am..Rock you like a..oh hi there!! I was just listening to one of the all time great rock anthems! ..You know the 80's is one of the greatest decades that mankind has seen and experienced! (including my birth in 1989!) It was the decade that ushered in a series of global events,iconic figures in music, politics, film and sport, and most of all - Technology. It was the age of computers, television, VHS, boomboxes and more relevantly - Video Gaming baby!! 

Video Gaming took the world by storm and Japan seemed to be the one of the best in Video Game development! Nintendo, Capcom and Namco especially were churning out games that would be played over the next two decades ! Well of course in India, we had the misfortune of being exposed to these gadgets only almost 15 years after its release! I will never forget the day when i feasted my eyes on the legendary Fourth Generation Nintendo Gaming Console (16 bit version). It was a thing of beauty, but alas, i had to settle for a cheaper copy of the console after weeks of pleading my parents! (this was back in 1999-2000)

And ofcourse ROM cartridges were needed to play and being a first time gamer i was pretty confused about which games to buy as i had no clue about the popular games at that time! In Pondy Bazaar, T.Nagar, is every kid's gaming heaven - Maya's Plaza. At that time, games were sold not individually but as a package with a lot of other games in the same ROM cartridge. 64 in One, 3 in One, 256 in One ; these were some of the ROM cartridges available at that time! So i chose the 64 in One (paid around Rs.400) , checked to see if it worked or not at the shop, and i returned home as fast as i could for the official console unpacking ceremony.

After unpacking and figuring out the connections in my old BPL TV, i finally switched on the power, inserted the ROM Cartridge and i just stood there. What i saw on the screen is etched in my memory even today. The plethora of 8 bit characters on the main screen coupled with the mono electronic music was an absolute delight! The feel of the controller was so amazing that i pressed the arrow buttons a hundred times before settling down! 

Good Ol' days of the Cartridges
And then it happened. I discovered the greatest game of all time, Game no.2 on the screen; the game that would forever make me want for more! the game that every gamer should and must have played -

The Super Mario Bros.  !!!!

On entering the game, i was welcomed by the screen shown above and what came next was the best part.

The Central Characters in the game are Mario & Luigi, Italian American plumbers living in the Mushroom Kingdom, the fearsome and evil Bowser - Mario's archnemesis and ofcourse the beautiful Princess Peach. The plot of the game is quite simple - Evil Bowser wants to takeover the Mushroom Kingdom and kidnaps Princess Peach. Mario & Luigi take it on themselves to save Princess Peach and Mushroom Kingdom. For this, they have to pass through eight worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom and defeat King Bowser at the eighth level!
Pretty exciting right?? :)

As days passed by, i was drawn more and more into the world of Mario, fascinated by the awesome gameplay, by its atmospheric detailing, the legendary theme music ringing in my ears even when i slept! Millions of people over the world can never forget the transformation of Mario in Super Mario whenever he eats the "Super Mushroom", the " "Flower" that gives Mario the power to shoot fireballs or the many times when that "One up Mushroom" was needed when Mario's life was short!! Level One of Super Mario Bros. can be played over and over again especially with that music going in the background! (Play Below!!)

It used to be so much fun whenever i stomped on the turtles and made them turn over their shells and when i collected as many coins as i could in the bonus levels when Mario went down the green pipe! And oh! the tension when the timer ticks down to the last few seconds and you know you have to make Mario run faster to the finish point in each level! Was that fun or wat!?! I still remember the many times iv tried to reach the top of the flag pole at the end of each level by making Mario run as fast as possible and and jump over the last set of steps so that i could get the maximum points! .. and who could not want to break the thousands of bricks in the Mushroom Kingdom and particularly Mario doing a Superman Stance every time he jumps!

Up Up and Away!
Mushroom Time!
You so want to buy that old 8 bit video game console don't you? :) Back when i was in 9th grade, i remember playing in the Two Player Mode with my baby sister and every time i lost a life in the game, i would take a life from her (She played Luigi btw) ! And the fight after that was even more hilarious!.. (evil aren't i?)

In one way, Mario and his world changed me. It showed me a whole new universe that i did not know existed ever before..If i were to calculate the total hours of my life that i spent playing Mario, it would roughly work out to over 1300 hours!!!  There are others who have clocked more than that :) You may think we are crazy, but we are not! Our sole aim was to save Princess Peach from the clutches of King Bowser! Period.

But as the old saying goes, all good things had to come to an video console bombed 2 years later and i have never played Mario since then...

The truth is..Mario Bros. was not just a game. It was an essential part of my life, of everybody's lives. Mario made everyone happy and was the hero anybody wanted to be.!

There will definitely come a time, when i would tell my children and their children that once upon a time, there used to be a game called Mario. And how he changed my life forever. This was my tryst with the great Mario and soon it would be theirs.

Until next time...Cheerio!

P.S - Do let me know if you still have the old video game console with the Super Mario Bros. game :)


Ashwin said...

Ahh.. the good old days of Mario(and contra). Topping post. Keep it coming.

Jayanth said...

tx da! contra was so awesome

Gaurav said...

awsum post da!! nostalgia!! love the old pics..
miss those days.. mario and also contra, yes! pacman.. bomber man!
u forgot to mention that mario apart from making r lives fun and interesting, also changed the gaming world.. the big daddy of all games to come..

Jayanth said...

haha! yea bomber man! what a game..!

Viji said...

Oh i loved the game too :) .. Your writing is indeed a manifestation of your love for the game :) Keep writing