By Guest Writer Zach Miller
Back to the story at hand, though. Oddly, Andrew was the first among us to secure a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. We all stared in utter disbelief at Super Mario World. When that gigantic Bullet Bill flew past our heads in the very first stage, our vision of gaming was changed forever. The graphics, sound, and gameplay were simply incredible. Over the next year, we would beat that game. Soon, like Super Mario Bros. before it, SMW became more of an art, and we quickly figured out shortcuts and faster ways of beating the game. The Gingras boys had Super Mario Kart, which ate up all our time when at their house. We also loved Battletoads in Battlemaniacs and F-Zero. I remember trying my hand at Super Metroid but feeling confused and not liking it. My first Castlevania experience was had years before with Castlevania III, but my interest became more focused after playing Super Castlevania IV. Besides those games, though I honestly don’t remember much during this era, but I know my overall interest in gaming began to wane.
At least, until I turned fourteen (or fifteen?). Being fashionably late once again, I bought my SNES on the eve of the N64’s launch. I got a bundle pack from Costco, which included the SNES, two controllers, and a game called Donkey Kong Country, which from what I understood used the same technology to create its characters as was used in Jurassic Park. Upon seeing the game in action, I was suddenly a believer again. This was my own personal Super Mario World experience. I’d never played anything like this, and it continues to be one of my all-time favorite SNES games. I remember pouring over every nook and cranny of that game looking for every last secret. I would go to Walden Books (remember them?) and look at the player’s guide to find a few specific minigames. Around that time, Nintendo had the good foresight to re-release popular SNES titles like Super Mario Kart and A Link to the Past. Under the influence of Nintendo Power, I picked up both and loved them (and still love them). My SNES collection was never very big, because games cost a pretty penny (try $65 for Super Mario RPG), but I didn’t regret a single game, and I still play many of them.
I should not here that my friendship with the Gingras’ and Rodgers was beginning to wane. Not so much because we didn’t like each other, but because our families were growing apart. Everyone was busier, and we all had less time to get together. Gaming became a subject of conversation between my little brother and myself. He grew up watching me play games and learning to play alongside me. He and I now lead, for the most part, separate lives, but we always have gaming to talk about. My Game Boy evolved into a Game Boy Pocket, which in turn evolved into the Game Boy Color. I should note that my Game Boy game collection always outnumbered my console game collection—by a long shot. Game Boy games were just plain cheaper, and I could take them anywhere (and I took them everywhere). Does anyone remember a little pit-digging dinosaur named Boomer? I do, and it was one of my favorite old Game Boy games. When Nintendo Power began running articles (or should I say, propaganda) about the Nintendo 64, I was instantly hooked. E3 screenshots of the newest Zelda and Mario games were so good to be true! Thankfully, my N64 would come much quicker than my NES or SNES did.