By amarriner 1 Comments
My two year old daughter was helping me attempt to get my basement into something that resembles clean over the weekend. Though help probably isn't the most accurate word to describe what she was doing. Fun though it was, we weren't really accomplishing the task at hand. There's an entertainment center down there which currently contains an XBOX, Playstation 2, Gamecube, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Super Nintend o, Sega Genesis, and an NES. She was fascinated by the controllers (she loves playing with the XBOX 360 controllers and Wii remotes upstairs) and so I thought in an attempt to hold that attention I'd fire up the NES and see what she could do. I snagged the copy of Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt (never did get that Power Pad back in the day) and popped it in. Ironically something that I thought would help me make better time cleaning up worked against me.
As anyone who has played an NES can attest to getting the games to work in the system (especially a now 20+ year old system) can be a challenge. It took several tries at blowing in the cart, blowing in the system, etc. but finally that glorious startup screen appeared. Now since she's only two (and a half I suppose) naturally she couldn't do much, but she was fascinated with making Mario jump. The next step, of course, was making him walk to the right which she liked, too, but then came the Goomba. I tried to tell her that she needed to jump over it, but she didn't quite get it yet. It also didn't help that the contacts on the controller were worn, old, and probably extremely dusty. Hell, I started playing myself and couldn't consistently jump or run. Even though she never quite jumped over the Goomba (yet--we'll try again!) I had a blast showing her that game and she genuinely seemed to be having fun.
It was such an amazing thing getting that game working in the NES again, seeing the old sprites and screens I hadn't seen in quite a while and actually showing this piece of my childhood to my daughter. Even better was that she was smiling at it. I know games have grown much more sophisticated in the last 20 years, but there's something to be said for games like Super Mario Bros. I can't wait until the day when she actually jumps over (or on!) that Goomba and starts racing for the flagpole. And then eventually the day when she comes to me and tells me she beat Bowser. That'll really be something...