My First Time Playing Super Mario 64: A Diary

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grantimus

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#1  Edited By grantimus

Hey Duders! To celebrate Jeff Bakalar's first time ever playing Super Mario 64, at the PAX East live show a couple weekends back, I thought it'd be fun to share my diary of experiences during my first time playing this legendary video game.

The thing is, I did it when I was 12, in 1996. But, I kept a diary at the time, so here is my diary, exactly as it is written in a spiral notebook that I've kept for nearly 30 years. I hope you all enjoy! Please excuse the cringe, it's here in all of it's glory. We'll start a little bit early:

Sep 19, 1996: 11 more days! 11 more days until I get my Nintendo 64 !!(with a smiley face under the two exclamation marks) I can't wait (3 more of those 2 exclamation mark smiley faces)

Sep 20, 1996: 10 days left !! !! (at this point it's good to assume that if two exclamation marks are together, there's a smiley face involved) I'm spendin the night at Andy's tonight.

Sep 21, 1996: 9 Days Left !! !! Pretty boring Day!

Sep 22, 1996: 8 days left !! !! I got a lawnmower today from my grandpa.

Sep 23, 1996: 7 days Left !! !! just one more week...

P.S. I finish reading my 2nd book on Friday. I got a new book. I was tested for P.R.O.B.E. today. I hope I got in.

Sep 24, 1996: 6 Days Left !! !!

Sep 25, 1996: 5 more days...

Sep 26, 1996: 4 more days...

Sep 27, 1996: 3 more days...

Sep 28, 1996: 2 more days...

Sep 29, 1996: 1 more day...

Sep 30, 1996: The actual image. Note how in my excitement I misspelled "N64" as "NG," but hey, G and 6 are kind of similar. Also note the bleed through of the following page with my first ever doodle of the N64 logo. Also I wasn't lying about the two exclamation marks with the smiley face. And I signed off each day by writing "Bye!" very bigly on the page.

No Caption Provided

Oct 1, 1996: Well, it's out !! I'll probably get it on Thursday or Friday. I hope so!

(Aww this is sad, I didn't get it day-one? Skipping here to the day I got it)

Oct 5, 1996: I got it !! I got the N64 with Super Mario 64, the coolest game on Earth !! I got kinda far.

Oct 6, 1996: I got 22 stars on Super Mario 64. I beat Bowser once. You beat him by swinging him around by his tail. It Rocks!!

Oct 7, 1996: Today I got 36 stars in Super Mario 64. I found out our schedule is going to change, again! It's going to be even more confusing!

P.S. We had to run the mile run today. I got 10 min. on it.

(Better than I'd do today)

No Caption Provided

(This is rather incredible to see, 28 years later)

Oct 8, 1996: We started our new schedule today. I have 2 classes with Andy, 1 with Kenny, and 3 with Kathleen. It's cool.

P.S. I got 27 starts is SM64.

**Uh oh, first signs of incompetence and/or bad-gamer-skills**

Oct 13, 1996: I got a mag. that tells me how to get all 120 stars in SM64. It also gave other tips.

Oct 14, 1996: Boring Day. I totally screwed my right leg to heck. Some butthole tripped me in gym. I'll have to wear my knee brace for awhile.

(I've had to periodically ever since)

Oct 15, 1996: I got 65 stars in SM64. I only need 5 more stars to beat Bowser for the 3rd time. I'll probably do it tomorrow.

Oct 16, 1996: Boring Day, I'm working at a school carnival on Sat.

(I dressed up as Scruff McGruff)

Oct 19, 1996: I beat SM64 with 72 stars. I'm spendin' the night at Kyle's.

Oct 21, 1996: I got a haircut. I'm involved with a major disaggrement which I call "The happy group vs Patrisha [redacted]" You see, Trisha wrote a note to Kathleen and then denied she wrote it. I'm kind of like Kat's lawyer. I examined the note and found out 1 major detail that proves Trish is guilty; Kathleen is spelled Cathleen! No one who really knew Kat would spell it with a C.

(Just... fuckin kill me duders. Yes I had the choice to not include this, but please enjoy my cringe)

Oct 24, 1996: I told Anne I liked Leah. She swore she wouldn't tell. She better not.

Oct 27, 1996: Pretty close to Halloween. I'm gonna be a girl. I got 81 stars on SM64.

Oct 28, 1996: Pretty boring day. I got 92 stars on SM64. I'll get 120 soon now.

Oct 29, 1996: Boring Day. I got 96 stars.

Nov 3, 1996: Me + Andy started a new save on SM64. We got 94 stars. My other save has 97. We only have 2 1/2 days of school this week. I rented Pilotwings 64. It's the bomb.

Nov 4, 1996: I got far on Pilotwings 64, but then my sister erased my game. Tomorrow's election day.

Nov 7, 1996: Tomorrow I'm getting a new game for N64. Andy and I got 100 stars is SM64. He's spending the night.

Nov 9, 1996: Today was my birthday party. We went bowling and ate pizza and drank rootbeer. I got $56, a new controller, and Icky Poo, this sticky-type stuff. I'm getting Mortal Kombat Trilogy on Monday.

Nov 10, 1996: I got 107 stars in SM64. I might not get MKT tomorrow. If not, I will get it on Friday. I might open a bank account at the bank my mom works for.

Nov 11, 1996: Wahoo!! I'm officially a teenager today! I didn't get MKT. I bought a cool poster and the new Nirvana CD. They're cool.

Nov 13, 1996: I stayed home again. I got MKT. It's the bomb! I got 117 stars in SM64. Only 3 more to go...

Nov 15, 1996: I got all 120 stars! The ending of SM64 is cool. I got good at MKT. Kyle's spendin' the night.

This has been a hell of a trip down memory lane. Please feel free to comment with your memories of being a pre-teen and playing amazing games that are just completely branded into your brains and existence. Love yall!

-Grantimus

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wollywoo

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#2  Edited By wollywoo

This is adorable. Instantly takes me back to that time, when I was around the same age (but definitely wasn't lucky enough to get an N64 at launch!) Thanks for sharing.

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Heycalvero

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That was awesome. Thanks so much for sharing!

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citizencoffeecake

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Love seeing stuff like this, cringe and all. We were all silly kids once upon a time.

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Manburger

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#5  Edited By Manburger

Yes, this rules, thanks for sharing! Did not find it cringeworthy at all. Also, man, I've gotta commend your handwriting — miles more legible than my current inscrutable scrawlings.

(Un)fortunately(?) I don't have any artifacts like this. Just recall being quite enthused when my dad showed up with our first console, the N64, and Mario Kart 64. Played that to heck with friends & family. Vaguely remember just exploring tracks and eventually making up our own weird rules for balloon battle.

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chamurai

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#6  Edited By chamurai

This was real cool to read. It looks like we're roughly the same age but you got to 120 stars way before I did. I was an impatient teen and only got 118 on my save file. It wasn't til I was in my 20's and more disciplined when I replayed it on my Wii Virtual Console and easily got the two remaining stars and finally saw Yoshi. It was the 100 coin stars for Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride that held me back for so long. Thanks for sharing!

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grantimus

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@chamurai: Well hey, I bought the Gamer Guide lol so I cheated

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chamurai

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@grantimus: What I really want to know now is did Anne ever spill the beans to Leah? The people deserve to know!

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grantimus

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@chamurai: Well if she did I didn't write about it in the diary lol

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Gen1Cam

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Sometimes I wish I had this game as a kid. If I did I bet I would love it. Sadly I grew up with a Playstation and did not experience Mario 64 for the first time until I bought the DS version and I did not like it. I also tried getting into it on the Wii VC and it just didn't click. Most recently I tried giving it a go on the Switch as a part of Super Mario All-stars 3D and, while I did get much further than I ever have in the past, I still only thought it to be ok and dropped it about half-way through.

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Broshmosh

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#13  Edited By Broshmosh

It is absolutely insane to me that the DS came out only 8 years after the N64. They crunched an entire console into a handheld in that tiny time frame!

Anyway that's relevant because I had a similar personal timeline when the DS came out, except I had that excitement twice over because I ran down the battery on the Metroid Prime Hunters demo (as an aside, MPH remains the best FPS on pre-smartphone handhelds imo, deathmatches were kickass) and immediately realised I'd need to wait until third-party chargers came out before I could play again; My mum bought it in America visiting friends and my folks didn't trust using a travel adapter with the OG DS charger.

The game I got with it was Super Mario 64 DS and I also had an absolute blast. I think having the different characters with different movement was a really good addition, in later years I tried the N64 verison and felt held back by only having one moveset to approach every star.