In this series of 30 daily articles celebrating the upcoming 30th Anniversary of Super Mario, various members of the Nintendo Life extended family will share their memories and thoughts on the iconic franchise. This time we have news writer, reviewer and Australian Correspondent Liam Doolan.
I was initially hesitant about whether or not to share this particular Mario memory because it's rather embarrassing as an origin story, but having since built up the courage to open up to the loyal readership here on Nintendo Life, here goes:
When I discovered gaming in the mid-90s, it was all thanks to my older cousin who had put the glory days of the NES behind him. It was now, well and truly, an out-of-date Nintendo system. In Australia at the time, the Super NES was in its stride, with the Nintendo 64 following shortly after in 1997. Having never really played a game prior to receiving the NES from my cousin, it was only natural that the first game I did play on this system was the original Super Mario Bros. released 10 years beforehand.
My earliest memory of Super Mario Bros. is the first stage of the game, World 1-1 – as is probably the case for many people. At the time, my family and I lived in a rural area and had about 60 acres of bushland around us. The nearest landmarks were wineries down winding dirt roads and town was about 20 minutes away. Beyond that, there wasn't much else, so entertainment mostly came in the form of good old fashioned outdoor activities – like playing in our makeshift sandpit – provided there were no brown snakes, centipedes or redback spiders hiding in between the logs, and that wildlife hadn't got to it first. Other options included water fights with my younger brother – provided we weren't on restrictions at the time due to drought conditions – or adventuring around the perimeter of our property.
Video games, as a result, became a good inside activity and one where our mother would not fret about where we were and what we were doing at the time. We played a lot of games on the NES because of this, including Duck Hunt and Excitebike – but these were different to Nintendo's main outing. Unlike Super Mario Bros., there was no true sense of progression or end goal within these games. In Mario, however, there was.
One of my earliest memories of this game was that I had a sense of fear about progressing further into the first level. I am not sure why exactly this is. Even jumping on an advancing Goomba was a thrilling prospect. I still have this same problem to this day, with certain enemies popping up on screen out of nowhere scaring the life out of me. GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 was a serious offender of this, and I believe my fear of such things started with the original Super Mario Bros. game.
One day though, my father came home from work for lunch, and at the time myself and my brother were playing our NES. I vaguely remember edging myself on to go just a little bit further than I previously had in Super Mario Bros., and it was on this particular day I ended up completing World 1-1 for the first time ever. My younger self was ecstatic about this accomplishment. By this point my father's lunch break was nearly over, and he was moving towards our lengthy driveway to head back into town. As he was leaving I remember running out, barefoot, over the sandy gravel and calling out loudly something along the lines of "I did it, I completed the first level in Mario" – I don't really remember what his reply was, but I'm sure he was happy for me at the time.
Little did we know it was this special moment with Super Mario Bros. that uncovered one of my greatest passions in life – gaming. And, for that, I am thankful.