In this series of 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 our wannabe hipster reviewer Jose Acosta.
When I think of Mario Paint the first thing I remember was not knowing how to get past the title screen. No wait… the first thing I remember about Mario Paint was going to the local video rental place at my hometown of Maracaibo.
My father, my brother and I were browsing the aisles looking for movies to watch, when I glanced at a huge box at the end of the hallway. It read, 'Mario Paint', I was baffled… "what is this game all about? Is it a new Mario game but… with what does 'paint' mean?" Now, this was a time way before I mastered the English language, heck I even struggled at Spanish, just like any kid would. But as a six year old with the deductive skills of a six year old, I noticed that Mario was holding a paintbrush in his hand. "Oh so this must be a game where you can paint your own Mario levels, I'll take it!" I said to my father.
And just as we were leaving the store the clerk stopped us "Don't forget these! You'll need them to play the game." My brother and I looked at each other, as if to say "A Nintendo game that plays with a mouse? What is this… a computer?!". We headed back home and set everything up, but not before trying to see if the Super Nintendo controller could be used to play the game. Obviously it didn't work...
So there we were sitting in front of the TV, with the mouse in hand and we did not know how to get past the title screen, after all there was no 'Press Start To Play' message. It was weird, every other game we had played before had some way to get over the title screen, was Mario Paint just the title screen, "did we receive a cheap knock-off version of the game? What's wrong with this game?!" We desperately started clicking everywhere on the screen. We were not prepared for what happened next...
One of the letters in the title came alive! It had an eye and started making baby noises as it chased Mario off the screen! We could not contain our laughter! Eventually we managed to find our way into the game, but not before we clicked every other letter.
We soon found out that the incident in the title screen was not an isolated event.
You see, Mario Paint is a title unlike any other. And one my brother and I spent countless hours exploring every nook and cranny - no brush, stamp or eraser was safe from us. All while the TV speakers blasted in full monaural sound the lovely BGM 1 track. We even gave the music composer a run for its money, although we never made a song as great as the ones that came with the game.
And then... We clicked on the coffee mug icon...
Dum-dum dum dum-dum dum dum-dum-dum ♪
Mario Paint suddenly meant business! The game went from being a stroll in the park to an endless action game. It was us against the flies, and just like in real life the flies were winning! We took turns devising plans on how to win, but alas we failed every time.
It never truly mattered, because even in defeat we always had big smiles on our faces. Mario Paint was the title that changed us and our view of Nintendo. At the time we didn't realize what it meant, it was just a silly and fun game, but as the years went by we realized that little and silly game would be the stepping stone for me and my brother.
Mario Paint was the first title we played together. The story repeated itself every summer, each time with a new game. Eventually my brother stopped being interested in video games. That time by myself made me realize the good times we had in the past, plus I had the opportunity to embark on many solo adventures.
Last week, I sent him that video that's been circulating with the Super Mario Maker easter eggs, and his reply was… "Oh man! This reminds me of Mario Paint!"