Welcome to my debut article.
I’ve been gaming since the 80’s, and within the past 18 months, I’ve started collecting retro games and consoles. Not because I want to complete a collection, not with the idea that I’m going to resell them when prices get higher, but because I have a sentimental attachment to games I’ve played over the years, and I want them back!
First, a little about me. By day, I’m a 34-year old, father of two who works in construction. By night, I’m a 34-year old geek trying to rap Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES after 26 years (…and counting). My little space in the world here at Retroware will be dedicated to introducing you to some of my favourite classic games, what they mean to me, and how each game has withstood the test of time to become a classic. You can expect some off the wall retro gaming commentary, exploring everything from Mancave Must-Haves to the business side of things. There will also be plenty of Canadian spelling of words like favourite and honour, for which I make no apologies.
I figured the best way to give you a full-on introduction would be to talk about the reason I am here today, the reason I am a gamer and like most gamers my age, that reason would be Super Mario Bros.
My father died when I was three and a half and while my memories of that time during my life are foggy at best, I remember one thing very clearly, I remember missing my Dad. We spent plenty of time travelling a half-hour away to my Grandmother’s place and back on weekends as a sort of break from the weekly grind my mother had to endure working a full-time job and raising two kids as a single parent. On this particular weekend, my Mom took off to Maine for her yearly shopping excursion with some of her girlfriends from work (something she still does to this day). Upon her return, there was the usual standard stock of purchases. Some clothes, a stock of cheap ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ batteries, some American candy and a few other odds and ends. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a strange box in the corner. I pushed a few things out of the way and then I laid my eyes on the prize….IT WAS A GUN!
Yes sir, the first thought I ever had when laying eyes on the box for my new Nintendo Action Set was how excited I was to finally own a gun. So naturally, my mother explained to me that it wasn’t a gun, but a box that hooked up to the television and allowed me to play games. Now, we had an Atari 2600 when I was little, but I had no idea what it was or what it did. This, this box was something different.
So I unpacked the box, got some adult assistance in hooking the thing up, and promptly put in the Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo cart. Immediately I fulfilled my gun temptation and shot down a few ducks, but then I wanted to give Mario a try. From that instant, until this moment, I’ve been hooked. It was an escape, for a short time each day, I didn’t miss my Dad as much. I got to wrap myself up in a make believe world where my one and only goal, was to save the Princess. From there, it was trying to find the Tri-force, defeat Dr. Wily, kick Mike Tyson’s butt and conquer whatever other challenge that grey and black box tossed my way.
Super Mario Bros opened the doors to all those other games for me. While it isn’t regarded as the best game of all time, it surely was a ground breaker for so many of us that are still profoundly into gaming today. It’s the reason why I still play them and it’s the reason I’m writing this article today. Almost three decades later, I still enjoy my games, and while The Witcher 3 may be more sophisticated title than Maniac Mansion (Mancave Must-Have alert!), its role in my life is the same. Give me that escape to another world that needs saving, give me some time away from real life to forget its trials and tribulations and most of all, help me forget, even if only for a little while, that I miss my Dad.
Well, thanks for reading my pilot article here at Retroware. I hope you enjoyed it. I can promise that they all won’t be this emotional, but I figured the best way to introduce myself to the wonderful community here was to tell you the story of why I’m passionate about retro games, and why I’m here today after almost three decades of thumb blisters.
So, I hope you will enjoy my articles and join me in taking a look back at the games that have shaped my life and the lives of so many others.
Until next time!