Mr. Nintendo

Unless you have somehow missed my Video Game Review Station and its 110+ in-depth video game reviews, you should have a good idea of what I really love to do in my free time. Literally since I turned 3-4 years old, I have had a passion for all things video game-related. It doesn't matter what the system or game is...just pop in one that's decent and I'll make an appearance. :)

My dad officially introduced me to the video game realm with his good old Intellivision console. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the Intellivision, it was essentially Atari's main competitor back during the late-70's and early-80's. It featured a controller with nine buttons along with a circular disc on the front side coupled with two buttons along both the left and right "spines" of the controller. It was quite impressive for its time and many of the old Intellivision games are still quite playable today!

Some of the games that I got into as a young child included Frog Bog (I still love how the scenery changes from day to night.), Lock 'n Chase (the AI in this game was simply unreal...and I thought Pac-Man could be brutal!), and Night Stalker (my first "spooky" game). I enjoyed the various challenges and how certain elements would change as your score increased. The color palette might change in Astrosmash or you might encounter increasingly fearsome robots in Night Stalker. It was all about scoring points back in those days although there were a handful of games with "endings" such as Kool-Aid Man (the first game I ever beat) and Bomb Squad.

I have the most wonderful memories of those days despite me being so young. What can I say? The Lord blessed me with a truly remarkable memory. :) My dad and I had so much fun playing against each other too. We would play games like Baseball (Who could forget the goofy-looking batters and the cheers that could be heard after hitting a home run?), Sea Battle, Triple Action, and Football together. Granted, the Football game was incredibly complex but thankfully, some little-known game entitled "Tecmo Bowl" would satisfy our football appetites years down the road. ;) We continued to purchase new Intelly games up until around 1987 as well. It really was a special console.

However, some earth-shattering console named the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in October of 1985 and it changed everything! Although the Intelly games were a lot of fun, the NES was simply amazing! Everything from the 8-bit graphics to the awesome music and superb gameplay were truly state-of-the-art for the time!

While my dad introduced me to video games, it was my grandpa who made me "Mr. Nintendo." My grandparents bought an NES shortly after its release (I had enjoyed playing Atari games at their home before the NES came out.) and they bought a lot of the first-generation NES games too. I remember playing Gumshoe, Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong 3, and Hogan's Alley to death and beyond. Duck Hunt was a big hit particularly among the adults and, speaking of adults, I can still recall the night when everyone was in the living room trying to figure out how in the heck R.O.B. worked with the Robot Series game Gyromite. It was so cool how the NES brought everyone together like that. Ah...the memories. :)

Another moment that is forever locked into my memory banks is when my cousin Mike brought over some game called Super Mario Bros. As good as the other games were, SMB absolutely blew me away! I was completely enamored and I can still recall waking up at 5:30 the next morning and sneaking into the kitchen (slightly lit by the oven lights) just to read the manual!

Mario was the straw that finally broke the camel's back. I simply had to own an NES. However, unlike many of my friends/relatives who received a Nintendo as a birthday/Christmas present, my parents expected me to come up with the money ($100) by doing chores around the house and earning it. Now as unfair as this sounds, it absolutely taught me the value (and rewards!) of hard work as well as the power of motivation. Heck, this event probably affected me in a positive way in regards to sports and fighting for my basketball dreams (check out my Glory Years story).

Slowly but surely, my stash of cash began to approach the magical $100 goal. In the meantime, I would visit my good friend Jon Pursel and we would play various NES games such as Contra and Life Force together (using the famous Konami code of course). I even recall playing the Commodore 64 at Jon's and delving into Lazy Jones and some random jeep-based WWII game. And when Jon's family decided to build a new home nearby, they actually stayed in our basement which was awesome! Having such a cool family like the Pursels living with us was simply magical and I tried to spend as much time with them as possible. Jon and I had a great time not only playing video games but running around in our huge yard and pretending and using our imaginations. You know...those wonderful things that kids do. ;) On the video game front, we did play some of the "newer" games like Karnov and Pro Wrestling. I will never forget seeing Jon play Metal Gear for the first time either. That game really was incredible for its time despite some hilarious typos such as "The truck have started to move." and "I feel asleep." somehow surviving the translation phase. I even remember Jon's friend Brennan visiting and showing us his taped playthrough of Wizards & Warriors. It might not seem like much now but back in those days, all of this was fresh and new! It was a wonderful time to be a kid for sure.

My other close friend at the time was Travis Bruce and, since he was a Sega fan, we would take turns playing Alex Kidd and the Lost Stars or OutRun on his Sega Master System! I can still hear us arguing over whether Nintendo or Sega was better as well. I was always "Mr. Nintendo" as you know but the Sega did have a lot to offer as well.

It took seemingly forever but the day finally came when I had enough money to buy my very own NES! In November of 1988, my Dad and I visited a Service Merchandise store, purchased an NES Action Set, and I will never forget the feeling I had watching that glorious box roll down the conveyor belt towards us. It was so cool...and such an 80's moment with the conveyor belt and the nature of the transaction and all. Lol!

It might seem like sheer craziness but I do feel that my video game experiences have actually helped me in many ways. For one thing, video games helped me to become more of a goal-oriented person. While you want to play games because they are fun and enjoyable, there is nothing more gratifying than beating any given game pak. Beating a boss and making progress feels really good but beating a final boss and getting to enjoy the game's ending? That is satisfaction my friend...true, unbridled satisfaction! :)

And that is where determination comes into the picture. For better or for worse, I was never the type to give up easily when a game stumped me. Whether it was a tough-as-nails boss in Blaster Master or an intricate puzzle in The Legend of Zelda, it would drive me crazy to walk away from a game not knowing how to succeed. The Ninja Gaiden series really pushed me on multiple occasions with its insane bosses and near-impossible jumps. However, the wave of relief and satisfaction of beating a great game is such a special feeling. This is especially true after beating a really tough game like Blaster Master or Battletoads. Man, I felt like I could conquer the world after beating those monsters! Finishing a game with a friend by your side is incredibly special as well. I still remember my friend Jeff and I finding a way to beat Double Dragon 3 after countless attempts. I still have that moment on video I believe! We played Bubble Bobble to death and beyond as well. I remember us playing all the way through the game and then enjoying my mom's delicious pancakes on Saturday mornings. Wonderful memories those... :)

Back to my main point, getting stumped in a video game really brought out my determination to succeed. Getting stuck in a game was like having to lick the fuzzy exterior of a peach. It would give me the willies and I would try to visualize in my mind how to overcome said obstacle(s). Even if it took weeks or even months, I wanted to solve every challenge that came my way. That is the life calling of a perfectionist my friend. :) You have to remember that we didn't have the internet or cellphones to help us back in those days. Sure, there was Nintendo Power Magazine and the Nintendo hotline but generally speaking, even the greatest video game counselors could only help you so much. To beat most NES games, you had to possess a little thing called skill. Not even the monster 36-page review of Battletoads could save me from incessant frustration. It literally took me a decade to beat that game! And Blaster Master...for goodness sakes...I still don't know how in the world I was able to beat game when I was only eight. Those old NES games sure taught me perseverance and the value of never giving up even when the going gets tough. The ability to finish what you games taught me that.

Amazingly, I started to keep track of the games I beat shortly after purchasing my NES and I continue to add new games to the list! As of October 2016, I have managed to beat more than 515 video games for a myriad of consoles! That is neither exaggeration nor hyperbole either. I have actually beaten that many video games! It certainly helps to have a lifelong passion for video games but I simply don't like leaving a game half-completed. I want to finish the job you know?

And although the NES remains one of my very favorite video game consoles due to the unreal nostalgia factor as well as the simple-yet-challenging gameplay, the Super NES and Sony PlayStation 2 consoles are right up there on the video game pantheon as well. I just haven't really gotten into the Xbox for some reason but I do enjoy a good Nintendo or PlayStation video game. I suppose that being "Mr. Nintendo" explains my personal bias to some degree.

In any case, I have truly enjoyed sharing a few personal video game-related memories/stories with you! You will undoubtedly come across additional tidbits of personal info by reading my video game reviews as I do love to throw in some personal flair at times. What can I say? I am as sentimental as they come and the memories of playing games with friends and family will stick with me forever. Thanks again for checking out this section and do enjoy the rest of my website!

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Last Updated: October 26, 2016
WebMaster: Matt Hull
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