When I initially decided to write stories about my past gaming experiences, I had one person in mind that I always wanted to talk about. My older brother, (Super) CJ, is the reason I am the gamer I am today. He is not just my older brother, he is my best friend in the world and he always knows how to cheer me up. We are both almost 30, and we still act like complete goofballs around each other. But enough of the sappy backstory, today I wanted to share some of my best gaming memories with him; starting from the beginning.
My brother and I have been gaming for almost our entire lives. He is forever player 1 and I enjoy being player 2. It started with our dad buying a Nintendo Entertainment System and the first game that we ever played, Super Mario Bros 3. It think it was this game. It could have either been this, Duck Hunt (with the actual zapper!), or the original Super Mario Bros. My memory is fuzzy around that detail, but we definitely played SMB3! Around the time, a Super Nintendo randomly showed up at our house, and our grandparent’s house. I have no idea when we acquired those, but I attribute the SNES as the beginning of our gaming careers. Our dad would take us to the local rental store to rent games, an experience that I miss and kinda sad that my kids won’t get the chance to experience. There were a handful of games that we own that I want to talk about now that highlight how
pathetic good we were good at games at the time. CJ is the current keeper of our games and console.
We don’t know why we have this either. Our dad probably got thinking that he would play it, but he never did. You would think this would have taught us how to play pool, but nope. To this day I still do not know how to play pool the “correct” way.
Disney’s Goof Troop
Do you want to talk about chaos? Look no further than Goof Troop for the SNES. Back when Capcom made top tier license games, Goof Troop was the best fun that two five-year old boys who could not get past the first stage could have! To this day, I don’t think either one of us have gotten past the first stage (he might have by himself). I think the puzzles were too hard for us at the time or there was a part that we could not get past. I just remember that we would throw pots and crates at each other to stun the other person and fight over the grappling hook. We would also purposely mess up the puzzles where you had to kick the blocks because our coordination just sucked. One day we will sit down and redeem our childhood selves by beating it.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest
I have no idea how we ended up with this game, but I want to say thank you. As kids, we did not know how valuable this game was. We didn’t play the first game until much later, but DKC2 was were we had some of the best fun. Since the entire game can be played in Co-op, we could both enjoy the game at the same time. Unlike Goof Troop, we got pretty far in this game. We never finished it since the later levels started to get harder, and we were also plagued with our data being erased occasionally. I would say that this game was the second game that we owned for the system that we could blast our way through, but never got to the end.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
This was CJ’s bread and butter at the time. I would watch him play this game constantly and be amazed at how good he was at it. One of my favorite memories was when he was fighting Bowyer in the Forest Maze. He was the roadblock at the time that CJ had trouble getting past. He would put in his commands and we would run out of the bedroom. We were nervous about the outcome of the turn. We would wait a few seconds before returning to the room to see if we survived or fail.
Super Mario RPG amazed us with the different areas that you visit and the excitement we felt when we got somewhere new. Though we never got to the end (I think he has beaten it at this point), we had fun replaying it no matter what. It wouldn’t be until I was a bit older that I would finally play it for myself. I have yet to beat it.
Our favorite part was the cake boss. We will still to this day quote the chiefs’ lines from time to time. The boss was not super hard, but it did take us a while to figure out the mechanics behind it. We also enjoyed doing the Yoshi minigame even though we were not good at it. Our roadblock at the time was the dungeon at Seaside Town. For some reason we never got past that part until much later in life. I think that due to all the roadblocks that we encountered, plus us phasing out of the Super Nintendo. The thought of finishing this game once would feel like closing the book on our entire lives with the console.
Mega Man X
Here is a game that we had no business being proficient in at the time. For how hard some of the stages and bosses can be, my brother and I can sail through this game in an hour. A quick note about my young self; action games intimidated me as a child. For the longest time, I was afraid to play games like Ocarina of Time because it looked too daunting for me to keep up with. Mega Man X however? No problem! Let’s do this! Maybe it was the style of the game, being 2D instead of 3D or the number of times we replayed stages, I never saw this game as difficult. To this day, I can only play this game with a Super Nintendo controller. Ever other controller feels weird and makes me unable to pull off moves that I know I can do. The first Sigma stage was a nightmare when I tried to play this on the Mega Man X Collection for Switch until I bought the 8Bitdo Super Nintendo controller.
Despite how good we were beating all the robot masters, we could never get past the spider boss in the first Sigma stage. Don’t ask us why, it moved fast and we didn’t know its weakness at the time. We also never knew about the Hadoken until much later in life. It wouldn’t be until 2018 that I finally beat the game for the very first time. CJ, however, has not seen the final scene at the end of the game. Now it is time to figure out how to play X2 and X3.
Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World
Another gem in our possession was Super Mario All-Stars. Our cartridge included Super Mario World as well, and this was CJ’s playground. One of the few games that he actually beat was Super Mario World. He was good at it and I would sometimes purposely die just so he would complete the next stage. The other games on the cartridge were never finished despite our attempts. The updated version of Super Mario 3 was our second most played since the NES stopped working. But once again, we had bad luck with our cartridge lossing our save data at random times.
Super Mario Kart
Even as a kid I could tell that this felt unpolished. That did not stop us from playing from time to time. This might have been one of our least played Super Nintendo games just because we would get bored of it fast. Shout out to Koopa Troopa who became my main and has been since whenever he is playable.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
This is kind of a joke entry. Our cartridge of this game never worked and was full of glitches. Yoshi was always in a glitchy state including during his transformations. We only saw one, because the game would always crash when we got to the first castle. I have no idea why we would play this over and over when we knew we could not get past the first castle. We had to borrow a copy from a friend in high school to finally play this game correctly and we screamed with joy when we finally got past the first castle. After that it was all new territory that we were not prepared for.
And that was the Super Nintendo era. In part 2 of this walk down memory lane, I will talk about our time with the Sega Genesis that also randomly showed up at our house and the games we used to rent from the video store.
Thanks for reading!