If you’re in your mid-thirties like I am, you may remember watching one of your parents playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo.
Back the ‘80s, controlling Mario was so intense that most moms and dads whipped the controller up in frantic excitement every time Mario jumped.
Back then they just didn’t get it.
Today, these same parents are busy trading lives on Candy Crush and building Farmville dynasties on iPads; video games finally have a home for every generation; it’s not just pimply-faced teens and lonely twenty-somethings anymore. Thanks to social media and online play, gaming isn’t big business, it’s huge business.
Before I espouse the virtues of video games, let me say I firmly believe that everything is great, in moderation.
As much as I love gaming, I also love to read, watch movies, and go outdoors.
Hunting zombies, playing a God, or whatever your fantasy vice is, is awesome but it’s okay to put the controller down and take a break if you feel like your eyes are about to burst out of your skull.
I have a soft spot for video games because I grew up with them, starting with the Atari 2600 when I was six. The games back then were no more than lights that flickered and moved, but it was spectacular.
I was 12 in 1989 when I got into a ridiculous daylong Mario Bros. challenge with my dad; if I beat him, he would take me to see Batman. Little did I know he was secretly playing late at the night. I made one mistake and lost, causing me to have a classic 12-year-old meltdown of utter disbelief. Dad just wanted the credit for beating his son at his own game. He accomplished it and I still saw Batman.
Arcades were great to play while growing up; I love the feel, sound, and lighting of a full-size arcade machine. To this day I have a hard time not playing an arcade machine if I see one in a restaurant or bar, and I still play them online.
Like a classic movie, a great game will transcend the ages, regardless of their graphics. I‘m talking to you, Dig Dug.
When the Nintendo Wii was introduced in 2006 with its motion controller, everyone suddenly became a casual gamer. It was great family fun to bowl or play tennis on T.V. It was also the first console in which people claimed they could burn calories while gaming.
The Nintendo Wii brought my fondest memories of gaming; I would play Tiger Woods golf with dad at Pebble Beach, have a few a beers, and never have to leave the house.
Today, I live in Old Crow and it’s getting close to winter, so my go-to game is New Super Mario Bros. on the Wii U. Six people can play at once, but I often spend my evenings playing with my wife; We share intimate moments over who’s going to get the “squirrel suit”.
I’ve also been engaged in some intense online Mario Kart 8 action with my Yuk on homies every Sunday night.
The fun never stops, especially when you’re tossing a red shell at your friends, sending them into oblivion.
New Super Mario Bros. is a great way to pass the time Photo: Melinda Arnett