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The Games that Made Me a Gamer: Super Mario Bros. And Duck Hunt
The game that made me a gamer, well, wasn’t a single entity. No, it was part of a bundle pack. A single cartridge that housed two of the greatest games in existence: Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt.
Super Mario Bros. - Prior to Super Mario Bros., video games were just another form of entertainment for this spoiled little boy. A toy, if you will, that couldn't grab my attention for longer than a couple moments. I'd pick up a controller, run around until I died, and then go build a lopsided house out of Lincoln Logs. But I managed to stick with Super Mario Bros. for some odd reason.
As an adult, I can see why the Mushroom Kingdom appealed to me. The game wasn't just a pair of white bars batting a white ball around on a black background; no, it was an established world with inhabitants who shown purpose and personality. Goombas were flattened when jumped upon. Koopa Troopas would retract into their shell and could be used as a projectile. Oh, and Mario could shoot fireballs when he touched a fire flower. What a wacky world!
I didn't question why the world was so weird; I just picked up the controller and enjoyed myself. Everything was colorful, interesting, and the game was fun. That's something I wish we all could do today when picking up a controller - just have fun.
Duck Hunt - Now, I've never been a hunter, gatherer, or sports fan of any kind. I complain if it rains on me and you won't hear the end if it I get the slightest sunburn. I don't understand the fascination between beefy men and balls; but most importantly, I could never take the life of an animal.
That's why my love for Duck Hunt stuck with me after all these years. As a kid, I couldn't dream of harming animals. I loved them and wanted two of each for my Noah's Ark play set. When presented with a plastic gun and prompted to shoot something I love, I was very standoffish. In my underdeveloped mindset, the inhabitants of Duck Hunt were real animals and I was judge, jury, and executioner.
Of course, after parental figures made fun of me, I finally pulled the trigger. To my surprise, the world was a colorful and comical one. Ducks, when shot, would drop in a style reminiscent to deaths portrayed in Loony Toons. A cartoon dog would mock me when I failed. And just like the seriousness was removed from my mind. I realized there's always a light side to tragedy and video games don't have to apply to a certain set of rules.
Super Mario Bros. introduced me to a world of action and adventure, where Duck Hunt showed me the subtle humor that could be instilled in even the most violent sporting events. These games didn't just make me a gamer, but they opened my eyes to what the world of video games is truly capable of. These weren't simple toys, they where an emotional investment worth embracing. If I didn't encounter them when I did, I highly doubt I would be the person I am today.