Games We Grew Up With: Super Mario Land

If you are reading this article there is a good chance that video games have had quite a significant impact on your life.

Whether you still frequently sit down to play your favourite AAA title or you occasionally check out a video game news site to keep track of what is going on in the world of gaming, you will no doubt have fond memories of your first gaming experience.

In this series of articles I am going to share some of my formative experiences of video games as I grew up, partly to reminisce fondly, and partly to see if my experiences are shared by any of you.

After all joining together with other people in a shared experience is one of the more enjoyable aspects that video games offer us.

So where would we start with this trip down memory lane? Well, I think it is best to start with my first console; the Gameboy.

The nostalgia begins…

I don’t recall exactly how old I was when I received my Gameboy. I remember that it came bundled with a carry case, which allowed me to both store the Gameboy and many games, as well as two games; Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins.

This is where my gaming fever began.

Whilst I remember fairly little about my first forays with those games, a few key memories stand out to me.

With Super Mario Land I struggled with some of the platforming. I remember I could get past world 1-1 and 1-2 but I don’t think I ever frequently made it past 1-3. I remember the first time I made it to ocean level being baffled by the constantly scrolling submarine, whilst thinking it was very cool I could now shoot the enemies, and the desert level with rolling boulders and the heartbreak of falling off a rock into a spike pit on my last life.

Devastation is the only way to describe that experience as a young child.

My next memory is when we had family come to visit us from Australia. I had an older cousin who was firmly in her teens as the time, and she wanted to see the games I had. I remember watching over her shoulder with awe as she blitzed her way through levels I struggled with, and then the joy when she would get to a level I had not played and she would pass the Gameboy to me to have a go.

I would inevitably run the lives down and feel bad about causing a reset, but she didn’t mind. I still remember being in awe when I saw her complete the game. Something I could not do at the time so I knew how skilled she had to be to be able to do it!

It’s funny how excited I was watching someone else play my game, but it was a team effort. It was my game, she was playing, and it was our victory. Even if I did, objectively, bring very little to the team.

But this experience is one I feel is common to those of us that enjoy video games.

When you see the modern world of entertainment revolving around e-sports, streamers and let’s play videos, it is clear that this sensation of joy and excitement of experiencing video games alongside other people is something that unites gamers.

Maybe that sensation is routed in nostalgia for the games we used to play, but the effect is very tangible.

The entertainment industry is being shaped by our experiences of huddling around the screen of the one friend who had the one-player game we wanted to watch them play, so we could experience it together.

What was your first gaming experience?

Leave a comment below and share your story! I will tie some of these experiences into future articles in this series.

Enjoy this article? Click here to read more video game content!