Just under half my lifetime ago in 2002 at my very first part-time job, I had been talking to a coworker about video games (as usual.) He was complaining about his old SNES taking up too much room in his bedroom, so I asked him if he would be willing to sell it to me. He said he would and brought it to work the next shift we were scheduled to work together. I remember being so excited looking through the bag of stuff. He had the console (which hadn’t yellowed at all), one official and one unofficial controller, as well as five games. He had Super Mario World, Super Mario All-Stars and some sports games that I can’t recall now. When I had asked what he wanted me to pay for it, he said $5. I forked over my five-er and for the very first time could call myself a Super Nintendo owner! I think about this often and wonder if he ever regrets selling it all to me, at least for so little money considering price inflation on retro games these days.
Before owning my own copies of the games, I remember playing Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario World at friends’ houses and loving both games dearly. With respect to All-Stars, despite the charm of the updated graphics and music, I am still more fond of the NES versions of Super Mario Bros. 1-3 because I grew up with them. The Lost Levels on that cartridge are a nightmare, and I can’t complain enough about how hard some of the levels are (especially 8-3… damn those Hammer Bros.) I’ve been debating doing a playthrough of that game soon, but I need to practice first I think! Super Mario World was not a game I ever managed to finish in its entirety until a few years ago, but I loved it too. I remember being baffled by the idea of having multiple ways to complete a stage. That idea truly revolutionized the way I played platformers from there on out. I had always thought of platformers as linear, but the idea of exploring for hidden blocks and just-out-of-sight platforms made the experience so much more involved. I loved it.
This blast from the past brings me to a few days ago: at the thrift store I chanced upon a compilation cartridge released in 1994 called Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World. Even though I still have the two individual cartridges, I’ve always wanted to get my hands on the compilation because there are some slight differences in character designs (mainly Luigi) as well as some other small touches like differences in the title screen art. The compilation cartridge normally goes for about $60, but the thrift store had it for $30. I conveniently had a 15% off card which saved me the taxes on the purchase. Here are some photos of the compilation cartridge with my two original copies of the individual games:
I am always fond of collecting games that have to do with Nintendo’s main game franchises. For the right price, I’d even pick up the horrible Mario-themed educational games. I saw those recently in their boxes at a swap for $40-$70 each, so I passed. Next time, Gadget.
I hope you’re all enjoying this cooler weather. Thanks for reading, as usual!