The first console I ever owned was the original NES. At eight years old I'd never really gamed before but one very short lived go on Super Mario Bros. (ploughing into that fist Goomba) at my friends and I was hooked. A few months later after a lot of nagging my brother and I were lucky enough to get one for Christmas. When we had to go out later that day to see family I took the booklet with me and studied the baddies, the back story, scrutinised the pictures excited that I'd get to see a flying Koopa at some point and was hooked.
From Mario I progressed to Zelda and it changed the way I looked at gaming bringing in what seemed, at the time, to be expansive worlds, inventive characters and an endless supply of puzzles and monsters. Above all else it had imagination. The NES held strong in my life for a few years but would later upgrade to a SNES (and Megadrive) and those franchises would expand with leaps in gameplay and graphics that brought new challenges and thrills. It also had me put in my place a few times by my elder brother who couldn't best me on Street Fighter II, never gloat you're a better fighter when you can't back it up in the real world.
The SNES was the last Nintendo console I owned. When Playstation came along I converted to Sony and followed them through every generation watching as gaming evolved from the addictive games of my NES into vast cinematic experiences. Over the years I had housemates and friends with 64s and Gamecubes and so I kept my foot in the world of Nintendo but essentially it was closed off to me, opting for Zombies and explosions and more mature gameplay. And so for a good decade that's the way it was. That is until recently talking to a friend about Mario 64 he told me how he drifted away from gaming as they turned from harmless cartoonish fun to death simulators (his words) I started to think back.
This stuck with me. Don't get me wrong I have annihilated hordes of the Undead without a shred of morality, gloated over fallen soldiers and mistreated countless personified animals. Hordes of fighters have crumpled at my feet and over the years as the dawn of the internet came along I've made enemies in several languages.
Gaming has and always will be a big part of my life, but as it evolved I think I slowly forgot what drew me in. Those first few steps straight into the Goomba. So a few weeks ago lured in by Mario Kart I part exchanged my tank of 40gb PS3 for a WiiU and remembered that Nintendo do gaming like no one else. Not pandering to the trends of next gen gaming they stuck with the ideals they set out with in those early consoles, fun inclusive innovative gaming and though they had a ropey start to the console the WiiU has plunged me back into the worlds of Mario and Zelda and reminded me why they dominated the markets for so many years. I, like so many, am happy to feed my gaming nostalgia, fondly re-discovering how frustrating a platformer can be, or how maddening a puzzle before wistfully wandering the house humming the Zelda theme as if gripped with senility forged in an age gone by.
So whilst this blog might not be ahead of the curve and very much jumping on the Nintendo turnaround following its wake from E3 I write this for all those gamers like me whose roots started with those simplistic, but often insanely difficult, NES and SNES games where you cut your teeth. I write this for those gamers who are sat on the fence and say Nintendo is very much back on form.
Also please play me on Mario Kart, my girlfriend is dominating the field and I need to get better...