Posted on January 6, 2012
Super Mario Land (Game Boy)
It was small, and sometimes hard to see Mario when he wasn’t “Super”, but it was still weird and different enough to be considered a classic.
As I mentioned in the post before this one, I got this game to go along with the new Game Boy I got for Christmas in 1990. I had also gotten a few of the accessories for the system; a Light Boy, a battery pack, a screen magnifier… by the time it was all attached, I had to rest the Game Boy on my lap while I played it.
I guess the main thing that sticks out about the game is that holiday, and how I really never put it down. It didn’t matter if I should be spending time with relatives, or in the car ride on the way back home, I was playing that game like crazy.
At a New Year’s Eve party just down the road from where we live, I brought it with me to pass the time. It was a party with a bunch of adults, so what else was I to do? Before heading over, I had made it to the final level for the first time, a crazy ride in the sky with Mario in a plane (which was pretty epic, at the time). Battery pack in hand, I paused my game and we headed on over.
Before getting back to my game (but after plugging it into the wall as not to lose my progress), my dad and another man struck up a conversation about baseball. I played organized t-ball myself, at the time, and I was borderline obsessed with the Toronto Blue Jays. I chimed in, and was eventually asked about who my favourite team was. Instead of saying the obvious Blue Jays answer, I said “the Oakland Athletics” with great enthusiasm! Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco were hitting home runs like crazy at the time, and there really is nothing more awesome in baseball than seeing a guy rip a ball over the fence.
In retrospect, seeing as how both those guys were on ‘roids (ste-, not aste-), it’s no wonder they hit so many… still, it was incredibly fun to watch, and it doesn’t stain my memories of the sport in those days, at all. Same goes for the home run record chase in ’98. Very cool stuff!
Anyway, the man I was talking baseball with said something I had never heard before. “The A’s? Ah, you’re jumpin’ on the band wagon, I see!”
What the heck was that supposed to mean? What did a wagon of some kind have to do with baseball? It made no sense to me, so I just shrugged it off and went back to playing Super Mario Land.
I beat it that night, and eventually asked my folks what he had meant by “jumpin’ on the band wagon”. Of course, I know what it means now, but the A’s had come off a successful playoff run before getting swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. Evidently, my appreciation for the team wasn’t quite sincere, according to this guy!
I can’t help but think of that New Year’s Eve and that Game Boy game, whenever I hear someone talking about jumping on band wagons.
When it comes to making movies out of 8-bit games, it doesn’t get much more “bare bones” than this one. Oh well.
Here’s a title screen, some bosses biting the bullet, Daisy not being Daisy after all, and the game’s credits. Enjoy!