Nintendo in my life
Last week, as I was scanning through some news items, I came across a story about ex-Nintendo president and Hiroshi Yamauchi, who had recently died at the age of 85. The story caught my attention, because I have to admit, Nintendo and Super Mario have pretty much been around for my entire life.
And thatís not an exaggeration in any way. The Nintendo Entertainment System was launched in North America in 1985, the same year I was born. Although my parents didnít buy the game system for my brothers until a few years later, I do remember the year they brought it home, and the many hours my three brothers and I spent playing, and arguing over whose turn it was to play.
When it was too cold to play outside, I remember grabbing a blanket and setting myself up on the floor in our basement to play Battletoads or Super Mario. And when it was too hot during the summer months, we would often find refuge in the cool basement, playing the newest Super Mario games with cousins and friends.
I think Super Mario 3 was probably the most played game in my childhood (and later Tetris during my teenage years). Being able to move your character along a path on a map as you passed levels was pretty amazing at the time.
Twenty-eight years later, itís funny to see my six-year-old son, Gavin, still interested in a few of those classic Nintendo games, now having the ability to download the games directly onto his Wii.
The jump taken in the past 28 years by the video game industry is massive, and the capabilities now are something Iím sure Mr. Yamauchi didnít imagine possible when he launched Nintendo in the 80s. Although Sony and Microsoft are also huge competitors in the video game industry now, Nintendo will always hold a place in video game history.
I know some parents out there arenít too keen on seeing their children play video games, and I certainly remember many times when my parents would have to pull my youngest brother (who is now in school for video game design) away from the television screen to eat, go to bed, or simply take a (much needed) break. I already see some of the same situations arising with my own son, but I really canít blame the kid, since his dad is also something of a gamer.
As an adult, I still love sitting down and playing a game of Mario Party with Gavin. Itís fun to see him try to convince his grandmas to sit and play a game with him when they come over too, and Iím sure my mom never spent near as much time playing Nintendo with her own children as she does now with her grandchildren.
My youngest son, Brodie, is nearly three, and has been very capable of using an iPad since he was about two. Despite the sometimes-negative opinions that exist out there about video games, it is simply way too hard to ignore what some of the games can teach children.
I know that within our own local school division iPads are regularly used to help teach children certain skills and encourage creativity. And watching Brodie navigate through an imaginary 3-D block world in Minecraft is really amazing, although he often (literally) digs himself into a hole and needs helping getting out.
And I can attest to that frustration. I assume itís probably similar to not being able to pass World 8 in the first Mario Brothers, or continually losing your favourite blue Yoshi while playing Super Mario World.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.