Ignorance comes with a wonderful sort of enthusiasm. We didn't know jack shit about games at that point, we had no knowledge of conventions or typical game structure. To us, anything was possible. I expected to see the Princess after every jump. We had no clue about how long a game should be or what to expect. Days later, when we would beat the first world, it was a genuine shock to discover that our Princess was in another castle, not a familiar trope.
But that would be another day. I don't remember getting any further that night than the mushroom tree-tops of World 1-3. It was late, little boys were tired, and Boxing Day was drawing to a close. Mario's adventure came to an end after several "one last tries" and I whined like a baby when the NES was shut off and packed away.
Coincidentally, it's the only time I can remember where I actually wanted to spend more time with my dad.
It was a Christmas that would change my life. They say there is no one more zealous than a convert, and that day I became a born again gamer. Videogames would become my primary hobby, interest, and avenue for examining the world from that point on and through my entire childhood. A rabbit hole I would only sink deeper into over the years until the harsh rays of puberty would compel me to broaden my horizons.
But that would be years later. My gamer story is about how a stout little Italian, a wimp with a glass jaw, and an ageing scientist would doom the formative years of my life to the dark corners of our basement den, and the warm glow of the 8 and 16-bit era.
LOOK WHO CAME: