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Nintendiot: Or, I Know Nothing About Nintendo. Sorry.


Last week while out to dinner with friends, I was outed by SOMEONE (cough, and that cough sounds like “my husband”) at the table as a closet Nintendo moron. Now that my secret is out, I guess I have to explain myself. I GUESS.

Deep breath.

I am old. I don’t want to say how old (as the wind) but I am old enough to have been a child of the 80’s who was brought up on Atari and a little ColecoVision/Commodore 64 text-based rpg’s, but mostly Atari. We were Atari people, our family, in the same way other families are a specific sportsballs team family and not another specific sportsballs team family. I used to walk down to the Penguins frozen yogurt shop about three miles away from my grandmother’s house every single day and in between stuffing my face with vanilla froyo and Reese’s pieces I’d play the shit out of Moon Patrol, Joust, Centipede, and Tron (when I could afford it; Tron was like a whole dollar). I also was super into Pole Position in the same way I’m into Hydrothunder now. THE FREEDOM OF THE OPEN/ROAD WATER AND EXPLOSIONS OMG PREPARE TO QUALIFY/USE YOUR BOOSTER.

When the NES came out in 1986, I would go over to my friend Rose’s house and play Mario Brothers (actually this might have been on Super Nintendo? I told you – I’m a Nintendiot) for about two hours until her brother got home and then we would have driving lessons in his Jeep and, well… I kind of stopped caring about video games and started caring about boys. A lot. And my nerd obsessions also shifted to hard core sci-fi and a new surprising love of calculus and physics. This continued on into college until my third year when I woke up from a booze snooze and seized the Sega controller from my roommate’s boyfriend because oh, how I wanted to make that hedgehog roll around super fucking fast.

Once I got out of college, I could barely afford to eat, so there was no way I could afford to buy any kind of gaming system for my tiny apartment. I took a lot of post grad Victorian lit and science classes, deconstructed a shit ton of Russian novels, and then FINALLY someone gave me a Costco card and I bought an Xbox along with the first (and best) Buffy game and Splinter Cell and I never looked back.

So yeah, there is a GIANT GAPING HOLE in my video game knowledge and it’s time to fess up about it. And like a lot of perfectionists, I stay far away from things that don’t come easy to me so I’ve never bothered to fill that giant gaping hole (um) and I guess maybe I feel bad about it? So as my New Year’s Resolution, I am going to buy a Nintendo and play Skyward Sword (we do have a Wii) and rescue your princess from her tower and send swapnotes and stuff. God. This is going to be a lot of work. I hope you guys appreciate the sacrifices I make for you.

*Breaks out the Doritos and snuggles into the couch*


Image: skinny coder via Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Daniel says:

    My 42nd birthday is this year (I was 15 when the NES was introduced), so I guess I should be in the same boat. Sadly though, I was already an enormous dork in 1985, and saw little shame in playing Super Mario Bros.. Actually, it was preferable to the other type of shame that came with being rejected by the ladies T_T.

  2. Aticus says:

    You are all blasphemers!!!


  3. Zenjack says:

    Don’t feel bad, my dirty secret is that though I had an NES & SNES I never got into the Zelda Games. To some that’s Nintendo sacrilege.

  4. patricia says:

    Good luck to you, I ‘m 40 but spent my childhood playing a Pong game purchased at a yard sale. I recently tried to play Mario Kart on my Wii and I fell off my sofa and hurt my hip.

  5. diemrbond says:

    I too never played the Nintendo, until we owned a Wii recently (for the kids… totally).

    I went from the old Commodore Vic20 that my Dad bought when I was REALLY little, through to the C64, then we moved onto the Amiga 500 and stayed there for a looong time, until Wolfenstein/Doom ERA PCs. Then that stuck until we bought a PlayStation 1 – which my friends and I thought was far superior to the N64, etc – and we stayed with that and PC games..

    I have, to this date – never played any of the Mario games. And, I’m okay with that.

  6. MRK says:

    I, too, have a huge effin’ Nintendo gap. Like you, I played the Atari 2600, and then instead of the C64 I went the way of the Atari 800XL (HARDCORE ATARI FOR LIFE!). I tried the original Nintendo a couple of times but hated it because the the controller was this lame 4-way thumb pad. There was no way this system was going to catch on with such a lame controller, especially with the far superior joysticks out on the market. Instead of Nintendos and Segas, I went straight into PC gaming and never emerged until I could not afford to keep my PC up-to-date and bought a PlayStation late in the first gen’s cycle.

    I have only ever owned one piece of Nintendo hardware, and that was the original DS which I played for a couple of weeks until I realized that I am not much for handheld gaming (too much to do when I step outside of my home, going to play a console game when I am inside my home). Most of my knowledge of Nintendo is through keeping up with pop & gaming culture.

  7. I’m sorta the inverse of you. Sorta. I had an Atari 2600 (or was it a 5600? I was really young). I dug it, but remember how it just disappeared? So there was really no home gaming there for a few years. Maybe just 2 years, but it seemed like forever.

    Then the NES came out (you were playing an NES), and I played the HELL out of it, but then the new Nintendos came out and I couldn’t get my parents to buy them for me and I didn’t even try that hard.

    So, that’s all I ever REALLY played. Besides Civilization. I have dabbled in Civilization’s various incarnations ever since the mid-90s, but only here and there.

    I know a LOT about Nintendo and nothing else.

  8. Marie says:

    Yeah, I wasn’t allowed to have video games when I was a kid, so I know next to nothing about older games. (I also don’t play many games now, but I’m more in the know.) I get lots of “OMG, you never played that? What did you do as a kid?” Well, I did a little something called playing outside….plus lots of PBS and NickToons…

    • valhallaarwen says:

      Don’t you know playing outside is bad and passe? Just joking but it does disturb me that some kids don’t like to go outside and run around to get the wiggies out. I mean, parents wonder why their kids are so bad, fat, don’t want to do anything, and it’s becaause a lot of parents shove technology in their hands from day one. I would rather a kid play outside than to be upset if he/she couldn’t get the lastest game. Not saying all games are bad, but there is more to life than games.

  9. Gene says:

    Two words: NES Emulator.

    Okay, so that’s actually one word and one acronym. Bite me. What I’m trying to say is, it’s never too late to acquaint yourself with the classics.

  10. Lori-Anne says:

    I’m…cough…cough…about that old as well. I was a big Atari fan, played it all the time. Actually, my mom and her best friend used to sneak into my room at night and play with the sound down so they could try and beat me at Pac Man. It NEVER happened.

    But, I cannot lie…now my heart does belong to Nintendo. Although I really want an Xbox so I can play slightly um, darker games. But, I am still a rather casual player at this point in time. It’s all good…I bet there are things you know LOADS about that other people don’t. I.e, I could not hold my own with either Calculus or Physics.

  11. Geeko says:

    You are not alone my friends. There are many like you in Poland :). You see, when in USA Atari and Commodore or ZX Spectrum were on top… Poland had nothing. When Nintendo, IBM or another Atari were on Top in USA… Poland had old Commodore 64, Atari Idontevenrememberfullname, ZX Spectrum or Amiga (only the chosen ones) .
    This were times when I was born. In early 90s we were fresh out from Comunism so when almost whole West could enjoy games like Dune II or C&C or Sonic (though I’m not sure if Sonic isn’t a little younger), we played games like Moon Patrol, Montezuma or Maniac Miner and in 1995 we finally got NES… but wait… it was not exactly NES. Rossians made their own console from stolen technology (it had games like NES, it had wchole build of NES but it wasn’t NES) and they called it Pegasus. But ok, enough with boring history. The point is, most of people born in 80s and 90s in Poland knew only one Nintendo character and it was called Mario (aaaand we had no idea how famous he was) and even today Nintendo consoles are one of the less sellable products in our country. I am too a total Nintendo ignorant… what’s more I’m a total consol ignorant. In my whole life I had one console (except this poor Pegasus) and it was PSX.
    By the way if you tell me that you know Zork and you played it… I’m building you a shrine… seriously.

  12. valhallaarwen says:

    There is nothing wrong with you. I did not have a nintendo either, but I learned how to play super mario brothers too by one of my sister’s houses. I used to play video games (read quarter games). That is how I learned most of my stuff. I don’t like that stuff much which is why I don’t own one. I do think a lot of it is stupid, time consuming, etc., but that’s just me. The games that upset me the most are the exercise games ( I go to the gym for that because a game will not motivate me) or the vacation one (I will take a real vacation thank you very much).

  13. Jarvitron says:

    I never had an Atari, but I played a lot of C64 games (Beam Wars, Zork, Robinson Crusoe text rpg) but I never really got hot for games until I got my Nintendo second hand from my stepgrandfather, complete with Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt, Tetris, and Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf, and while I bricklaid a lot of Tetrises (as soon as my mom heard the music she’d usually come in and want to play so I didn’t play that very often), shot a lot of ducks (and snide dogs), and Mario’d a lot of brothers… the game I played the most was Fightin’ Golf (that tin ping is the sound of Miracle Chosuke CHOSUKEING YOUR DICKSACK RIGHT INTO THE GROUND, BITCH. THE RATTLING PING OF AN EAGLE, LIKE MY FIGHTING SPIRIT, CACAW CA CAW ETC).

    I guess what I’m saying is Nintendos are pretty good?

  14. It’s you and me, Blaine, against the world.

  15. Blaine says:

    I applaud your courage- I skipped Nintendo as well (A boatload of shit with Atari and Commodore, then Sega). The kids I babysat played Nintendo, and it never quite grabbed me. I wear my colors with pride.