Ugh, I'm bad at updating. I know that's the constant call of the casual blogger, but still. May 9th was the last one. And I've done stuff, too. I've seen cool things and have stuff to talk about, but nah. Just didn't feel like it, or want to devote the time.
Well all that's changed now. Now I want to talk about something that I discovered, or rather rediscovered about two weeks ago.
Like many people on the internet, I enjoy video games, and have fond memories of my early gaming experiences. Unlike many people, I never owned a Nintendo.
When it came time for me to learn what video games were, my family turned to the Commodore 64.
64K Memory? Holy Goat Balls!
It's good that we can laugh at the past and the stupid, stupid people that lived there. Certainly future generations won't look back and laugh at our hopelessly obsolete "human race."
"Ha! Organic Neurons. No, I think they're cute."
But I'm afraid I've gone off on another apocalyptic tangent. The Commodore 64 was remarkably versatile and we had a ton of games for it. The best ones included the Epyx series of Olympic games. Summer Games, Winter Games, California Games were all pretty badass.
Maniac Mansion was another fantastic game. However, we couldn't save the game and my brothers and I once got 7-8 hours of playing time into the game when I discovered one of the only ways to get a main character killed. They weren't pleased.
Then there were the arcade classics like Tapper, Spy Hunter, Centipede, BurgerTime. And then there's one game that is tougher to forget. Super Mario Brothers.
We all have embarrassing moments from our childhood. I, like most comedy writers, remember every single one of mine. One day I was talking to some friends in school about Super Mario Brothers. The dialogue went something like this:
Me: Super Mario Brothers is so cool!
Others: Yeah! Ghostbusters! Ninja Turtles!
Other: Mario is tubular! Also, slapwraps!
Me: Yeah, it's radical! You get a mushroom then you start breaking the bricks!
Other: Totally. And then the fireflower lets you shoot fireballs and you kill all the goombas!
Me: Yeah! And then you get the pineapple and your fireballs shoot down the birds that are flying around!
I'll never forget the look of combined confusion and pity that they gave me. We may have only been in first grade, but I was on the receiving end of the "Rev is either crazy or completely full of shit" glance.
My friends tried to set me straight by guaranteeing that neither of those things existed, but I played the game, dammit. I knew for a fact that the end boss was a giant Eagle, not some crazy fire-breathing turtle.
I forget how the conversation ended, but it probably just switched to the topic of how awesome pizza is.
The consensus: Very.
I put the ugly episode out of my mind until recently. Then a random spark just happened to fire up the proper net of brain cells and a question hit me:
What the Eph was I playing?
A few seconds after that hit me, I recalled the fact that from my innocent first-grader self I have evolved into a brilliant and hilarious interzone God. I have all the information of the world wide web at my fingertips, and no question is too stupid to keep me from Googling it during work hours.
I set about to uncover this mystery. What do I remember of the game from so long ago? The label was handwritten on the 5.25 inch disk with felt tipped pen... sounds like an illegal copy to me.
Ok, pay attention nitwits. Using this information I craft a Google search:
Super Mario Brothers bootleg Commodore 64
Would that be enough information?
Yes. Yes it would.
I quickly found that the lie inside my brain was a bastardization of a bastardization. The original rip off was called the Great Giana Sisters.
Call me crazy, but I actually prefer her to a fat Italian plumber.
Also, feel free to leave your own One-eyed monster joke in the comments section!
This opportunistic dupe, produced by Rainbow Arts, enjoyed some popularity before Nintendo actually noticed them and proceeded to sue their balls off.
Why such a reaction? Surely the games aren't that similar, right? We'll get to that.
Anyway, after the suing, someone out in the world decided that The Great Giana Sisters hadn't gone far enough. They proceeded to do a lovely hack job that replaced some of the graphics in the game with more familiar versions. Here's an example of what he (and then I) ended up with.
Warning - I take no responsibility for the soundtrack of this. Truth be told, I haven't even listened to it. My computer is muted right now. I'm on a schedule.
So I'm neither crazy nor a liar. Pretty convincing gameplay, all told. Add to that the fact that our C64 was hooked up to a black and white television for the majority of its life, and I'd say the mistake was pretty understandable.
So take that, jeering first graders. I wasn't some attention-starved liar, like that one kid who said he knew where his dad hid his Playboys and that you could "see everything."
My only crime was wanting to believe in a world where my Commodore 64 was every bit the game machine that the NES was. And if that's wrong, then I don't want to be right.