Super Mario 64

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while (among other things) and have referenced it briefly.  As some may know, I recently downloaded the above game from off the Virtual Console for my Wii half so the kids could play one of the greatest games ever made and half so that I could replay it.  As much as I was looking forward to it, I really wasn’t ready for the myriad emotional reactions I’d have to the game and playing it.

The game came out in 1996 which was, for me, in many ways, one of the better years of my life.  It was my sophomore year at Pitzer.  I’d already made many of the friends I would have until now.  I was pursuing my craft to the ends that I could at that institution.  What I mean by this is, at the time, and perhaps to this day, Pitzer was not on par with its facilities nor connections to the film industry in the same way as the bigger schools such as USC, UCLA, NYU, and the like.  To be fair, Pitzer had just recently restarted their film studies program and so was essentially about 30 years behind the others.  And they were trying.  My point is not about that, though.  My point is at the time, I felt only possibility with my future career.  I was more than naive.  I’d just started writing screenplays (interestingly some of my first drafts of Chronicles of Cho were generated in this era).  I hadn’t really been rejected yet.  All I saw was possibility and all I could imagine was my financial and critical success.

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for.  This was also the year in which I started my nearly 4.5 year relationship with Amy Bonna Hoffman (Dallimore) (much more on her later).  This was a highlight for a number of reasons.  I’d split with Cynthia only a few months prior, so was feeling heart-broken and lonely.  Amy pursued me rather aggressively, which was a first for me.  She was very intriguing to me, not that Cynthia hadn’t been, but Amy somehow more so.  And then of course when we finally got around to it, the sex would become among the best I’d ever have.  Which totally fucking sucks, by the way.  To know that your fucking college girlfriend is one of the more compatible sex partners you’ll ever have in your life?  Arg.  But anyway…

All these positives, and in many cases, firsts, were happening this year.  At the sort of center of it all was the game.  I’ve been a die-hard Nintendo fan most of my life.  I won’t go into a whole thing about that except that I have generally found their consistency in quality and innovation unmatched.  For those who remember, SM64 was the first Mario game in 3D.  As Ben Ball at the time put it, “That’s phat (with a ‘p’).”

So, friends, film stuff, hot new girlfriend, games.  That was pretty much what life was for a little while.  One of my fonder memories of the time was I was playing some level on SM64 in the living room of my dorm when I was suddenly surprised to feel hands cover my eyes.  Amy had showed up to surprise me (clearly).  I think she even said, “Guess who?”  We hung out for a while and I think made out.  Not sure.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, she didn’t go to Pitzer, but t our sister school, Pomona, which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a good 20 minute walk from Pitzer.  So it wasn’t that Amy had climbed mountains to see me, but she’d definitely gone a bit out of her way.

I felt special.

I guess that’s the big deal here.  In fact, my good friend Mahesh would later tell me that when he noticed Amy’s sneak-up, he thought something along the lines of that’s what he wanted.  That kind of experience.  That kind of relationship.  Well, now he’s married to an awesome woman, so clearly, he eventually got it.  But I digress.

I felt special.  The world was my oyster.  I could do anything.  Blah blah blah.

One very specific thing I remember about SM64 is there’s a water level where you have to swim into a sunken ship.  There’s then what would now be called a mini-game involving the climbing of slippery wooden stumps to get to treasure.  I played this at Mark’n’Judy’s place for a really long time as we all anticipated my getting of the treasure.  Fun times.  And, the music was somehow really soothing and up-beat.  In fact, when I recently played the same level, it totally took me back.

Never in those days would I possibly imagine what life would look like 10 years later.

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~ by Anton A. Hill on March 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “Super Mario 64”

  1. I remember that moment well.

  2. go to my blog, http://www.supermariomodproject.wordpress.com , this is my team project im making

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