Recently I was introduced to Man Crates, a website that sells some very very awesome gifts for men, in crates obviously. Actual crates that you have to open with a crowbar, which luckily enough they provide otherwise I would be a bit stuck.
I took a peek at their website and I wish I had known about them before Christmas, I would have gotten myself a cool gift like this hot and spicy crate. I love spicy food.
They also have a zombie survival crate.
Well we all need to be ready for the zombie apocalypse, although I’m not sure if that crate would make it through customs and into the UK with that machete. It seems like something they might be a bit funny about.
And there is also a retro gamer crate for all your gaming nostalgia. Look at those pop rocks there. Yum.
I saw other people sharing some of their gaming memories and gaming nostalgia and thought I’d do the same.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling with this one. Not because I don’t have any such moments, memories, or nostalgia, but for the ever so more annoying reason of too much choice. Seriously there are so many moments and memories, and more keep coming to me.
It made me remember my first console, the Sega Mega Drive, and my first game on it, Disney’s Aladdin.
Look at that! Look how brilliant that is. I got that Sega Mega Drive along with Aladdin for my either my birthday or Christmas when I was 7 or 8. I can’t quite remember which. Funny how I can’t remember that, but I can remember the game.
I never actually completed the game. Even now I haven’t completed it. I would always get stuck on the same level every bloody time.
You’ve just found the genie, the lamp, and the magic carpet, the cave then starts to cave in, there’s lava everywhere and you have to quickly hop on the magic carpet and fly away.
I would rush home after school, blitz through any homework I had and then sit down and play it. I would be hoping to make some kind of progress so that when my dad got home I could show him how far I had got.
But nope, I could never escape that cave. I’d always get crushed by some falling rock.
However this isn’t really the gaming memory I wanted to share. As much as I enjoyed/hated that Aladdin game, I don’t think this is where I truly fell in love with gaming. Or maybe I did and I just don’t realise it, either way I have better gaming memories.
After much thinking and debating with myself I narrowed it down to two, Mario Kart 64 and Final Fantasy 7. I should imagine a lot of people are now daydreaming about some of their own memories of those two games.
So with nothing else to split the two I flipped a coin and Mario Kart 64 won.
Mario Kart 64 was probably the first true multi-player game I played and owned. Before that I mainly had single player games, like the Aladdin game above or Sonic the Hedgehog, with those games you had to do the classic taking it in turns with your friend, swapping the controller each time one of you died. Games today just don’t give you that fun, cheering on your friend as they play but secretly hoping they die so that you can have a go. They were always better than me so I ended up spending more time watching them than playing.
I can still remember the first time I played Mario Kart 64 with a large group of friends, one person was having a party (I can’t remember why) and there was about six of us there for it.
Since Mario Kart 64 is a four player game and there were six of us, we adopted a policy that after every tournament the player who finished last was eliminated and passed the controller onto the next player in waiting.
This meant that two of us were left watching, talking, and eating. We had loads of goodies and snacks to make our way through, well it was a party after all, including party rings!
Just look at how good they look! My favourite were always the purple ones with the yellow bits. They always seemed nicer than all the others, although eating them now they all seem to taste the same. To go along with the party rings we had popcorn, rolo’s, fruit pastilles, M&M’s, cola bottles, and bottles of pepsi, fanta and squash.
I don’t mean cola bottles as a drink but the sweets. These bad boys:
It was also at this party that I discovered one of my favoruite bands, Metallica. One of the guys had “borrowed” a couple of his older brothers CD’s for us to listen to, you know so we could pretend to be older than what we were and listen to grown up music. One of those CD’s just so happened to be ‘Ride the Lightening’ by Metallica, an album I absolutely love and one of the first I ever bought, it’s also the album that made me fall in love with all things rock and metal.
From Metallica I discovered the likes of Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Motorhead, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park etc, who would all be important whenever I had to grind to level up a character or got stuck on a level and had to play it like a millions times.
Back to Mario Kart 64 and one guy was so good that he kept winning tournament after tournament, much to the annoyance of the rest of us. so we hatched a plan to make him lose.
At the start of the next tournament the two people not currently racing started throwing sweets at the guy we couldn’t beat to distract him. They were climbing all over him, standing in his way so he couldn’t see the screen, trying to grab his control and steer him in the wrong direction, all while the rest of us tried to play the game normally so we could beat him.
It was hilarious and caused a lot of mess but we did at least manage to beat him in a race, although he wasn’t too happy about it and swore revenge.
The whole night was a blast, I don’t remember much about what happened in the game (other than losing a lot of the time), but it was one of the best nights I had gaming.
The best part about the Mario Kart games is that no matter how old you get they are still a lot fun.
When I was at uni living in a house with a bunch of friends we had a Nintendo Wii in the house with a copy of Mario Kart Wii. We would spend hours playing it and having a lot of fun in the process, just like we all did when we were younger playing earlier Mario Kart games.
In one race on one of the Yoshi tracks one person was just about to cross the finish line on the final lap when I fired a bomb forward, more hopeful than anything else, and it landed right on top of him blowing him up. That allowed me to swoop in and finish first, the two other people playing finished second and third, while a computer character came in fourth, putting the guy who got hit by the bomb in fifth. From first to fifth because of one bomb. He wasn’t happy about that. That shot remains my best one in any Mario Kart game, so much so that I’m still bragging about it.
The only thing that has changed is the drinks and snacks, instead of fizzy drinks, soda, juice etc, we now drink beer, spirits (admittedly a lot of the time with various mixers), and one time with wine.
The wine was left behind by someone at our house after a party we had thrown. Anything left behind at our house became property of the house, that was our house rule, we got a lot of free booze and food using it. It’s a good house rule.
Also the snacks are a bit different, less sweets and chocolate, more pizza and crisps.
Even the latest edition of Mario Kart, Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U (which we reviewed here), is a lot of fun and reminds me of times when I was playing Mario Kart 64. Of course that’s helped by the fact that some of the tracks from Mario Kart 64 are on Mario Kart 8 in the retro cups.
Thats just a couple of my gaming memories, I hope you enjoyed, feel free to share your own in the comments below.
Want more Mario Kart? Check out our top 10 Mario Kart 8 tracks here.