Super Mario 64 ruined my life. My seventh birthday was unforgettable. I had bugged my parents for months to get me a Nintendo 64. On the morning I turned 7, I ran downstairs, saw a massive gift, tore into the paper, and unwrapped my first video game console. With it, my parents also bought me the definitive N64 game and the greatest launch title ever produced: Super Mario 64.
My dad set the console up in our living room as I eagerly watched. My hands trembled with excitement as I picked up the controller. I flipped the power switch, and my life was forever changed. I was now a gamer. The rest of the morning was spent defeating King Bob-omb and Koopa the Quick. Eventually, my mom made me put down the controller. We went to eat pizza, play mini golf, and race go-karts. That afternoon was one of the most memorable times of my childhood, but I was still excited to go home and play more Super Mario 64.
When we arrived back at our house, my skin was still toasty from spending hours in the Texas sun. The only light I planned on bathing in for the rest of the day was going to come out of the TV set. I turned the console back on. I was ready to move Mario on from Bob-omb Battlefield to Whomp’s Fortress. But instead I had another idea: Why not just start over from the beginning?