It was shortly after Christmas that we found ourselves at Target eyeing the wall of Wii games. As foreboding as that was we tried to find a suitable game for the kids. This was a challenge given the fact that they're all under 7. Linsey and I scanned the wall when I fixed my gaze on pure gold...... the old Mario games. These classics were bundled together in one glorious package so this was a no-brainer. We got the game and since that day it's been safely stowed away.
Last night the game was rediscovered by the youngest. He was about ready to turn it into his newest frisbee-sister-maiming weapon when we rescued it. At that moment playing that game became the next day's top priority.
The conditions were perfect the next morning. After an awesome late-night with friends the kids actually woke up late. We whipped up a nice breakfast and pulled out the plastic steering wheels. It's important to warm up with a rousing round of Mario Kart. Soon thereafter, the classics were unveiled for the first time. We started with the first Mario (released 1985). We never got any further that that because Linsey and I were totally engulfed in a nostalgic wave that muted the high-pitched pleading of the four kids we purchased the game for.
Time passed and controllers were exchanged. We watched as our kids struggled through the same pitfalls that navigated about 20 years ago. Abby tried over and over to jump by the venus fly-eating weed that poked it's head out of the big pipe. Ella struggled with the turtles, when you kick them it can be hard to jump over them as they rocket towards you after they bounce off a pipe. Jon is still trying to get his Mario to jump when he wants. It dawned on me that this experience is a lost experience for kids these days. We have four-player simultaneous action games. We don't have to wait for the new release from our favorite band to hit the CD rack at our town music store, we just go to iTunes. Kids don't buy old American cars and turn them into hot rods, they just go and get a cheap Hyundai that gets more horsepower without any modifying.
As the snow quietly fell outside and we let the day slip away to the sound of the Mario theme, I was glad. My kids will get the chance to play archaic video games about mushroom-eating plumbers on a quest to save the princess. My kids will bust their knuckles on a classic American car just to know the value of hard-work. My kids will hear me cheer for them as they win or lose at their favorite sport. My kids will live the American dream until I breathe my last breath.