Just wanted to share my thoughts and feelings when replaying Super Mario World recently.
A little background, my mother died few months back due to cancer… It was just her and I against the world. Not only was she my only parent, my walking angel and stable rock; she was my best friend.
She was the one that introduced me into video gaming and video games were a shared hobby. Although she migrated into playing mobile games in recent years, she would always watch me play. She was a true backseat gamer; especially when I played story driven games. I will never forget some of our interactions we had when she would watch. Some examples off the top of my head was when she hated me for playing as a renegade female Shepard. We debated about the ending of Last of Us and Red Dead Redemption. Before she became severely ill, the last game she watched me play was Return of the Obra Dinn. We would spend hours trying to figure out the puzzles and jokingly speculate how the many souls met their fate.
…When she succumbed to cancer I was deflated. Playing video games just hurt and I didn't play them for sometime. But recently, a friend recommended that I should start playing some video games again. To get over the stress I have been experiencing but also as a way to handle my grief of losing my mother. He strongly recommended that I should play a game that both she and I loved as a starting point. That was when I picked Super Mario World.
During my first early play throughs of Super Mario World, I just used the warp zones to fast track myself to finish the game. After that, I felt dissatisfied. I then decided to not use the warp zones and play the game more traditionally. Went to each world and played each level. This is when my heart started to ache. The memories began to flood into my mind. I would remember the small little lessons and strategies she would teach me. When playing some certain levels, I would remember watching her as a young boy complete it thinking my mother was the best gamer in the world. I can gleefully feel a genuine smile on my face for the first time in awhile. I was happy. The waterworks began when I started playing levels from star road. This got the tears flowing because I remember sharing this secret with my mother. I remember figuring out on my own how to get to star road and telling my mother. She was in shock and awe. However, years later when I brought up that memory, she said she already knew how to get to star road. But she iterated, "Who am I to ruin that experience for you telling me about star road".
After playing the levels in star road; when I began a new play through of Super Mario World I could not stop crying. The music is so nostalgic it brings me back to a simpler time. The gameplay remains the same and my platforming of Mario returned naturally as if it was muscle memory.
Thanks to Super Mario World, I been able to deal with some of my grief. And thanks to Super Mario World, I have been able to regain enjoyment from playing video games again. I do not have the feeling of sadness anymore nor guilt when playing video games. I even started playing God of War (2018) recently which has been awesome so far.
But when I continue to go back to Super Mario World. I still tear up and I do continue to cry. But now, those tears are not because of sadness nor grief. Rather, those tears are happiness because of the fond memories I had with my mother playing Super Mario World. That was our game.
This post is just me, wanting to share my thoughts and feelings when replaying Super Mario World.
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