3. Don’t Blink, Don’t Look Down

presented by nibbishment

When I was 9, my parents, my brother and I house-sat for a couple who lived on a lakeside lot. This family happened to have a Nintendo with a copy of Super Mario Brother 3. My parents didn’t want us to waste our time playing it when there was so much natural beauty to behold. They had a point, of course, but my brother and I still set our alarm clocks for absurdly early hours so that we could sneak down to play it. Every day for two weeks, we would get to the same exact place in the game.

I wrote that up a couple of years ago when I was going through my list of favorite video game moments. This one was number 27, which seems just about right. We so badly wanted to beat this level and it just didn’t seem possible to do so. We had no problem getting here – whistles made that almost trivial. For some reason that I don’t seem to recall, we always used our P-Wings elsewhere, which (in one of this level’s – and indeed, this’ game’s – biggest failings) would have rendered this level stupidly easy.

Oh yeah. Big fuckin’ hero flying over the entire level.

This level is short. It doesn’t seem nearly short enough when you’re a kid, but that’s most because the overly quick forced scrolling of the level. It’s the gimmick to end all gimmicks. Without the forced scrolling, this level’s a cakewalk. If the level scrolled at the speed of, say, the first forced scrolling level in world 1, this level’s still very easy. Even once you put everything together, you’ve still got a level that wouldn’t be difficult enough to be a training level on Super Meat Boy.

But to my brother and I? This level was Everest (of course, we were wrong… we didn’t find out about that until AFTER we beat this, though…) Conquering it was monumental, and I still have warm, nostalgic feelings about that week we spent waking up early in the hopes of beating…

…this guy

I know he seems anticlimactic now, but we did die to him once that week. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so pissed at a video game.

6 thoughts on “3. Don’t Blink, Don’t Look Down”

  1. Dying on an easy boss at the end of an excruciatingly difficult level is a special kind of hell indeed.

    Not necessarily related: I was playing the Wizards and Warriors game of my life and reached the boss at the end of level…four?…for only the second or third time, and the first time with several lives left. I smoked him. I was barely touched. He disappeared, and that was it. The screen didn’t advance. I just sat there running around an empty boss screen and the game was stuck there. I don’t think I ever played it again.

    1. I had that happen to me on some newer game. I want to say it might have been Mass Effect, but I’m not sure. I beat a decently hard boos, and then… nothing. I wandered around for quite a while before getting annoyed and looking it up. Turns out whichever cutscene should’ve happened after the kill never showed.

      Luckily, it didn’t autosave, either.

      1. That definitely happened to me during Mass Effect 2 and I had to do the same thing – I looked it up to find out that I was stuck. Luckily my game, too, hadn’t autosaved. Weirdly, the next time I turned it on it didn’t start with the boss – it started with the cutscene that should have happened after the boss.

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