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Maarten Prinsen - issue #4

My first encounter with a real computer was somewhere near the end of the 80's. A memory I'll never e

Maarten Prinsen

June 13 · Issue #4 · View online
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My first encounter with a real computer was somewhere near the end of the 80’s. A memory I’ll never ever forget…

Now you're playing with power
The late and great Freddie Mercury warned us decades ago for the unstoppable force known as television. He was right.
As a kid growing up in the 80’s, the thought of living without tv was unbearable and even more frightening than the Gremlins, Critters and Grace Jones combined.
Every day I exposed my eyes to hours of epilepsy-inducing cartoons and countless music videos. MTV was about music back then, not about teen pregnancies, eating disorders and cheating on your boy-/girlfriend. Those were the days..
Every Saturday, before the sun even got out of bed, you could find me staring into the hypnotical light coming from the tv-set in my bedroom.
I got it from a distant relative and was extremely happy with the old fossil. The relative I mean, the tv was fairly new..
Like a sponge I absorbed all the cartoons my eyes could bear, but that wasn’t the only reason why I loved my tv so much, oh no!
There was something else, something much more important: computer games!
My friends and I just couldn’t live without them. We’d rather miss dinner than a chance to have Toad tell us The Princess was in another castle (for the umpteenth time).
There was nothing better than playing with your computer on a fall evening when the wind was howling outside and who knows what sort of creatures were terrorizing innocent people outside…
Everyone had his or her favorite console and we knew exactly where to go for an afternoon of good old-fashioned 8-, 16-, or even 32-bit fun.
On a side note: Consoles have been the beginning and sometimes the end of many friendships..
I had a Commodore Amiga 500 (complete with a memory upgrade; sweeeet!) on which I mainly played Streetfighter II, Bart Simpson vs. the Space Mutants and Mortal Kombat II until my hands were numb.
I loved my Amiga to death, even though the endless swapping of floppy discs was a bigger pain in the butt than the underwater levels in Super Mario Bros.
My Amiga and I were inseparable throughout the years. It was only when I discovered the many temptations of the internet, that we broke up. While I write this, I think about those days and am crying uncontrollably from the sudden emotions I feel.
I’m sorry, I’m only human. Or am I?
Enough about my Amiga, let’s focus on something else. Something that doesn’t make me cry.
I always wanted a Nintendo. An 8-bit of course, because that was the only one available (yes, I’m THAT old). The idea of just popping in a cartridge and playing was like a dream to me. A dream I’ve always chased.
I didn’t have a NES when I was a kid, but a friend of mine did have one. I was jealous of course, but visited him a lot. That was how we rolled back then.
I can vividly remember one afternoon. We were playing Super Mario Bros. and of course I had to be Luigi. I was just about to grab that secret 1-UP mushroom in level 1-2 when his mom all of a sudden had to yell. Dinner was ready! (Mushy potatoes, rubbery chicken and a big glob of apple sauce)
I freaked out, lost control of Luigi and he fell into a ditch. Lives left: 2.
At that point in time I sold my soul to the devil if he promised me I’d have my own Nintendo 8-bit one day. The thought of never having to be Luigi again and don’t having to stop for something as trivial as dinner was worth my soul.
A few years ago, I couldn’t resist myself and bought a Nintendo. As a matter of fact, I’m playing Super Mario Bros. as we speak. I’m Mario.
Hold on. If I’m not mistaken, I can vaguely smell sulfur.. Probably an old friend dropping by to collect what’s rightfully his after all those years…
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