Nobody loves Dr. Fetus!

SMB: Those three letters are enough to make a gamer recall some of the greatest and (occasionally) some of the hardest times of their lives. Everyone who’s played SMB can think back with a sense of triumph to their successes, and more specifically, to their failures. Sometimes the memories might have more to do with what went wrong, sure, but there is definitely a point at which that success, that victory, is achieved. When that happens, it all becomes worthwhile.

And so it is with SMBSuper Meat Boy.

Oh, you thought I was talking about that other one?

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Kirby’s Dream Land: You Know, For Kids

Kirby’s Dream Land is not a difficult game. It’s not supposed to be. It is a basic platformer that uses the Game Boy’s limited output to its best abilities to teach the basics to gamers unfamiliar with gaming, handheld or otherwise. Your one weapon: the ability to suck up enemies and blow them back out. You must use two buttons, a d-pad, and reflexes to cross a surrealistic trip to save food from an anthropomorphic penguin king. It’s silly, but it’s fun.

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Mortal Kombat: What Ratings Hath Wrought

People were decrying the influence of video games on popular culture way before Mortal Kombat came onto the scene. Arcades were time-(and money-)wasters. Tetris rotted your brain. Portable gaming systems destroyed kids’ patience (or tried that of their parents, really). If you’re a gamer who grew up in the ’80s, you know what I’m talking about.

These were just the typical portents of the doom of civilization through technology that proved to be almost entirely without base, and most people knew it. How dangerous could dumping block after block on top of one another really be? Were Mario Mario and his brother, Luigi Mario, really that much worse than the A-Team? Hadn’t people heard the same kind of arguments about film, television, and rock n’ roll? Despite a couple busts, video games got more and more popular every year with little-to-no outside intervention regarding their content.

… that is, until 1992, when a gamer could finally rip the still-beating heart out of an opponent’s chest. At that point, everything changed.

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