I moved to New York City from Tulsa in the summer of 2003. I feel like I say this a lot, but that was a strange time in my life. I had upended everything I had known, while in the process making some personal decisions that hurt those close to me, not least of all the girl with whom I moved to New York. At the time we found our apartment, we were engaged; by Christmas following the move, we were no longer dating. It should tell you something about the exigencies of living in New York that we continued to live together for another year and a half after that.
In that first year, I saw Peelander-Z at Pianos on my 21st birthday, left college due to inability to pay, worked as a barista for the first (but certainly not the last) time, and met several people who would become my best friends in New York, including some fucking guy. In addition to all that, I went back to Oklahoma to reconnect with my friends and family every few months. Given my frequently-shifting personal circumstances and relationships, each visit proved to be a little different and occasionally surreal. With all that change, I needed a constant. That constant was Super Mario 64.