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The Moment

Everyone has important moments in their lives: graduations, weddings, even children's births. Some of us have moments that are all our own. This is one of my moments: the first time I played a video game.

It was the summer of 1986. I was a 6-year-old country girl in New York City. Every year my family visited my aunt and uncle and their son and daughter in The Big Apple.


That summer the weather was sweltering. We spent a few days going to Jones Beach, cooling off in the ocean. Another we forced ourselves to play in the courtyard, with the promise of Mr. Softee (the ice-cream truck) being leveraged over our heads. Everyday was becoming more unbearable, so one day our mothers relented and agreed to let us stay inside in the AC.

After breakfast, my cousin and I landed in his room. He was teaching me about tagging and graffiti for a while before we started getting bored. He suggested playing Mario, which was a sentence that didn't make sense to me.

Turns out that sentence changed my whole life.

My cousin turned on his TV and then pushed a button on a gray box...and there he was, Mario. I know technically there was a screen where you had to choose Super Mario Bros. or Duck Hunt, but I don't remember it. I just remember the title screen to Super Mario Brothers. I remember staring at this little pixel man auto-running before the game started. I was happy just watching and then my cousin told me I could do all those things.


It was the coolest thing I had never thought of doing.

Since my cousin knew the game backwards and forwards, he showed me a quick playthrough. He showed me how to jump and run, but more importantly he showed me secrets: hidden blocks, warp pipes, and the thing I still remember most of all, vine dancing.

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For some reason, vine dancing made me want to play Super Mario Brothers. Such a simple move, but after that I was ready to pick up a controller.


I spent the rest of the week playing Mario with my cousin. Sometimes we would play together. Sometimes he was the human walkthrough sitting beside me, giving me help and encouragement. We played all day. We played until our parents yelled at us to go to bed, and then we played some more. It was my first late-night playing marathon. It still amazes me in the time before the internet, how he knew so much about a game filled with things to discover.

That week changed my life. The next Christmas I got my own NES, which I still play every so often. I had my own Super Mario Bros. to play, but I still remember that summer and vine dancing. It started my whole life of being a gamer.


So what are your video game moments?

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