stupid stuff you thought about games as a kid

This week‘s podcast episode title reminded me of grade-five me, learnin’ how to be a hardcore gamer from my hardcore gamer friend (he had a SNES and introduced me to EarthBound and FF6 while I was playing hockey and golf games and Bubsy on my Genesis).

He assured me that the word "ocarina" was, in fact, pronounced "orcana." I took this into consideration.

This same friend also assured me that "chocobo" was pronounced "cock-a-boo."

I always held a sneaking suspicion that he may have been wrong, but his gaming knowledge was clearly deeper and more arcane than my own, and even as a child, his ability to spin long and entertaining yarns about a fictional ninja he'd imagined was overwhelming and hilarious. And so, I chose to believe. And therein lay the magic.

I stand by most of this but I will concede that Lenny was perfectly within his rights to buy Super International Cricket

The Genesis truly was Ninjas Punks and Tough Guys: The Console.

Not quite sure why, but despite being a sufficiently literate child, I chose to read these large red block letters as “NOT FOR RELEASE,” as in “this radical hedgehog is just too radical to be safely released…so don’t!” I suppose I just wouldn’t have been able to wrap my young brain around what “NOT FOR RESALE” meant, so I of course unconsciously interpreted it in the parlance of the edgy marketing of the time.

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I remember when Nintendo Power showed stuff for the N64, I was really skeptical about the concept of 3D games. I didn't understand that 3D environments were still finite, designed spaces just like any other game, and thought that maybe you could just wander off in the wrong direction forever, and just never find your way back to where the level is. This would have been when I was like seven years old

@“GigaSlime”#p47141 Yes! I can relate to this. I think I‘ve told this story elsewhere on the forum, but…

Before the release of the N64, I saw video of Mario swinging Bowser around by the tail and launching him, and that image burned itself into my imagination.

Some time later, while at the video rental store with my friend (a different friend than the one I mentioned above), we found Super Mario RPG available. Since it appeared to have 3D-ish graphics, I was convinced that this was the game I’d seen on TV, and convinced him of the same. We brought it back to his house, and since he wasn't an RPG liker, I encountered some strong resistance at first (but we both eventually learned to lover Super Mario RPG).

The moral of the story is: There was a time there where video games with 3D spaces was a hard concept to even wrap your brain around!

@“gsk”#p47138 astoundingly accurate lol

I remember my entire 2nd grade class trying to figure out how to pronounce "Guile" and nobody getting close

I started gaming at 4 or 5 after getting my cousin‘s GBC with pokemon gold silver and crystal. I didn’t know English and certainly didn't know what saving was. I always ended the game session on the exact same tile the previous save was made on, somewhere on the rightmost lake in Route 44. So I could continue where I left off…?

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@“Snowdecahedron”#p47146 For some reason I find this adorable.

@“Syzygy”#p47156 Fascinating to learn that SCA is a culture that a) exists and b) one can be born into.

I just wanted to say that I purchased an ocarina (post-Ocarina of Time) from some similar tchotchke merchant, and it was shaped like the one you've shown us here. Mine was made of a porcelain style material, which I'm not sure is typical. I think I still have it somewhere! It was hard to play in a way that didn't sound grating.

Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland is one of the first games I played on my sister‘s Game Boy Advance, and for some reason I could have Sworn To The Good Lord God Above that you could swallow this frog on exactly this screen to get a frog ability.[upl-image-preview url=//]

I don’t know what planted this idea in my brain - maybe a dream, maybe my brain was crossing wires with this and Super Mario Bros. 3 on the GBA, maybe my sister said something about it - but I had such a vivid image of this in my head that it took me literal years to shake off. For a very long time I would always swallow this frog and always be surprised that Kirby gets no ability from it. Even now to this day when I replay this game (NOT the NES version - obviously there‘s no frog ability in that!) I still catch myself saying "Oh yeah, isn’t there a frog ability here?" before quickly catching myself and remembering that's just something Baby Funbil came up with.

Maybe more of a hopeful naïvety than stupidity: as a kid I sold my N64 and all its games in order to buy a Wii, thinking I'd just be able to redownload all the games through Wii Virtual Console.

R.I.P. to GoldenEye, Pokémon Stadium 2 and Cruis'n Exotica, among others.

@“Syzygy”#p47156 should you be using a computer?

All this talk of Orcana of Time reminded me of a few personal video game learning experiences that came along with my first play-through of that game.

The N64 was my second console after the Game Boy, and Ocarina of Time was my first Zelda game. Before even seeing the game, I remember being amazed listening to a friend on my school bus telling me about how "the sun sets, you hear a wolf howl, and then skeletons come out of the ground". I remember asking if you could find the wolf, he said yes, and my little baby brain exploded.

After listening in awe to his detailed descriptions every day on the way home from school, I got the game for Christmas. I made my way into the Great Deku Tree. Almost immediately, I got stuck in one of the first rooms and couldn't find the next door. I ended up calling him to ask where the next door was, and he told me I was done in that room and could leave through the same door. I had never played a game that wasn't completely linear before.

When I eventually got to the bottom of the well section, I was having a really rough time. My cousin came over and offered to help me out. We turned it on and he was greeted by young link standing in a nearly pitch black void. He laughed and went into the menu on the TV and turned the brightness up. I didn't even know this was possible.

I remember playing Link to the Past on GBA and being astounded that the game didn't end after beating Aganhim in the castle. I think it took a long time for me to reach that point, as I was on a cartridge which didnt save.

I played [Spy vs Spy]( on PS2 and having never played any game with guns in it I was really scared to leave my base. I think I thought that if I got shot I would die instantly. This led to me trying to play this game with stealth, hiding behind pillars and only going to empty places. If an AI Spy saw me I would run back to my base. Also the carnival level always creeped me out, more than the haunted house so I would never let my friends play that one on multiplayer.

I was in 6th grade maybe and I thought the turbo touch 360 game pad controllers ad copy about response speed meant I could make sonic run faster with it. I assumed knuckles would be able to smash through more of the terrain.

My older friend said something to the effect of "it doesn't reprogram the game dude" and "no way the game designers intended for that". I in that moment felt real dumb but also put together from other thing things I already knew that: people make games and that games have rules and aren't just things happening in imaginary space. Like I knew the level was made by people at sega but it never occurred to me that like sonic's jump was also a created thing.

It took me embarrassingly long to realize that other turn-based RPGs did not have timing-based action commands like the Mario ones, and whether my attacks got critical hits or not in, say, Chrono Trigger was decided at random regardless of my input. It just seemed so intuitive!

@“2501”#p47322 I feel like this is adjacent to “Hold down the B button (or whatever button group) to guarantee catching a pokemon!” which circulated so many recess playgrounds. Aside from being intuitive, I think there‘s something interesting to gleam there about player feedback. It simply feels better to do some kind of input while you see something happen on the screen - pressing the B button makes it feel like you’re catching the pokemon, or pressing the action button makes your hit feel stronger even though none of this is true. It makes sense that kids would wind up equating these things when they happen by pure coincidence, just because it feels right!

@“2501”#p47322 Similarly I first played Fire Emblem 7 when I was or 7 or 8 years old. When a battle animation would begin I thought I had to mash buttons to get anything to happen (attacks, dodges, critical hits, attacking twice). It suffices to say I didn‘t make it very far in the game (I also didn’t read any of the in-game text and have no idea how I managed to make anything happen at all).

The first game I ever played on my PSX was RayStorm. It was my understanding that if I bought a memory card I could continue my game where I left off, of course, I had no concept of what a domestic arcade release was, therefore I had my regular game shop replace the memory card three times before I finally understood how dumb I was being. Not proud of this one guys but I did learn the lesson :fist: