Surviving a Real-Life Video Game
A Little Background
May 04, 2011 -- Sitting at home on the sofa with my freshly washed hair wrapped under a scarf and a glass of SunnyD Strawberry Orange juice on the end table. It was my day off and I was bored out of my mind when in the midst of cleaning up my room, my eyes fell upon the Nintendo Wii sitting atop my armoire collecting dust. I've never been a huge gamer. Sure, I love video games, especially the music, but hardcore-gaming was more my brother's thing. Not that I didn't aspire to be one though. So, I promptly grabbed a chair and turned on the console. The Wii started up and of course showed that familiar channel screen, littered with downloaded virtual console games including The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Paper Mario, and Donkey Kong Country -- none of which I have finished yet. My eyes, however, fell upon one of the games on the second screen, Super Mario World. My first video game ever played.
My father never liked video games -- scratch that-- he never liked video games on consoles like NES, SNES, etc. Computer games, especially Monkey Island and King's Quest were his favorite though. But that's another post... maybe.
Anyway, after playing the game and dying multiple times -- I blame not having my whole childhood to practice not losing lives -- I got to thinking. What would it be like if the Super Mario World universe were real or more specifically, would I survive along side Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and the Princess? The short answer... no. Here's why though.
No More Life Beyond Game Over
One thing is the fact that you start off with five lives and the idea that if you get enough coins or found one of those warp pipes leading to the bonus stage AND got any of the blocks hit in the correct order at least once. Knowing all of that is probably the reason why many times I throw caution to the wind and plow through a stage at the start of my five lives. You're like, 'Whatevs, I can find more lives.' And your devil-may-care attitude doesn't change with the rapid diminish of lives -- you may say in your mind 'maybe I should be less reckless'-- but saying that doesn't work.
If you suddenly wake up, look out your window, and see all these blocks and floating mini-islands around, your first reaction would be to jump up and exclaim 'how cool!' -- or 'WTF', whichever' -- and after getting your wits together, you'd go out and try your new game with you being the title character. However, remember that it's still real life, although your surroundings now look like Super Paper Mario flipped in 3D. That meaning, you start out with one life.... ONE LIFE. Well, at least until you find a mushroom or a conveniently placed cloning tank in the lush plains of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Still, what happens after you've employed all of those extra lives? You get a game over, but your game stays over. Unlike in games, there is no computer that's counting down from 10 to 1 asking you if you want to continue. That's it. The princess is married off to Bowser, the Mushroom Kingdom is no longer the happy place it once was, you are not the celebrated hero, but the dunder-head whom the people made the mistake of asking for help.
Advice: use your lives wisely, because there's no more continue.
Tick Tock Goes The Clock
I'm a person who tends to take her time. Never in my life have I rushed to something. Well, I've rushed to finish homework before the teacher entered the room, but that's different. I even remember having been the absolute last person to finish running around our junior high's football field. The number of laps escapes me at the moment. It was years ago.
Whenever I sit down to play, I immediately start hyperventilating and gripping the controller until my hand cramps up with one look at the timer. Time is my enemy. It's not all sunshine and rainbows when time is involved. I want to meticulously search every nook and cranny of each world -- even platformers -- making sure that I haven't missed something so I wouldn't have to go back and play that specific level a hundred times just to get one measly coin. Also, I don't want to lose the level by having that timer get to zero -- although the sped up music is pretty nifty. That would just be lame. Like, question: 'why'd you lose this time?' answer: 'oh I ran out of time'. That would be like having to tell an inmate you're in jail for swiping stuffed animals or something else that shatters your nonexistent tough image. Saying that you ran out of time projects the image that you just stood there... there was no skill involved.
You may think, 'aww... quit your blubbering and play a game without a timer.' Sure, I can play a little Twilight Princess, take my time, and save Hyrule when I'm good and ready, but since this post is about video game worlds being real, you're still racing against time and can't completely eliminate it.
Princess Peach must be saved from maybe having to take care of Bowser's snot nosed kids and marrying him, Zelda has to be saved from whatever ritual, Hyrule has to be saved, you have to beat the other team... whatever it is... it has to be saved or defeated. There's a sense of urgency in and out of video games and you can't panic because really that just slows you down and increases your chances of having to use that next life. You may think it doesn't, but it does.
What good would you do Hyrule if you drowned while exploring an underwater temple without iron boots and Zora armor? One mistake because you're trying to run through the dungeon to get to Bowser and you're toast... or flattened into a pancake.
So, don't take your time. If you do, you could kiss your world as you knew it goodbye, but don't panic through out your mission either. Find a nice pace somewhere in the middle and then you'd survive your quest nicely... as far as time goes.
Physical Fitness is The Key
Yes, I'm sorry, but you have to be very fit to jump from platform to platform and Goomba to Koopa without breaking a sweat. That or be a video game sprite programmed to jump and skip. But we are carbon-based life forms and do not have the means of enhancing our strength and stamina with prosthetics like some bionic being. You can't just sit and watch TV all day, hence why I would probably fall to my death.
This doesn't apply only to being able to jump far and high, but also strength. I'm not saying you need strength behind your jumps to kill a turtle or mushroom... thing, not at all, but the master sword looks pretty heavy. I also imagine that wearing armor and carrying a shield all day would require both strength and stamina as well.
Notice I don't say 'not fat'. Just look at Mario, or Luigi... E. Honda? Rufus?
We've Come To The End
There are many reasons why I wouldn't survive a video game universe. One big reason is being afraid of most if not all the bosses and enemies in the video games I play. However, Kirby Epic Yarn might be a nice safe game to get sucked into, or have come out into the real world.
Video game worlds wouldn't be anything without magic items. I guess some aren't labeled as magic, but to us they are since they defy any real world logic. Zora armor that enables you to breathe under water. Heart containers that heal you once you... do something with them. A gold leaf that turns you into a... raccoon...... what? What if being made real, the video game world's 'magic items' no longer work as supposed to because our laws of physics are thrust upon them?
Oh well... unless a scientist invents a ray that can send us into a video game, or bring the video game to our world, we'll never know. Until then -- 2030 probably-- happy gaming!
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