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    1. The Legend of Zelda Manga: Twilight Princess Vol. 2 Review

      Finally! August 8th has come (and gone) and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Vol. 2 manga series has arrived! I anxiously awaited the UPS delivery notification and couldn't wait to dive into the next part. I had high expectations following the strong start of Vol. 1 from Viz Media - and the second didn't disappoint. The story continues with the base story line from the video game, but with slight changes to translate the action and give our hero, Link, a voice.
      While the first was an introduction to Link and the whirlwind of twilight that had ripped through Hyrule, this second entry tackles his awakening as the hero. Let's take an in-depth look at the second part of the four-part series. Before reading further, be sure to check out our review of Volume 1.

      Caged in Twilight
      In the second installment in the series, Link awakens chained and in the form of a majestic wolf. A twilight imp by the name of Midna appears and offers him freedom, but only if he agrees to assist her on her quest. During their escape, Link discovers that he is being kept in Hyrule Castle and that the world has been flooded in Twilight. Before he can meet with destiny, Midna returns him to Ordon Village where the monkeys of the Faron Woods have become violent. What foul demons wait in the depths of the forest? Can Link trust Midna and will he ever return to his human form?

      The Light of Hyrule
      The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Vol. 2 keeps with the overall tone of Vol. 1. There are a few interesting twists to the original story involving Princess Zelda's backstory and a glimpse of Link's grizzly rival, King Bulbin. I appreciate the various perspectives presented, and it's those little details that round out the narrative. Link and Midna have met, and their dynamic is perfect. While their relationship is born out of a mutual need for one another to start, the foundation for their partnership is well established.
      Link, however, is conflicted with his duty as a hero. Though he is a reluctant champion, he manages to navigate the Twilight in his new wolf form and rises to the occasion in order to protect his home.  The darker images and violence can prove to be a bit much for very young readers, but it stays true to the original game. The stakes are raising, and it displays how the most noble creatures can be corrupted by the darkness. At the end, we are once again left with a defiant Link and an uncertain future for Hyrule. (Unless, of course, you've played the game.) While Vol. 2 did a decent job capturing the important points by weaving in some extra backstory, there is just so much to cover in four volumes. I'm concerned about how much might be left out as the series continues.
      The artistry for Twilight Princess, Vol. 2 brings out the dark theme of the Twilight realm. There is a distinct difference between the World of Light and the Twilight, and it makes the experience more immersive. The panels contain stunning images that really push the story forward, almost too quickly. However, it's a little disappointing at the end- simply because Vol. 3 is too far away. Is it March 13th yet?

      Twi light Princess, Vol. 2: Final Thoughts
      The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Vol. 2 is a great continuation of the darker video game in the franchise. The tone keeps the mature feel and has a good balance between the World of Light and Twilight artwork. The story is more character driven and provides some intriguing new details. It is a fitting continuation, and I cannot wait for the next one.
      You May Also Be Interested In:
      The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Volume 1 - Review Order the Twilight Princess Volume 2 on Amazon

        • Post Type: Review
    2. Luigi's Mansion Retrospective

      Back in 2001, Nintendo was on the verge of releasing it's latest console following the N64. This new system would take a step away from the classic cartridges in favor of slim and small discs and come in a lightweight cube-inspired design. That's not all that was planned for the future of Nintendo. The fans had long awaited a video game starring the brother of one of the most famous franchise icons of all time. Yes, 2001 brought the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube and Luigi's Mansion.

      The Younger Mario
      Luigi's Mansion, while not the first game to feature our favorite green plumber as the main character, is one of most memorable games for the Gamecube. It's a "ghost" hunting action-adventure game that pits Luigi against an unstoppable horde of ghouls and goblins.
      We join Luigi as he arrives at a creepy mansion he and his brother, Mario, won in a contest they never entered. Armed with only a flashlight, the younger brother discovers that something foul is afoot when he is promptly accosted by a legion of shadowy figures. Lucky for Luigi, Professor E. Gadd, a paranormal scientist, is on the scene testing out his newest device: the Poltergust 3000. Fearing something had happened to Mario, Luigi takes up the task of clearing out the house of ghosts and searching for his brother.

      Cleaning Luigi's Mansion
      The main goal of this action-platform adventure is to find what happened to Mario. Players guide Luigi through the mansion picking up treasure, sucking up ghosts, and uncovering secrets. In order to conduct a proper search, players must go through every room and clear out all of the enemies. After a room is clear, Luigi can search for money, special items, or keys. The game is broken into four parts: one for each floor of the mansion.
      Luigi, as terrified as he is, is armed with a flashlight, the ghost-sucking, element-blasting Poltergust 3000 and the Game Boy Horror communicator. Players can use the Game Boy Horror Communicator to check out a map of the mansion and keep track of the areas they've explored. However, before a room can be marked on the map, it has to be cleared of all the ghosts.
      In order to catch a ghost, Luigi must blast them with his flashlight to stun them. While stunned, players can try to suck up the ghost, draining their HP. If Luigi is hit, he will lose some hit points and drop some of his treasure. While some ghosts are fairly easy to catch, others have higher hit points and must be defeated with special items.Players can also encounter Boos, which are a little trickery to deal with than normal ghosts.
      Once a player catches all the ghost in an area, they must face the boss ghost. Once defeated, the ghosts are loaded into Professor E. Gadd's portrait machine and they are all available for your viewing pleasure.



      Treasures, Secrets, and Hidden Toads 
      While most of Luigi's Mansion is straight forward, there are few other tidbits that should be noted. While exploring, Luigi can find a few Toads hiding away. These little guys act as the save points of the game. Of course, if there are any creepy crawlies around, you can't use them.
      While Luigi makes his way through the mansion ghost-busting, he can make a good buck. Treasure is hidden everywhere in the boards, tapestries and cupboards. Even after a room is cleared, Luigi should be searching everywhere while he feebly cries for his brother. This is the best way to scare out hiding Boos; they could be lurking anywhere, even if the lights have come up.
      At the end of the game, the total money is tallied and players are given a score A-H. Depending on the score, a whole new mode can be unlocked - so it's a good idea to horde that moola.

      Re-Visiting Luigi's Mansion
      Luigi's Mansion is one of those games that is easy to pick up and just play. It's not very complicated and it comes with a fair amount of challenge. It's very different from other Nintendo titles, but it's incredibly short. I don't necessarily think that being a short game is a bad thing, if the price is right, of course. But the music starts to get repetitive after some time, and I wish Luigi had a bit more to say other than "
      ." Still, it was refreshing to get a game from his perspective that wasn't terrible. (*coughMarioisMissingcough*) 
      That being said, this game is incredibly fun. It's pretty satisfying to suck up all those ghouls and see the lights turn on in the mansion. Considering when the game was made, the graphics hold up pretty well, too! The puzzles are interesting and can be challenging at times, and while the story isn't something we haven't experienced, it does the job.
      The only additional criticism I could have for this game concerns the controls. At times, controlling the Poltergust 3000 was a bit of a pain, especially when you had to redirect Luigi while using it. Once you get used to the controls, it's a lot of fun. Overall, this is an excellent title to revisit.
      What do you all think? Have you played Luigi's Mansion lately? How about Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon? Let us know in the comments below.

        • Post Type: Editorial
    3. The Legend of Zelda Manga: Twilight Princess Vol. 1 Review

      The Legend of Zelda is one of the greatest video game series of all time. It also happens to be one of my favorites. When I first discovered that there was manga series based off the franchise I have played since I was a child, I had a bit of a meltdown. The series is by Akira Himekawa and every book is a treasure, including the latest based on final Zelda game on the Gamecube and the first for the Wii. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Vol. 1 debuted on February 8th, 2016 - it was translated and released in the States on March 15th, 2017, published by Viz Media.
      At first, it wasn't likely that the book would be published at all due to the game's rating and how it was received. Like the previous entries in this manga series, the Twilight Princess manga is based off the video game of the same name. This graphic novel is the first of four planned for the series.

      There is a Legend...
      Our hero, Link, is doing his best to settle down in the peaceful Ordon Village. Little does he know, his world of light is about to turn dark. Shadows have begun to stir. An ancient evil long forgotten has taken hold of the land of Hyrule. Can Link face the darkness of his former life and rise to meet his destiny? Or will he be swallowed forever by the demons lurking in his past?

      Entering The Shadow Realm
      While Twilight Princess is based off the video game, there are quite a few changes to the story. It goes further into the origins of Zant and Midna and provides Link with a backstory prior to his arrival in Ordon Village. While this added information fills in the narrative, I'm eager to see how they develop it in each volume. Focusing on our main hero, this personification of Link is different than others up to this point. He's a little rough around the edges and less eager to please. He acts like an actual teenager, which is refreshing, but he still has those familiar heroic qualities.
      The theme is much darker, and the visuals complement that vision. Some of the scenes are pretty gruesome, but then again, this was one of the more somber entries in the game franchise. As a starter, Vol. 1 does a good job drawing in the readers, leaving many unanswered questions. It also provides enough change for veterans of the series to be intrigued.  While the novel does captivate its audience, I feel like it ended far too soon. This book only covers the very beginning - and though the creators have always done well adapting the games, I can't help but worry a bit. Or maybe I just want the next volume to be out.
      I can't get over the artistry; the artwork is just outstanding. Hyrule and its inhabitants leap off the page. Each character depiction is very true to the video game. The panels are fluid, easy to follow, and they read quickly. Overall, this is a pretty good start to a series.

      Twilight Princess, Vol. 1: Final Thoughts
      The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Vol. 1 doesn't shy away from the darker themes explored in its console counterpart.Though the tone is more mature than other franchise adaptations, it is visually inspired and true to the source material. It introduces a fair amount of previously unexplored backstory and sets up its audience for the next dramatic entry; and I am excited for it! 
      You May Also Be Interested In:
      The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Volume 2 - Review Order the Twilight Princess Manga on Amazon

        • Post Type: Review
    4. Top Ten Super Mario Power-Ups

      There are very few people in the modern world, even outside the gaming community, who are unfamiliar with the world’s most famous plumber. It’d be difficult to find someone who has never given any of his games a try. Super Mario is one of the most recognizable characters in any franchise. This modern era has the plucky plumber driving go-karts, having parties, and getting into full-out brawls with his fellow Nintendo mascots. Aside from all of Mario’s side projects, he is first and foremost a platform kind of guy.
      For over thirty years, Mario has worn many different hats – or outfits to help him on his journey to rescue the princess, or whoever else needed rescuing. While each game has its share of cool power ups, the ‘outfit’ items really give Mario and friends that extra boost. With each new series entry, there is an exciting twist on a previous costume, some old favorites, or something completely fresh. Overtime, Mario has built quite the wardrobe, but not all items are made equal.
      Though new outfits will always appear in Super Mario games, there will always be a few that are cut above the rest. You all know what I’m talking about. These are the outfits gamers want to hold on to for dear life. Some can be classified into the ‘too good to use’ club – while others are the kind that a clumsy gamer will lose seconds after he or she gets it. Whatever the case, here’s a list of some of the best Super Mario power-ups.

      Honorable Mention -  Cape

      The first power-up on our list is a nod to Super Mario World's
      . This awesome power-up gives Mario the gift of flight, like a few other items in his repertoire. Obtaining a feather gives Mario a cape to help him soar across levels and it doubles as a weapon. Mario can spin and strike his enemies or come crashing down on them from above. Though the cape is an amazing tool, there are many different tools of flight in the Mario games.
      #10 -  Frog Suit
      I have a love/hate relationship with Super Mario 3's
      . On one had, it makes me a better swimmer - on the other,  his ability to maneuver on land takes a hit. The Frog Suit is pretty incredible, though. It helps Mario jump higher and water levels become much easier. The Frog Suit is considered one of the 'special' suits - the kind gamers can find in specific worlds or hidden away in a level. While this suit is cool, it's usefulness is quite limited. There are future suits that expand on the frog suit's power, and that, unfortunately, lands this power-up in the #10 spot.
      #9 - Super Mushroom

      There couldn't be a list without Mario's Super Mushroom! This iconic power-up is the first and most basic in Mario's arsenal. This little baby has helped the plumber grow larger than life in order to battle his enemies. While it is overshadowed by some of the more specialized items available, when the chips are down - this is the power-up gamers would kill to have. It pays to have that one extra hit in the face of battle. Super Mushrooms are also a great tool because they are so easy to get. Sometimes it's best to have the basics!

      #8 - Metal Cap

      Our next entry brings us an awesome power-up, courtesy of Super Mario 64. While the Wing Cap and the Invisibility Cap had their perks, they were not quite as unique as the 
      . This power-up cap transforms our hero into a nearly indestructible war machine.  Donning the Metal Cap allows Mario a limited amount of invulnerability to enemies and obstacles. It also allows Mario to sink into the depths of unknown waters and navigate the bottom without a pesky 'air' bar. Of course, with a power-up this awesome, there has to be limitations; Mario can only use the cap for a limited amount of time. That sort of power should be kept under wraps. It's not like there are any other super over-powered suits Mario can get his hands on...hahah right? 

      #7 - Cat Mario Suit

      One of my favorite suits from the newer Mario games has to be Super Mario 3D World's
      ! Obtaining this shimmering bell gives Mario and friends cat-like abilities. (no kidding!) This suit enables wall-climbing ninjas would envy, as well as powerful cat-themed attacks and all the fun of being on all fours. This is what I imagine it's like to be a cat...only much less active. Simple, strong, and fast, this suit is easy to acquire, which accounts for such a low place on the list.
      #6 - Penguin Suit

      Continuing on with the trend of adorable animal suits, New Super Mario Bros Wii added another awesome suit to the mix. The
       may seem adorable, but these cool dudes have some chill powers. Like the Frog Suit, the Penguin Suit gives Mario better aquatic mobility, but with the addition of ice powers. Yes, this power-up can help gamers freeze their enemies with ice balls, much like the ice flower. Mario can also slide across ice and water without sinking on the latter. All of these perks land this adorable suit at #6.
      #5 - Tanooki Suit

      Of course, no Top Ten Mario Power-Up list would be complete without this incredible relic from Super Mario Brothers 3:  the Tanooki Suit! While there are newer versions of this legendary suit, the original is by far the best.  Not the easiest of the suits to obtain, the Tanooki Suit has all the pros of the leaf power-up from the same game. It helps Mario fly and he can transform into a statue to protect him from enemies. The statue skill can also be dropped onto unsuspecting foes. However, this particular suit is a rare find, and of course, it could be very easy to lose.  Still, it's unique attributes and limited availability earn it a #5 spot.

      #4- Fire Flower
      The pyromaniac side of me loves the Fire Flower. Granted, some of the other items on this list have more to offer, but the Fire Flower is one of those power-ups that is useful in any situation. While a Leaf or a special suit with ice powers is very useful, when it comes to cross-platform reliability, the Fire Flower is by far the best. It's classic. When Mario grabs the coveted Fire Flower, he can lay waste to his enemies - even bosses - under a storm of fire power. Not only can Mario use this power on land, but he can use it under water - this is something that is invaluable.  While the Frog Suit can help gamers navigate the waters, the fire flower can take down enemies - which makes water levels much easier. They are also pretty easy to come by, making this classic come out on top.

      #3 - Super Star

      Another classic item to top the charts is the sought-after Super Star. This item is usual found in a ? block, a Toad House, or by defeating special enemies in Super Mario 3. The super star grants Mario ultimate invincibility from enemy damage. He can plow through enemies endlessly as long as the star's power doesn't run out. While the time limit is a bit of a bummer, it is possible to spawn numerous stars - provided Mario keeps hitting those ? blocks. Sometimes the classic items are the best. However, the time limit does land this one at #3.

      #2 - Hammer Suit

      Super Mario Brothers 3 has given gamers some of the of the best power-ups in the Mario series. The Hammer Suit is no exception. This rare power-up gives Mario the ability to take on the abilities of the dreaded Hammer Brothers. The suit provides Mario with fireball protection and hammers strong enough to take down enemies. No enemy is safe from the infinite flurry of hammers - not even Bowser. This suit is incredibly powerful, but it's not without its drawbacks. Mario does lose his ability to slide and he is not completely indestructible. This overpowered suit lands the spot at #2.


      And the winner of that #1 spot!! P-Wing
      The most epic Mario power-up is by far the
      . This amazing power up may not grant Mario invulnerability, but it can make some pretty impossible levels a cake walk. The P-Wing grants Mario flight power for a full level - and unlimited flight power puts this relic in the category: "too good to use." The same can be said for a few other on this list, but the P-Wing could be made even better with some clever maneuvering and the discovery of a Tanooki suit. Imagine it; two of the best power-ups combined as one! Add a star to that and Mario would be unstoppable. The P-Wing is such a powerful item that it has become an 'assistant' tool for players who can't quite beat the levels. I guess the same could be said for the original, but regardless, endless flight is hard to beat.  That's my Top Ten! What are your favorite Mario suits/caps? Angry there was no shoe on this list? Leave your comments below! 


        • Post Type: List
    5. Mario Jumps - But Can He Make It?

      Life is full of ridiculous shock and awe moments. Some of them are disturbing, while others keep you clutching your sides for years to come. Quite often, these two feelings collide to make a moment in life an epic historical spectacle that should be immortalized.
      [caption id=attachment_2255" align="alignleft" width="225] Yep. It really did.[/caption]
      There was this one day in my life where I thought I'd seen the most ridiculous display ever. A moment that claimed this prize of epic milestones. This time was simpler, when the worst thing in my life involved going to math class every day at Montgomery Elementary school. Yet, at this point, school was out. It was a lovely summer day with baby blue skies (you know the kind) and little wisps of marshmallow fluffy clouds drifting on a casual breeze. The buzz of dragonflies and hum of grasshoppers played a taunting tune as we were being forced into a vehicle, far away from summer fun.

      Some of us grasped onto the door in hopes that she would not close it on our fingers. My brothers and I were begging, pleading, bribing her to reconsider her position, but our propositions fell on deaf ears. And she almost did catch our fingers in the door as she slammed it shut.  
      For grueling minutes, we huddled in the center of the hot-tub-temperature of the van. It was dark(the shades were down,) sticky (someone spilled soda before,) and every thing we touched was like a burner that had been left on high for an hour.
      Finally, light leaked through as our mother climbed into the car. "We're going to grandpa's and that's the end of it. Get in your seats."

      The Horrors of Grandfather's House
      Okay, maybe we were a bit over-dramatic, but Harvey's Lake was a 40 minute drive. Going to grandpa's wasn't exactly the most ideal scenario on such a lovely summer day.  We plastered ourselves to the windows like Garfield cling decorations.
      It was always the same. Grandpa always gave us stale candy, and would ask Dennis to beat video games for him. It was all well and good, but only Dennis ever got to play and not for very long.
      "What do you think he'll have you beat this time?" Philip asked Dennis, but he wasn't paying attention. He was too busy being a moody teenager, staring out the window with his brow furrowed.
      "Doesn't matter. He probably can't even do it," I said, trying to get a rise out of him. This didn't work either. "Fine. I hope he doesn't have stale
      . ." 
      "God, would you just shut up already?" Dennis growled and hit Philip with his cap. "Just wait. We're almost there."
      I turned away from the boys and sank down into the chair. To keep my mind off the enticingly sunny world outside, I tried to think of every game Dennis had played for grandpa. He had Super Mario World, Mario All-Stars, and Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. Recently, grandpa had taken a liking to the original Super Mario Brothers. Whatever game it was, I was still happy to watch.
      [caption id=attachment_2256" align="alignright" width="300] Here...do this one difficult part so I may enjoy the spoils.[/caption]

      When we finally rolled up to the ramshackle white and grey house near Harvey's Lake, my brothers and I dog-piled out of the car in a giant lump; except for Dennis. He was still dragging his feet, grumbling about 'stupid kids.'  We climbed to our feet and brushed off our clothing. Our mother ushered us toward the house when we noticed grandpa's TV sitting outside on the stoop. We stared at it and groaned.
      "Now what are we going to do?" I whined, but I stopped once I heard the recognizable Mario jingle. My mother glanced at the television, and I craned my neck over to take a gander as well. Nothing seemed to be wrong with it. She shrugged and entered the house. We halted in the doorway.
      There was my grandfather, stooped over and staring into the smallest television I've ever seen, perhaps on a Martz Bus once. My grandpa was not a small man. He was large, about six foot, and very heavy set. His eyebrows were bushy black and his hair a wavy, permed grey. His lower lip acted like it was too big for his mouth to it protruded far beyond his top lip, making him look a bit like a bull dog. He never smiled, and he certainly wasn't about to start now.
      "Dad, what are you doing?" My mom asked, slowly guiding us into the house. "What's wrong with your tv?"
      "Nothin's wrong. There's this jump in Mario. It's too big to make," My grandpa said gruffly.
      "Wait. You couldn't make a jump in Super Mario...so-" Dennis started.
      "Got a smaller tv. Make's the jump smaller," Grandpa said.
      [caption id=attachment_2261" align="aligncenter" width="625] Oh, if only internet memes were a thing back then.[/caption]

      If only I was kidding...
      How do you react to something like that?  That lovely memory aside, I have told the story many times since then, and it never fails to get a dumbfounded look and a chuckle. There's not much more to it, but my grandpa has done many things that fall into the epic memory category.
      [caption id=attachment_2260" align="alignleft" width="300] I imagine this is the size of the jump...[/caption]

        • Post Type: Editorial
    6. Did You Have The (Nintendo) Power?

      On my journey through the world of nostalgia, the flood of memories usually involves my family. Today, video games are more or less about system quality, graphics, achievements, or
      and less about people gathering around a system to enjoy the experience. Nintendo still does it – the experience with the Wii and Wii U follows the ideals that video games should be fun for the whole family. I’m not against being a hardcore gamer – I mean, sometimes I feel like ripping a still beating heart from my opponent’s chest, but regardless there is something to be said for the special time games of old. It doesn’t have to go back as far as mine, but consider when you first fell in love with games. 
      [caption id=attachment_2154" align="alignleft" width="240] At least she has a hobby...[/caption]
      Let me take you back, and share a memory when I first fell in love with games.

      In an issue of Nintendo Power magazine, my brother, Dennis, claims there is an ad asking for photographic evidence of the completion of Super Mario World. I'm not too sure of this accusation, since there have been plenty of
       issues since then (at least until they stopped printing them) and I'm not about to go scrounging around for the answers. While a stray copy might exist in some nerdatorium-like Bat Cave, or perhaps in the archives of the Nintendo Company, the bass line of truth remains. I do not care that much to prove him wrong. Be that as it may, in the possession of our family photo album is the evidence that we did, in fact, defeat the evil Bowser and release all of the imprisoned Yoshi...or Yoshis back in 1991. 
      [caption id=attachment_2155" align="alignright" width="223] Get the POWER![/caption]
      The hype, of course, was the final battle scene. Bowser would enter the stage riding inside his floating white and green transporter, painted with an orange, clown-like smiley face. Mario would have just made it to the top of the tower after battling various Mecha-Koopas and spitting fireballs. He'd be more than just a little singed, but he might have a feather stowed away- just in case he needs his cape.
      To be frank, though, whatever form of 'power-up' he came into the final dungeon with, fire flower or feather; it was long gone by this showdown. The killer part was getting to Bowser with at least some strength, at least a mushroom. Super Mario was better than little Mario any day.
      The final dungeon is usually much more difficult than Bowser. Final levels from Mario games past consisted of one continuous level; this new final dungeon had two parts. The problem with Super Mario World’s final dungeon was a matter of personal choice. The dangers span between falling buzz saws to chattering skulls that carry Mario over lava. Every door takes Mario to a separate part of the dungeon. Of course, after we played through the game in years to come, we found a consistent pattern of easiest doors to enter. But, at this particular moment in history, we had never beaten the game.

      Facing Bowser

      Dennis, my eldest brother, sat on the edge of his heavy wooden chair, analog controller in hand, eyes squinting at the screen. Beside me, my other brother Philip stood, leaning forward like he was about to catch a fish with his hands. I wouldn't recommend catching the bone fish with razor sharp fangs that swam in Bowser's moat. My second oldest brother, Donald, paced, twiddling his fingers before his lips as he observed the final stretch from behind the couch. My mother wasn't watching at all. She was sewing a pair of jeans, but occasionally, she smirked in our direction with a shaking head.
      She had seen this all before; the anticipation, the licking of the lips, the hunched shoulders, the leaning so far in that it left one vulnerable to a shove. Whenever Dennis would get close to defeating Bowser, the opportunity would slip from his grasp by way of misstep or miscalculation. Bowser's flying clown car would crush him with its spinning turbines and he would cry out. "That was FFFu--cheap. That was cheap." Lucky to remember my mom was sitting right behind him, he would usually catch himself.
      This time was different. Dennis was in the zone. He licked his lips and kept a careful eye on Bowser. He had the algorithm memorized. Bowser would float around and throw giant bowling balls out of his clown chariot. Then he would swoop down on Mario. If the plucky plumber managed to dodge those obstacles, the King Koopa would chuck Mecha-Koops at him. Those Mecha's were oh-so-helpful for striking Bowser, once they'd become immobilized with a single jump.
      Dennis was on a roll. One hit would send that over-grown lizard flying.

      Bowser Strikes Back
      [caption id=attachment_2159" align="alignleft" width="259] This is totally not terrifying.[/caption]
      Mom had stopped sewing the jeans and watched the action on the screen. The four of us hardly noticed.
      Bowser was ticked. His eyes swirled and he waved his arms in the air. Struck by a Mecha-Koopa, his clown cart capsized. But the giant turtle, lizard, reptile-king managed to control himself and fly off screen. Suddenly, the sky rained fire. Easy enough to dodge, the little spits had two evil eye slits. After the barrage of flame, Bowser's chariot returned. This time, Princess Toadstool rose like a charmed snake and cried, "Mario!" She tossed a helpful mushroom. As the battle continued, Donald's pace quickened. The shelves shook as his feet thudded of the ground. Phil bit his nails, and with his free hand, he clutched the table that held the television.
      [caption id=attachment_2161" align="alignright" width="300] Maybe something dramatic will happen![/caption]
      "Don't touch that!" I grabbed his hand and forced it off the table. "You want the game to restart?" The good ol' Super Nintendo had sensitivity. One good shake and not only would the game be lost, but the save spot too.
      "You're not the boss of me," Phil said.
      "Quiet!" Mom was leaning forward now and watching the battle as if it were the World Series. We silenced. Dennis had made it passed the second round and Bowser was fed up. He slammed into the ground with his clown hover, turbines spinning like a windmill in a tornado. Occasionally, he tossed a Mecha-Koopa, bowling balls, or slammed into a section of the rocky castle brick.
      We stopped breathing. Dennis was hit by a spinning turbine. Super Mario shrank. It was all over. Little Mario sped out of the way as Bowser crashed along, accidentally smashing one of his own Mecha's.

      Mario Out Of Luck
      Dennis saw his opportunity. Donald stopped pacing. Phil had no more nails to chew, so he bit his fingers. I clasped my hands together, while my mother covered her mouth.Mario darted beneath the massive King Koopa, grasped the fallen Mecha and threw it high into the lightning cracked sky. Bowser saw stars. He spun out of control and flipped. Princess Toadstool floated safely down and we cheered. This was the moment we had been waiting for.
      Dennis jumped into the air...and landed hard. The table and game jarred and the screen went black.



      A collective scream shattered the room and chaos erupted. Donald ran out of the room and paced in the hall way, yelling at Dennis from a safe distance. Philip began to argue with him over whose fault it was. I was close to tears. My first real video game ending and I couldn't even watch it. 
      "Why don't you beat it again?" The voice of reason. Mom smiled from her chair. We stared at her and she shrugged. "You did it once, right?" Dennis took in a deep breath and hit the reset button. The Super Mario World coin appeared and it was game on--Part Two.
      [caption id=attachment_2164" align="alignleft" width="225] Epic SHOWDOWN...at least that's how we saw it.[/caption]
      The second round of Dennis vs. King Koopa was successful. My mother had the camera ready and Dennis kept his feet on the ground. I'll never be sure if he did send a copy to Nintendo Power. I do know that we have a copy to keep this memory; my first game ending ever.
      [caption id=attachment_2157" align="alignright" width="256] Worth all the time![/caption]
      Since then, there have been many beaten games, many entirely on my own and it was never as epic it seemed. Then again, everything seems so much cooler when you are five. It seems such a small accomplishment now since we can pretty much beat the game blind-folded after playing it so many times.
      Of course, there are so many wonderful games out there that I have yet to play, so time will tell. Perhaps my nephews or my own future children will have the same feeling one day.
      How about you readers? What was your first epic game experience? When did you fall in love with games? =) Be sure to comment! Now, go play games.
      [caption id=attachment_2212" align="aligncenter" width="1920]
      Click here so you too can see the credits!![/caption] 

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