Japanese publication CoroCoro recently polled its young readers to find out what’s popular with kids these days. As it turns out, Super Smash Bros. is the most popular brand with 17% of the vote. This got me thinking back to my childhood and the games that captured my heart all those years ago.
I grew up in the heat of the 16-bit console wars between Nintendo and Sega. Mario and Sonic fans were bitter rivals, little realizing the two would one day appear side by side. It all just seems kind of silly looking back. Video games have come a long way since I was a kid in the ’90s. First, there was a 3D revolution. Then PlayStation rose up as Sega collapsed. Eventually, Microsoft entered the race. HD graphics and online play grew to dominate the industry.
Gaming memories that last a lifetime
But as much as the industry has changed, some things are still the same. One of the first video games I truly fell in love with was the original Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64. I was eight years old when Smash launched, and I was just starting to get good at video games. As the youngest of three boys, Smash was one of the first games that really let me compete against my teenaged brothers. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so Smash was one of the games we owned instead of just renting. Naturally, we played the hell out of it. That incredible cast of iconic characters was unlike anything we had ever seen, and we never tired of competing.
Going back even further, my first console was a Sega Genesis. We had Sonic, of course, but his main series adventures weren’t what really hooked me. Instead, my favorite Sonic game was Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. That simple puzzle game absolutely captivated me from a young age. I didn’t know or care that it was a re-skin of Puyo Puyo. I couldn’t put it down, and to be honest, I still can’t. Even as an adult, it’s still one of my go-to games to blow off steam and kill a little time.
Finally, my childhood wouldn’t have been complete without Pokémon Red on Game Boy. I didn’t own it myself growing up, but I shared a file with my next door neighbor. There’s no way around it: We were terrible at it. We trained our Charizard to be way too strong before catching anything else, and we wasted our Master Ball on Articuno. We were just dumb kids who didn’t have a clue, but we had so much fun making those mistakes and learning from them.
So how about you? What were your favorite childhood video games, the ones that left the biggest impact? What gaming memories did you make that will last a lifetime? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Nintendo Enthusiast’s Managing Editor. I grew up on Super Nintendo and never stopped playing. Been writing video game news, opinions, reviews, and interviews professionally for over a decade. Favorite franchises include Zelda, Metroid, and Mother.