Playing the (Nintendo) Game – one level at a time.

Tom from MTGCast Network recounts his epic quest to become the owner of a Nintendo Entertainment System in the summer of 1990.

Transport yourself back to the summer of 1990.  I was a pasty and pudgy 11 year old (go ahead and do the math to figure out my current geezer quotient) and I had a glaring hole in my life.  I did not own a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Tom from Magic The Gathering Cast

My family was supportive, but $200 at that time was a Herculean, and seemingly unbeatable, obstacle in order to get my hands on that amazing piece of hardware that was seemingly designed to be used in movie practical effects as a stand-in for a Cold War Russian factory.

Nintendo Entertainment System 1983

Luckily, my local cub scout group was working on a fundraiser where you could earn rewards for selling many items of unquestionably high quality.  One of the upper tier rewards was the fabled “NES Action Set”.  Inside this mythical box, you were bestowed an NES, two controllers, a Zapper and a magic cartridge with TWO games on it (Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt).

Baseball Stars NES

It took an entire summer, and pretty much every moment of free time, but I earned that NES and became a still pudgy, but somewhat tanned, 11 year old.  I have never valued or enjoyed a singular video game console as much as that early NES.  It also led our group of friends developing a novel non-violent method of settling large disputes.  Combining the time-consuming aspects of a filibuster with the obsessiveness of fantasy sports, these arguments were settled by simulating an entire baseball season (including entering in real player names for your team, often spawning creativity since you only had 6 letters per player) in Baseball Stars.  Whoever won the season, earned the right to win the argument.  This method probably worked mainly by virtue of the fact that you rarely could stay angry enough, or even remember why, after weeks of playing Baseball Stars.  Baseball Stars also taught gender equality with female players and an all-female team.

I still have that original NES and still plug it in time to time to enjoy some Baseball Stars and Dr. Mario with my wife and daughter.  Pretty awesome!

The MTGCast network is a leading-edge PodCast Network dedicated to the world of Magic the Gathering, by providing a variety of different shows for your enjoyment. You can follow Tom and the team on Facebook and Twitter.

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