Something about having a new trumpet-playing neighbor whose music wafts through my open windows makes me feel even more New York.

I get to create a whole back story for this person – perhaps they’ve always lived there, but they just started playing. Or maybe they are someone’s child who has just started taking music lessons or an out-of-town relative staying for an extended period. It doesn’t really matter, plus, the mystery of it all is part of the fun.

It reminds me of another set of windows where another instrument could be heard. During my sophomore year of college, I lived in a dorm that was part of a  pseudo-quad set up. A very talented drummer lived across the way in the dorm just diagonal from mine. It was the only kind of noise I didn’t mind distracting me from a paper or reading. In fact, I welcomed it.

Now, here I am, six years later, in my apartment in the city that was only a dream back then…

I am a true child of the 1980s. I received my first Polly Pocket for getting straight-As (or Os as As were called at my elementary school), played with my Skip-It on the driveway, and embarked on the ultimate video game journey: to beat King Koopa of the Super Mario Brothers series.
Playing on my original NES (just using the term NES makes me smile) is a cherished chapter of my childhood. My dad and I teamed up to beat the first and third installments of the Super Mario Brothers games. (I didn’t have Super Mario Brothers 2 until my friend, Lindsey offered to trade me hers in exchange for Tetrus. I was more than happy to give it up.)
Nintendo remained a charm throughout my adolescence, even after more sophisticated devices were created (read as: Sega, Playstation, XBox, etc). Friends were always thrilled that I still had a working “old school” Nintendo. It became the sweet spot of nostalgia in my room.
Don't forget where you came from.

Don't forget where you came from.

Fast-forward to Adult Life: the Nintendo was still around, hidden somewhere, but hadn’t been played in years. During one of my last moves, my parents graciously uncovered it from the depths of their backyard shed and bestowed it upon me. It was like my 7th birthday all over again! And again, friends came out of the woodwork to play.

But now there is a new addition to the video system family. Behold the Nintendo Wii. 

 

The Wii: console, Sports game, remote, and nunchucks. Too bad those didn't come with Super Mario Brothers.

The Wii: console, Sports game, remote, and nunchucks. Too bad those didn't come with Super Mario Brothers.

 Thanks to the geniuses who created a racoon version of Mario and a whistle that could send you away to foreign lands, you can now be a better bowler, baseball player, or boxer than you ever could be in real life. And you can burn a few calories while you’re at it.

While you could argue the format and purpose has drastically changed from the early 1980s dusty Nintendo game cartridges, the spirit is very much the same.  Hell, you could probably create a Mii (aka, a digital avatar) that closely resembles Mario or Luigi if you wanted.  (Hint, hint, Wii designers.)
For me, Nintendo was always story/characters first and pretty graphics second. This resonates in games like Wii Fit where the focus is on YOU, the one trying to get in shape. The game also encourages healthy competition with friends and family which makes the experience even more personal. In fact, one of my favorite features of Fit is seeing your friends’/family members’ Miis in the background when you’re hula hooping or doing step aerobics.
I’m thankful my favorite childhood toy maker has continued to please its audiences throughout its many incarnations. I’ve still got the old NES hooked up to the TV, ready for a rainy day when I need to be 7 years old again. But when I’m playing and working out with the Wii, I swear I can hear hints of certain Super Mario Brothers theme songs. Even though the sounds are different, the feeling I get is still the same: I’m on an exciting journey and Nintendo is going to take me there.