I once wrote a Geek in Review, called 8 Bits High and Rising (Content SFW; Site is NSFW), about my love of the Nintendo Entertainment System. I liked it so much, I adapted a great deal of it for my keynote address to PAX in 2007.
Here's part of it that's relevant to this post:
I was invited to a celebrity charity thing in Hollywood, which was sponsored by Nintendo. In addition to all the usual photographs and teen magazine interviews, shoulder pads and Aqua Net, there would be a Super Mario Bros. competition.
This wasn't some silly Starcade competition with modified versions or timed levels on certain games. It was a serious high score competition, and Jeremy and I were determined to take down the Grand Prize: a complete NES system, featuring a light gun, a robot, over twenty games, and possibly First Prize: a 20 inch color TV. While all the other young teen heartthrobs were busy being seen, signing autographs and getting their picture taken, my brother and I prepared to claim what was rightfully ours. You see, we'd been unintentionally preparing for this very moment all summer long.
Since that fateful day in Zody's, my brother and I had developed an affinity for Nintendo games. In fact, you could say we were protofanboys. We'd always liked Donkey Kong and Punch Out!!, but when a Super Mario Bros. machine was installed between Arkanoid and Pinbot at our local 7-11, we played with a cult-like dedication. Over that summer, we were those guys who nobody could beat, thanks largely to a trick we learned from one of Jeremy's friends at school. He called it "the turtle trick," and it was a way to earn almost limitless free men by freezing and jumping repeatedly on a turtle at the end of world 3-1. Though we never managed to actually beat the game during that time, using the turtle trick, we obtained and held the high score for months. (For you damn kids today, not just earning but maintaining the high score on an arcade machine was a very big deal back in those days.)
The competition rules were simple: every kid in attendance could play twice and keep their highest score. At the end of the afternoon, the four highest scores would win prizes.
Thanks to the turtle trick, a lot of patience, and a singular focus that the presence of several young starlets tested (Christina Applegate, Alyssa Milano, and Nicole Eggert among them,) my brother and I completely obliterated everyone else there, and took home the the grand and first prize.
Earlier this morning, a bunch of people messaged me on Twitter about a column at 1UP, which not only describes that fateful competition, but includes a picture of me and my brother that filled me with such joyful nostalgia, my vision temporarily blurred. You'll have to hit 1UP to see the awesome picture, but please indulge me this quote:
...all we know is that Wil Wheaton is better at Super Mario than Jason Bateman. Please feel free to pull out this fact the next time you are at a party.
Bam, said the lady.