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Every week on The Free Cheese, we ask a question about video games. We, the editors and contributors, answer that question and post those answers in an article format for you to read and respond to. It’s a conversation that we start, and you continue.

As January begins, so does a new cover story. This month, our cover story “Remember” is focused on taking our beginnings forward to the future. We’re remembering where games started as the new year is poised to bring us new properties or revisit old ones.

It seemed fitting to ask what the first game was that we can remember playing.

 One of my earliest memories is playing the NES. It must have been between the ages of three and five. We had a little bin full of games and I can’t confirm which I played first, but my strongest memory goes to Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. More so Super Mario Bros. Whenever I had free time (which is a lot when you’re a kid), I’d be glued to the tv in the basement. I didn’t care how many times I lost. I don’t recall getting upset at losing either. I’d just switch games until I reached a game over and so on and so forth. After having my fill, I’d go play with my action figures or go outside or watch tv just to come back to Mario.

If for some reason this wasn’t my first game, then it was either Mario2, Mario3, TMNT, TMNT2, Batman, Back to the Future, Top Gun, Track & Field, Bubble Bobble, Bible Adventures, Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Blowout, or Sesame Street’s ABC’s.

 This is a tough question. I had a plethora of games to choose from when I first started. While I can’t remember the exact one, I had a hockey game, the terrible Batman Forever, Rock’n Roll Racing, and others to choose from. While it could be a number of games on the SNES, I have a gut feeling it is Super Mario World.

This makes total sense. First of all, how can you not start off playing video games without Mario being involved in some way. Also, I have an admiration for platforming games, whether the are side-scrolling or 3D, and I believe that came from Mario being my first game and being so good. I still have the memory of realizing that Mario could fly if he had the cape and got a running start. I never beat Super Mario World as a kid because I didn’t realize you had to find secrets in levels until I was older, but I remember adoring that game when I was little.

When I asked this question, I couldn’t remember if we had already discussed it in a Question of the Week but I know I’ve mentioned it once or a thousand times in other capacities.

The earliest game I can remember playing is Tetris. The music is forever looping in my mind, sometimes almost daily. The colors of each level are so simple but in combination evoke so much feeling for me even returning to them today.

My mom would play Tetris into the night most nights. My dad worked a job overnight where he had to be in at 4 AM and wake around 2, so she would stay up to make sure he was awake and ready to go. To pass the time between when I would go to bed and he would wake up, she’d play Tetris and try to beat her previous records.

It’s still the one game that I can play anytime that I need something to play.

So, what’s the first game you remember playing?

Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day.

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