Just last weekend, I spent quality video gaming time with my Dad, something I had not done in a long time. We played Mario Party 2 on the N64, where I ruthlessly beat him at the mini-games. We both had fun taking on computer-controlled Peach with her plunder box and laughing at computer-controlled Wario’s dumb game tactics.

When I was growing up, Dad and I used to play video games with each other all the time. Most of these games were Mario-based, since my Dad was (and still is) a loyal Nintendo fan, but not all of them were. He inspired my love for video games and taught me the virtues of being both a graceful loser and winner. One of the first games we played together was NES Open Tournament Golf. I was around seven years old, and I was just beginning to learn how to play the game. He would taunt me, but in an encouraging way, whenever I hit the ball into the sand pit or into a body of water. He would also point out techniques to improve my hand and eye coordination and gave me hints about which club to use at which time in the game.

NES Open Tournament Golf

NES Open Tournament Golf Title Screen

How to hit the ball

Flashing forward a few years later, when we had Mario Golf 64, he spent hours unlocking secret characters and practicing his shots on the different courses so he could whip me every time we played together (unless I sank a lucky hole-in-one, like I once did on Hole 13 in Toad Forest).

Mario Golf 64

Mario Golf 64 - how to hit the ball

We also played Crusin’ World, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Party 1 & 2 together. Dad would always play Luigi in the Mario-based games while I would always pick Mario. In Mario Kart 64, Dad liked to leave behind banana peels so Mario could slip on them, and he liked to knock my Mario racer off the edge of Choco Choco Mountain. I liked to place fake item boxes next to the real item boxes on Toad’s Turnpike and pummel his Luigi racer with strategically placed red shells whenever he was in the lead. He loved racing on the Luigi Raceway, D.K.’s Jungle Parkway, and Rainbow Road Courses.

Mario Kart 64

Rainbow Road course

My Dad would always pick Luigi

My favorite video games to play with him were (and still are) the Mario Party games for the N64. I only have 1 and 2, and have not played up to Mario Party 8 or whatever new billionth new version of the game they have released. I love these games because they play like a fun and video programmed board game, where the characters roll a dice, move the number of spaces dictated on the dice, and go toward Toad (who would supply a star for twenty coins). After all of the characters took their turn for the round, they would then get to play one of the 60-70 challenging and amusing mini-games. In Mario Party 1, we hated the mini-games where we had to twirl the Control Stick (it would hurt our palms - at one point Dad called Nintendo to complain and we got free gloves for our aching gaming hands). He loved the Luigi Engine Room board, and my favorite board was D.K.’s Jungle Adventure.

Mario Party 1

Make Bowser look funny!

The main screen for Mario Party 1. From this screen, a player could go play a game, practice minigames, go to the bank, go on the raft to the single-player game, or change their game options.

My Dad and I totally hated this game! I actually got cuts from spinning the Control stick in my palm!

I totally owned my Dad in almost all the minigames, including this one!

I would always beat him at the mini-games, because my hand-eye coordination was faster than his. We would work together to beat the computer-controlled players, and shared our frustration together when they would impede us from getting a Star or from winning a mini-game. With Mario Party 2 came new exciting mini-games, new boards (such as Mystery Land and Horror Land), along with new items (we both used the Golden Mushroom to abuse) we could use to thwart each other and the other characters from winning the game. I loved the mini-games, such as Bowser’s Big Blast and Hexagon Heat.

Mario Party 2

Let's play jump rope - with a firy twist!

One of my favorite minigames from Mario Party 2 - Bowser's Big Blast!

It didn’t matter what game I played with my Dad. We always had fun beating each other in the games, bragging of our wins, and giving each other advice about games. These games gave us a chance to bond and a chance for him to share his love of video games with me. We still sometimes play video games together, but our gaming tastes have grown differently over the years. He still loves to play games such as Super Mario 64, Yoshi’s Story, and Mario Golf. Although I still love to play these games, I have grown to love games such as The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time (my favorite of all time!), Pokemon Gold, The Sims 2, Banjo-Kazooie, and other games that my Dad either hates or does not understand. Maybe you all have played video games with your Mom and Dad and have had fun. All I know is that some of my best video gaming memories were the times I played with Dad, and I think we have lost something special by not playing together so much anymore.