I’m about to level up! The term has many meanings in this life. I believe in next level thinking. Always looking ahead. Only reflecting back but never going backwards. Pressing forward, but never forget where you started and where you came from. I believe that the above song by the rap group Social Club Misfits may be a very fitting anthem for all of my game lovers and retro fans out there. The music, the lyrics, and the crowd all get me excited every time I hear this song and watch this video. Yet as I listened to this song, I felt inspired to share a “level up” experience with my readers out there. I will encourage you to search for the hidden meanings in the text, because you do not have to be a gamer to understand the importance of the “level up” experience inside the mind of the gamer.

I recently sat down with a good friend of mine who is a die hard gamer. He decided to keep his real name discreet, but in the gaming community he is known as Mr.Metroid64. I had a chance to do a one on one interview with him, get information and objectively capture a glimpse of the essence of what the inside of the gamer’s mind looks like. What I discovered truly astounded me. I have recorded the official interview for you, my reader:

Vintage Retroman: Thank you for sitting down with me today and taking time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts with me on your perspective of the gaming community and what it stands for.

Mr.Metroid64: No problem, I’m always happy to help! As creator’s we need to lift each other up and help each other you know? I completely and unequivocally understand how important feedback is.

Vintage Retroman: Absolutely! So let’s talk a little bit about specific gaming characters. Who are your favorites off of the top of your head?

Mr. Metroid64: Man, there are so many. I would say Samus Aran, Link, Megaman and Mario, for starters. Although they were not the first characters in gaming by any means, they helped revolutionize mainstream gaming over many years.

Vintage Retroman: Very interesting! Lets dive into that a bit. I am going to go one by one and you tell me how each specific character impacted you, starting with Samus Aran from the NES classic, Metroid.

Mr. Metroid64: Well, Samus is a legend in her own right. During a time when there was no female representation of characters on the gaming stage in the mid 1980’s, Nintendo broke the gender barrier with making Samus the central hero in Metroid. When you think about the decade that this happened in, it was a defining moment because she is the original “gamer girl.” Her story, a child who had her life stolen from her and left with virtually nothing, was adopted and embraced by a new culture. Within the story, The Federation Police who trained her to be a warrior and eventually defeat Mother Brain and save the universe is so compelling. In my eyes, essentially the story of Metroid is one that says “You’re not alone, and it’s okay to be different.”

Vintage Retroman: Wow! That is some deep stuff! I appreciate your insight! So next on your list is one of my favorite characters of all time, which is Link from the Legend Of Zelda. Tell me your thoughts on how Link affected you growing up?

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Mr. Metroid64: To be brave and courageous in this life can be a daunting task at times. Link is the epidome of the “Heroes” Hero. From the beginning of the original Legend Of Zelda for the NES, as Link entered the cave with the old man, the words still echo through my head, “It’s dangerous to go alone, take this.” From the moment young Link hoisted up the wooden sword, and the player heard that heroic jingle, it still gives me goosebumps. There are life lessons we can learn from games like Zelda, because they tell a great story. One of heroism, love, compassion, loyalty, and persistence in failure. I died so many times in Zelda it is not even funny. There are truly life lessons in the amazing story of how Link loved princess Zelda, and how he would slay every creature from Moblins to Tektites in the Kingdom Of Hyrule, to rescue his damsel in distress. That evil Gannon was and still is no match, for the great green clothed warrior Link!

Vintage Retroman: Wow, incredible insight into the world of Hyrule! You know I remember being a little kid, making a homemade wooden sword from my dad’s 2×4′ wood planks in our shed, and taking the metal trash can top and running around my back yard as if it were Hyrule Field. I would battle fictitious Octoroks, all while humming the Hyrule song. You brought me back to that time. Thank you!

Mr. Metroid64: No problem! That is what it is all about, the nostalgia you get in the gaming frame of mind V.R. 🙂

Vintage Retroman: Very true, very true. Next up, you mentioned a man that my actual logo was framed after, didn’t you? The fighting robot himself! The most mega of any man in the robot universe, Megaman!

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Mr. Metroid64: Megaman is definitely one of the most influential game hero’s of all time. The half robot figure created by Dr. Light in year 20xx is a fan favorite for so many reasons. In my mind though, there is a deeper meaning behind simply defeating a robot master and taking his power. What makes Megaman unique is the way that he studies his enemies. He is about fighting for what he believes in and learning from mistakes, so he can adapt better to his surroundings. That is a life lesson that many of us could use these days. Attack the enemies of depression, self doubt, and anxiety. Then turn around and take their powers from bad and use them for good to help others. It is easier to attack someone’s depression when you have battled being depressed and been victorious over it. It is called a testimony. Megaman taught me to be strategic in the battles that I have fought, and how to take the bad and use it for good. Do you know what I am saying V.R.?

Vintage Retroman: I completely understand and agree. The first time that I beat Cutman in the original game and took his power to shoot those small scissors out of my gun, I was so excited. Now, I am even more excited because you have given me a different perspective. Since I have been damaged in the past and have conquered bad situations, I vow to use the weapons of goodness and positive thinking that I have acquired over the years to help others in their fight’s and struggles. Good stuff Mr. Metroid64

Mr. Metroid64: Think nothing of it Vintage Retroman. 🙂

Vintage Retroman: So last on your short list you mentioned none other than the legend himself, Super Mario! I am anxiously anticipating how in the world the plumber in red clothes with the M on his hat could have possibly had a profound impact on your life. 🙂

Mr. Metroid64: Ok, so think about the original Super Mario Bro’s for the Nintendo Entertainment System right? Now fast forward to 2017 with the release of the beautiful Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch. Where has Mario not been? He started in the Mushroom Kingdom, but he has been all around the world, and even out of this world to different planets in Super Mario Galaxy. He has fought Goomba’s and Koopa Troopa’s from the sunny shores in Super Mario Sunshine, to the icy tundra’s in Mario 64 and many other games. He has went missing. He has taught kids how to type in Mario Teaches Typing. He has been a doctor in Dr. Mario. He has been a professional boxing referee (See Mike Tyson’s Punchout for the NES). What has Mario not done? He recently even stared in a game called Super Mario Maker, where millions of gamer’s worldwide can create new levels for him to complete! Mario has simply taught me to enjoy life. Try new things, expand and grow, and never be stale. Do great things, while still being yourself and letting nothing or no one change who you are.

Vintage Retroman: Wow, this is a take on Mario that I have never thought about before! Thank you Mr. Metroid64. I have always enjoyed the Super Mario series, and even before that when it was simply Mario Bros. Great perspective on the red plumber! Well, I know our time is up and thank you for everything.

Mr. Metroid64: No problem Vintage Retroman. May I ask you one question before we adjourn our meeting? Why do you think that sometimes, people have the perception of the gaming community that we are just nerds, geeks, that play games all day and do not understand real life? I mean, we have jobs, families, and lives too. Why is that?

Vintage Retroman: It is my opinion Mr. Metroid64, that they just simply don’t understand our culture or influence as gamers. The gaming and retro communities are close knit. It does not matter where you are from, what age you are (or as we call it, what level you have reached), or whether you are primarily retro or an all around gamer. In our community from my experience, the color of your skin does not matter. Male or female, doesn’t matter. Single or married, does not matter. We are not a cult. We are simply a community of people who are united by the feelings of nostalgia and fun in gaming! Whether it’s Sonic The Hedgehog 1 or the new God Of War for the PS4, we just want to level up! Level up in gaming, as we level up in age. Collectively we support each other to level up in life. That is my take on it. Thank you for the question. 🙂

Mr. Metroid64: Thank you for your time as well Vintage Retroman!

Vintage Retroman: To my readers, this is Vintage Retroman and Mr. Metroid64, signing off for now.

V.R.

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