80s, 90s, Blog, League, Video Games — August 25, 2016 8:48 pm

Pop Culture League: Olympic Hobbies

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The assignment came in for this week’s League of Extraordinary Bloggers. Being the non-sports types that we are, we totally have this covered…

“If _____ was an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal around my neck.  What’s something you are really, really good at doing?”


I’ve written before on Pop Rewind on how I wasn’t a Nintendo kid growing up. I had the Intellivision II, Tandy Coco, C64, Atari 7800, and my prized possession: the Sega Genesis.

The Genesis was a game (hah) changer for me. I had a model 1 that came with Sonic the Hedgehog and had a mail-away offer for Sonic 2, which took months and months to finally come in the mail. You see where this is heading?

I played Sonic non-stop for months. Years, really. It was my only game for a while, besides whatever I’d pick up during my weekend trip to the rental place. I had a lot of alone time with Sonic. A lot. This is going to a weird place…

Before my dad would bring home piles of Game Pro magazines for me, and like Lee mentions below– before the Internet– we had to explore on our own. We’re talkin’ boots on the ground exploration to find all the power ups hidden in each nook and cranny. I painstakingly, to the chagrin of any friend that had the misfortune of sleeping over and suggesting we play video games, went into every place I could in the game, jumping over sets of spikes to collect rings and 1UPs in Green Hill Zone, bashing into every wall in Marble Zone, and trying to figure out how to COPE with Spring Yard Zone.

Even today, if I want to play a video game, but want no challenge, I’ll pop in Sonic and glide through the levels. Failing miserably at the bonus level. Maybe I’m more of a Silver medalist at this.


Super Mario Bros. 2 Warps are pretty high on the list of things I know how to do.  It’s only natural that it should come to this.

When the game came out, it’s not like you could hop on gamefaq.com and get tips on how to master every boss.  In fact, you had to really get creative with where you dug for tips.  In my case, my mom’s beauty tip magazine explained the warp to World 5.  This was my introduction to skipping levels and I was kind of off the charts blown away by this.  I mean, how was anyone supposed to know about this?  Grab a potion, enter the dark world door, then go down a pipe?  Madness!

I was convinced there had to be more warps.  And, as it turns out, I was right.  My quest lead me to the back of the Super Mario & Zelda cereal box, straight to a tip for another warp.  I think some time later, our local TV guide had another warp on the back page.  People were buying those “Hot Tricks for Nintendo Entertainment System” novels left and right, so there was always some rumor at school about yet another warp.

Over time, I became so hyperfocused on Mario 2 warps that it took over the gameplay element.  I go down pipes and avoid levels I like because – ahhh! – warps!  But hey, I can beat the game faster than any of my friends.  In fact, I have been able to do just that since the second grade.  And that’s why if Super Mario Bros. 2 Warps were an Olympic sport, I’d totally be wearing at least a bronze medal.

Elsewhere in the Pop Culture League…:

The Rebel Page can beat you in procrastinating… if he gets around to it.

Diary of a Dorkette would make a good teammate for Lee, humming along to Mario Bros. 2!

Toy Break is also great at procrastinating. Things are getting heated in this event!

Green Plastic Squirt Gun is a champ at collecting dust!

Jathniel takes home the gold in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit!

20 Years Before 2000 is great at spending time with his kids. Seriously, aw, you rule man!

The Harvey Mercheum is… worrying. Not that it’s worrying, but it’s worrying. Got it? Good!

Yelinna is great at Toy Traveling, and that is fantastic!

Rediscover the 80s is the deserving recipient of a Contra gold medal!

Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool can beat the pants off of you at blogging!

The Toy Box would have a medal in cataloging toys– quite an Olympic feat!

The Nerd Nook would be a gold medalist for his junk drawer… and for good reason!

Marc Allie’s useless trivia would serve you well at trivia night!

Mr. Smith’s Plastic Bubble has a pentathlon (is that a thing? We don’t know sports) to beat you at!

Cool & Collected can out-LEGO you. Any. Day.

Scotch and Spacemen is a Vandal Hearts Olympian! Ain’t no shame in that video game!

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