MARIO BROS/DUCK HUNT/WORLD CLASS TRACK MEET
I'm rewriting this page, and covering all three on this page now, since it'll just make things easier on me.
Nintendo started releasing pack-in multicarts in general with their systems starting about 1987-1988ish. Initially there was the famous "Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt" cart, which is the one I had with my original NES (and sold). These were basically repackaging and bundling of original "black box" launch titles that were popular, with Super Mario Bros. probably being the most important (and Duck Hunt coming close behind). These came with the NES Action Set. Later there was a THREE game release - this one, which came with the same two, and World Class Track Meet - a rebranded "Track & Field" basically (which is a very rare game). About 25-30 years before the Wii, nintendo was still trying to get kids to "exercise" while they played Nintendo, and their idea was, rebrand Track & field as "World Class Track Meet" and include the "Power Mat" - a giant vinyl mat controller, that kids could "jog" on and play the game. Of course, we all just beat on it with our hands. Today, I don't even think I could play this as an adult because it'd be the equivalent of Donkey Kong stomping over a diorama of Tokyo. Probably would need an arcade-class DDR controoller for this one for me to play the last title.
Super Mario Bros. - Everyone and their dog knows about the highly influential side-scroller adventure that is Super Mario Brothers. Basically, control Mario (and Luigi in 2 player) through 32 levels to save princess Toadstool (not Peach - TOADSTOOL) from the evil Bowser Koopa. Today, I'm not quite up to speed on Mario. But back in my day, it was a BIG DEAL. First off, Mario's backstory was he and his brother Luigi, who at the time did not have ANY last name, were 2 plumbers from Brooklyn who got sucked down a tub drain into the Mushroom Kingdom. Of course, this comes from the show "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show" which had a live action segment in brooklyn with Danny Wells and Captain Lou Albino (yep the wrestler from the Cyndi Lauper video) would have celebrity guests that would just "stop by" ranging from Rob Stone to Sgt. Slaughter with various subplots of ridiculous nature. In between these live segments, we would get some sort of "Koopafied" version of a classic fairy tale, short story, or some other famous story within ranging from a Christmas Story, to Romeo and Juiliet, usually with some parody band doing a cover or parody of some famous song - not much unlike how Captain N: The GAme Master would do later (only to replace all that years later on Shout Factor with lyric-less "Mega Move" music). To me, Mario is STILL a Brooklyn plumber despite what Nintendo says. How about they bring a more adult version of the show back, with Bithead1000 as Luigi, and Jontron as Mario. Now that would be awesome.
Duck Hunt - That game with the gun - Zapper. Duck Hunt. Duch Hunt was released for the Famicom in 1984 with a much more initimidating looking fake "weapon" included (it looked like an actual gun). In Duck Hunt, you have 2 game modes - one for shooting at actual ducks, one or two at a time, and another where you shoot "clay pidgeons". Duck Hunt was quite the sensation like Wii Sports was when the Wii came out, due to it's interesting interactive gameplay vs everything else at the time. And it's had multiple reboots over the years.
World Class Track Meet - This started life as a game called "Track & Field" by Konami, and I'm guessing somewhere along the line Nintendo got to buy the franchies and rebrand or somesuch (I'll look it up someday). Anyway, this was the game that came with the huge vinyl floor mat that you'd stomp on to simulate actually running - it was Wii Sports 20 years BEFORE Wii Sports. The whole idea was to get us kids off our lazy patoots and actually excersize. If you saw my SMB3 writing, that was a big deal back then, parents wanted us to go outside and play like they did in the 50's-70's - so I'm sure Nintendo saw an opportunity - the kids get to stay inside and play video games (WCTM/Track & Field), and the kids get exercise - totally missing the point that the parents want us to go away.This was a later pack in cartridge and seems to be a little less as common from the earlier onoes. When I bought it from a friend years ago I tried to get the power pad but I think his cat scratched it/tore iit up. Not like I'd really care, a 40 year old man stomping o n a piece of vinyl designed for a 100LB 8 year old circa 1992 would not end well. Honestly, if I really ever get the urge to play #3 someday - I'll just build my own controller using a stairmaster exercise machine and some actuators - it's the ADULT version!
Multicarts & Cat Pee - My Experiences
The original pack-in with my 1990 Nintendo was the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt cart, the most common one (which ame in 2 label styles, one that was dark dark blue with stars, and the version I had that was black). My old pal from my sister's collegate neighborhood had this for his Nintendo and I bought his NES stuff out in 1997, I did not get the power pad because I think his cat Memphis ate it or something, LOL. Anyway, this is going to be a long group of experiences.....about each game individually, and the multicart as a whole.
Super Mario Bros. - On my original 2 game pack-in I think it was maybe over a month before we could figure out how to get the darned thing to switch to Super Mario Bros. It seemed like every time I turned on the Nintendo it'd switch to Duck Hunt, so that's all I played for awhile. When I finally got into this it was pretty neat but a bizzaro surprise because my first exposure to the titular Mario series was Super Mario Bros. 2, so it felt like a downgrade. But it has it's own unique vibe. That kind of vbe that makes me want to mute it and put on Mr. Mister's "Welcome to the Real World" album - seriously, try it, that's one damn good album to put on during Super Mario Bros. if you're tired of the hilarious and chromatic soundtrack. See, I started off an ATARI guy - I had to physically walk up to the console or put it on the coffee table, and THEN toggle the switches around to do all the things I could do from the comfort of my chair with a Gamepad.
But the impact of Super mario Bros. cannot be understated. I missed the initial hype, but I knew it was a big thing as I went around Kinder Care hearing about Super Mario Bros - yeah, I dunno why I can remember that far back either, seriously, I'm still scanning my childhood for whatever fucked up trauma allows me to remember back to age 3! Kids had the lunchboxes, there was a TV show I completley missed for a period of 4 years before seeing it, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, where Captain Lou Albino as Mario and Danny Wells as Luigi would get into various domestic misadventures wiwth celebrities at their plumbing shop before a Mario-Themed rip-off of a famous movie or TV show would play for about 24 minutes. Playing the first one, I still like it, and sometimes I prefer it just because of it's simplicity.
I played it a LOT at first when that was the only Mario Game I had. I got 3 next, and then 2 after a long long time of chasing it down, AFTER I started collecting. And then I sold that one for Dragon Warrior IV just a year ago (2021). I'm at a point I played this first installment so much as a kid that I have the muscle memory still down all these years later, and I started playing this when I was 8! I'm writing this and I'm less than a handful of months shy of 40 now and I beat this no more than 2 years ago for like, the 5th time or so. I even developed my own hand technique for the Mario games that allows me to have very precise and fast control.
Duck Hunt - I think Duck Hunt was one of the first 3 NES games I played at that babysitting gig with the rich kids outside town. Duck Hunt I remember was so cool because you had this facsimilie of a space gun you could shoot at your TV with. Back then, we all through that the Zapper was actually shooting the screen and somehow the Nintendo could detect a hit with an infrared flash or something - like there was some kind of entertainment-centric detector inside cathode ray tubes. I took me 2 decades and the internet to learn that it was the GUN detecting the images on screen when the screen flashed and eveerything turns white.
Honestly, in 2022, I had a bit of a wild hare and finally did what I wanted to do - it's in the videos below - I made a YouTube showing Duck Hunt being played as you would expect, with the Zapper Gun, on a real cathode Ray Tube TV. I don't think ANYONE on YouTube has played Duck Hunt with a Zapper like I have with the webcam and the full visibility. It's pretty insane to watch. And yes, I deliberatley dressed Retro 80's for the occasion, even though I'm almost as pixelated as the NES game itself in my tiny window.
World Class Track Meet - I have the most limited experience with this one out of all thhe games in my collection. See, when I was a kid, I'd visit Jonathan and we'd play this. I remember playing it and being absolutley TERRIFIED because I thought I'd slip on the mat - as you HAD to play it with socks, shoes could break it per the manual - so here I am on this giant power pad mat, nearing 6 foot tall already at age 11, over 130LBS (well over the weight limit for the mat - I was a big guy at 11, people thought I was 16), trying to outrun my friend without falling over, knocking the little 13" Magnavox TV over onto my head, and adding some more childhood scars to myself. Usually it'd just end with us "boxing" the mat with our fists instead because running on it was so unsafe, lol.These days, the only way you'd get me to play World Class Track meet would be to rig it to a treadmill!
Other Documents I've Written (Here and Elsewhere)
Review of Super Mario Bros. (GameFAQs)
Review of Duck Hunt (GameFAQs)
Review of World Class Track Meet (GameFAQs)