We’re finally here. Fall is around the corner, football is back, and in about two weeks, we’ll finally have games worth discussing again. So with that, we only have about two more weeks of #WeeklyRanked to cover. What I’d like to do is make next week basically a mailbag of weekly ranked and just hit a bunch of fan questions all at once. Like a giant bukkake of fan questions, and I’m at the center of it all. (On an unrelated not, I have decided that weed is bad and I need to stop) So, follow me on Twitter (@UnfilteredNerd), and look out for a tweet sometime today regarding this subject.

This week, I’m gonna let y’all into my deep dark twisted soul as I share 5 of the games that have changed me over the years as a gamer. And by changed me, I mean turned me into the incredible gaming critic you read every weekday during your lunch break. That’s right, I’m sharing my secret as to why I can look at a game like Crackdown 3 and immediately know it’s gonna be trash. You’re welcome. I’m not gonna actually do them in a “top 5” format though, since that will become way too confusing. Instead, I’m gonna introduce them in a linear fashion, starting with one of the first games that I ever played:

Numbuh 5: Super Mario World

I grew up playing video games at a very young age. My parents bought a family NES in 1997, and I remember playing games like Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros, and Tetris for about two or three weeks before they finally determined that my sister and I were too young still. Then in 1999, my family purchased a SNES, and my whole life changed. Again, I’d played other games around this time, like Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, and Hang-On on my cousin’s Sega Genesis. But the one thing I still hadn’t learned by this time in my gaming career was that you’re actually supposed to play these games until you beat them. Enter me at the age of 8, with bloodshot eyes trying my best to convince my mom that I was fine and to let me just play one more level. I don’t even know how long it took me to beat that game, but I’ll always remember the feeling I had when I finally beat Bowser as my two sisters and brother cheered me on. Then we realized there were secret levels and we were hooked for another 2 weeks.

Side note: this has absolutely nothing to do with Super Mario World but I laughed my ass off and nothing else is funny on YouTube regarding SMW so watch this instead.

Super Mario World not only is one of the greatest games of all time, it revolutionized the gaming industry. Up to this point, many platformers were rather repetitive. I mean play through Super Mario Bros 3 again and tell me how many levels stand out in your mind. Not many. Then, you pick up Super Mario World and you’re like “holy fucking shit what is going on” for the entire 10 hours of gaming. Take the first level for example. In Super Mario Bros 3, you know you’re gonna encounter some Goombas, maybe some Koopas, get a mushroom, and if you’re lucky, maybe even shoot some fireballs. Then, you pick up Super Mario World, and you’re like “wait is that a dragon? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT A GIANT BULLET BILL?? THERE’S FOOTBALL PLAYERS IN THIS GAME???”. And it just gets even crazier from there. The developers did such an incredible job keeping the player engaged by making each and every level so different. I still remember some of the levels from memory, like the one where these bombs just keep floating down from the sky, or the one with a ton of crazy caterpillars, or the one where this big giant mole pops out of the mountain. Only good games leave memories like mental scars etched into your brain. This is also the first game that introduced Yoshi, and all the different colors you could get from eating different color shells. I think my sisters would just play the same level over and over again because you could get a blue Yoshi and make him fly. And finally, the game was one of the first I can remember that allowed you to beat the game in multiple ways using the warp tubes.

If you are one of those people on earth that have yet to play this game, do yourself a favor and download an emulator and ROM and play through it. You have nothing to lose, and absolutely everything to gain.