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So I'm back up in the game
Running things to keep my swing
Letting all the people know
That I'm back to run the show

Ahh, Mark Morrison's Return of the Mack... love that song...

From January 17 to January 30, 2006, I experienced three different "comebacks" within the short span of just two weeks...


It all started in the late stages of 2005. The Fall of 2005 was my 2nd-to-last college semester as an undergrad. I minored in Theatre Arts and it had always been my dream to make a show. That semester, I saw that dream come true when I was casted. It was the thrill of my collegiate career

Those late night rehearsals, locker room ribbing and performances will live on forever in my soul. It was everything I expected, and more. The cast got along great, we put on a hell of a show (six times, in fact), we went out clubbing together, postshow dinners, slumber parties, etc. I'll never forget the rush coursing through my veins when I finally made my acting debut on the big stage. I opened with a monologue... all in all I never felt more productive or alive during my college experience than those 3 weeks in late 2005. I'll always look back on those days with a real
deep fondness (for more see Playback, Playback II, Playback III)

So, the Fall 2005 semester ended on a really high note. With Finals completed mid-December, I had til late January '06 to enjoy myself. During December, I played a TON of Saturn Bomberman with my cousins. 10-player mode. Good times

But when they left,
and the multi-tap and
controllers were put
away, I suddenly
longed to play. . . a
platformer. Yet, oddly,
as I browsed through
Gex, Pandemonium!,
Keio Yugekitai, Tryrush
Deppy, Willy Wombat,
Steamgear Mash
... a
feeling of dis-interest
clouded my thoughts

And right then I realized the Saturn was lacking in this timeless genre. And the SNES immediately sprung to mind. I remember it being a haven for platformers. One thing led
to the next, and January 17, 2006.... I finally bought the system (again)

So that's the story of how I came back to the SNES... it's funny, because I made a post
on 1.15.05 asking whether I should get the system or not:

  • Dunno if I should get a SNES or not

    I kinda want one, and there's one available at Game Crazy, but a part of me is like
    "save all that money and use it on something else"

    I dunno. I guess I'm just asking for stories and/or a list of your favorite SNES games.
    If I get one I'm sure I'd buy a lot of games but I already have a lot of (largely) unplayed
    video games sitting around the house that "I swear one day I'll get to"

    Sure it'd be nice to own games like Super Mario World, Mario All-Stars, Ken Griffey Baseball, Contra III, Super Metroid and whatnot, but will I have time to play these
    games?  I'm not sure

    I was standing there at Game Crazy pondering the thought today, but I just couldn't
    bring myself to buy one for $29.99

I ended up not buying. My girlfriend at the time convinced me not to...

Ironically, just about ONE YEAR LATER..... 1.16.06

  • Well guys, looks like I'm getting a Super Nintendo


    Recently over this long winter break I've had the urge to play some SNES and
    my all time favorite 2D baseball title, the original Ken Griffey Jr.

    I'm also looking forward to finally play classics I've never (really) played before,
    including Super Metroid and Legend of Zelda... lol I know, hang him!!!!111

Two days later, 1.18.06

  • I got SNES Fever

    For the past couple years I semi-seriously asked myself from time to time... should
    I get a Super Nintendo?  Finally, I caved in.

    Man, I'm just looking forward to reliving good ole memories (Ken Griffey Baseball,
    NBA Live 98, etc.) and experiencing gems I never played back in the day (Super
    Metroid, Legend of Zelda, etc.)

    I already got a system on the way, and about... hmm, 40 games coming??  Back
    when my bro and I had a Super Nintendo we maxed out at around 22 games. So I'm
    gonna have more SNES games in one night than I ever did in 8 years!  (the amount
    of time we originally owned one before giving it to our little cousins)

    Anyway, this new gaming passion has lit a fire under my ass. For years I had been
    focusing on Saturn, and to a lesser extent the Dreamcast (BTW just bought Cannon
    Spike and Gunbird 2 -- woo hoo), but the SNES... man, lotsa good memories from
    my childhood

    Here's to good times

I don't know what it is about mid January, but those long winter breaks does things to a man =p

Anyway, January 25, 2006 was the 1st day of the spring semester. I remember it well. I only had one class that morning: 9 to 10:15. I had two girl friends in that class, and afterwards we went to the book store together to buy books for our classes. They had a couple text books they didn't sell last semester which I was looking for this semester, so they saved me $70! It's always good to have connections! God Bless ya Jeannette!

Afterwards, I drove to Game Crazy at 11:30

I spotted Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and immediately grabbed it. Then I picked off Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues

I brought them to the counter

The clerk said, "Hey, you get a free game"

"Oh yeah?"

"We're doing a buy 2, get 1 free deal"

So I added The Lost Vikings. My total was $10.80. Then I asked out of the blue, "Got any Saturn games?"

He pulled out a binder. "Actually, yeah. Whatever's in there -- we got it in a couple days ago, but it's not out on public display. I figured no one would want these games"

Oh, is that so?  I thought. Eh, a look can't hurt....

I figured it would be a bunch of World Series Baseball II's... but imagine my surprise when I saw Saturn Bomberman, Iron Storm, Shining Force and Dark Savior!  I got the latter 3 for $2.99 each, and Saturn Bomberman for free

"Wow," I told him. "I had no idea I would be walking out with 7 games"

He smiled. "Totally. You got yourself a pretty sweet deal there"

I sold Shining Wisdom, and gave the other 3 for free to a buddy of mine

They were extra's after all. He repaid me when he sent me EVO: Search of Eden, Megaman Soccer and other stuff a month or two later... what comes around goes around

This was a sweet day. 1st day of school, couple girl friends in same class, they saved me $70 bucks, I dropped by Game Crazy expecting to find nada but came away with 7 great games for
a hell of a deal. Things were looking up, all right....


The very next day, Thursday January 26, 2006... man... what a day

I took this acting class the previous semester... but it was more like a club/frat thing. I met a
lot of cool cats and we hit the road quite a bit, putting on shows for local kids. It was a great experience. In fact, I loved it so much in the Fall of '05, I took it again in the Spring of '06 for
the hell of it!

And so... it was on that Thursday of January 26, 2006, that I returned to this particular fraternity. Also coming back for a 2nd go-round were 5 other classmates of mine last semester. We just couldn't get enough

We went through introductions that first day. I sat there with my 5 returning friends. And when Professor got to us, he grinned and said

"Last but not least... we have Murderer's Row"

He let us out early that day, around 3-ish. On the way to the parking lot, I bumped into one of
my co-actors from our play. What randomness! We greeted, laughed and all that. It was great
to see that fool. We were always cracking jokes and having a blast back stage. For more on
Darius, see Playback II

It was awesome to be back with those guys... the semester wasn't as fun as last time, but it
was still enjoyable. The highlight came when I got to play the role of the great doctor Martin
Luther King Jr.
(in his high school years where he was winning speech contests sponsored
by the Negro elks) in a play we ran for local elementary kids


After my random encounter with my former co-actor, I made my way to my car on the roof top... but I wasn't ready to go home, yet

Actually, home WAS calling....

You see....

, on this very day of January 26, 2006... my family moved. I loved my old hometown. We lived there from mid 1985 to January 26, 1996. 10 and a half years of my life... from infancy through childhood. Some of my best memories came in my old hometown... my
old house

So, with today being 10 years and all, why not pay her a visit?

And off I went, revisiting my old stomping grounds. I stopped by the old Toys R Us, admiring
the smells and sounds. I dropped by a few local Game Crazy's, but found no SNES games
of interest. Finally, I arrived right around my old house circa 6 PM

I dropped by the Game Crazy closest to my old house. Bought Mortal Kombat II, Clay Fighter, Art of Fighting and Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 all for $4.99 each, with CF being free

They had a glass full of SNES goodies, but I decided for now I'll just pick these four and come back later for the others...

With another bag of old
childhood faves and
memories, courtesy of
Game Crazy, I made a
beeline toward my old

By now it was pitch dark.
I remember those old roads... that old street corner... the little hill where me, my brother and our friends used to play tag and flag football. The smell of the crisp, cool night air, and the soothing sounds of the grass and leaves swaying gently in the calm of the night

I spotted my house at long last. What a sight it was. It was an ordinary house, like any other house in America, in a suburban neighborhood like any other in America. But it was home... my home

I turned off the radio and the engine. I sat there for a couple quiet minutes, admiring my house from across the street in the dead still of the night

Great times...

Then suddenly I had a crazy idea

Before I knew it, I was at the front door...

And then, I rung the doorbell (!)

A lady in her mid-30's popped into sight. "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, I need to use the restroom real quick. May I?"

"Yeah, sure, come in come in,"
she said warmly

And I was in. Just like that

Afterwards, I thanked her for her generosity

The house was still in good shape. I glanced around in admiration

"To be honest with you, I used to live here for 10 years,"
I told her

And that led to a 10 minute convo. We talked about how cold the house gets during the night time, like really REALLY cold. We talked about my old room, where her daughter now occupies, etc. It was surreal being back in the house I grew up in, and loved so much

Finally, we bidded farewell. I slipped inside my car, took a glance at the SNES games resting on the passenger seat, cranked up the radio, stole one last glance at my old house, and floored the hell out of there

That night, driving home on the freeway, windows down, music blasting... what a day, what a day...

  • JANUARY 30, 2006

It was a dark and rainy Monday afternoon. At 12:45 or so, the UPS man knocked on my door. Finally, my SNES package arrived!

Sadly, I didn't think enough then to take a picture or two of it, but it was a huge box which resembled something
like this, but without the Genesis games. I knew a friend who had an original SNES in tip-top shape and he also had 35-40 games I wanted... it was a hefty 11 pound baby!

Unfortunately, I had an Advanced Acting class that day 1:30 to 4... so I didn't have any time
to enjoy it then and there

I went to my class, all the while having my mind on all the SNES goodness waiting for me
at home... when class got out I drove to Game Crazy by my old house to pick out the other
enticing titles I saw just a few days earlier (1.26.06)

Most of these games had price tags of $9.99, which was a definite non-buy, but I asked the clerk just to make sure

When he rung them up, they were either $4.99
or $1.99

Izzy's Quest
 and Earth Defense Force were each $1.99 so those were the two freebies. Subtotal of $19.96, total of $21.60, or $3.60 a title, not bad, not bad...

Game Crazy was good to me. Got so many nice games and deals. Sadly, they're really dry of SNES games these days. Makes me glad I got back into the SNES when I did!  Today, it's all Madden '96 and NBA Live '95...

Happy with the score, I drove home at 5:36 PM and that Monday night, opened the package and the "resurrection" was complete. Of course, the first title I chose to play was Power Moves


Hell of a two weeks 1/17-1/30 were

What did I do for 1.26.07?  I dropped by again, but nothing dramatic like the 10 year anniversary. The 11th was a much more quiet, uneventful one... but it was great to be back in my old digs. Any time I head back, really, is quite a trip to see the old sights and such. Sure a lot has changed, for instance all my favorite childhood stores are pretty much wiped out, but the structure of the landscape remains much the same. Some things never change...

Lots of awesome memories in both houses and towns... I'll never forget where I came from... like Alex Haley... it's all about your ROOTS....

So I'm back up in the game
Running things to keep my swing
Letting all the people know
That I'm back to run the show

RETURN OF THE MACK by Mark Morrison