Mushroom Kingdom Here We…

It’s 10:00am on a Saturday morning. *DING!*, the sound of a Platinum trophy popping pierces the room, putting my old VIZIO 5.1 Surround System (that you can no longer purchase on Amazon) to work. I get up from my rocking chair to eject the Clive ‘N’ Wrench disk from my PS5, place it back into its case and retire the game permanently to my shelf. After making my second (or third?) coffee of the morning, I grab a small bag of store-bought Entenmann’s Little Bites (of the chocolate-chip muffin variety), run back upstairs and insert the disk for SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake into the PS5. As a 37 year-old who doesn’t want to be an adult anymore, I have found continued comfort and pure escapism in a genre that, unlike myself, has barely aged; 3D platformers. As I take control of SpongeBob and glide towards a platform with my empty pizza box in-hand, a cluster of space goop sits there ready to be collected. “Sticky sweet!” is uttered for the thousandth time as SpongeBob scoops-up the pink, puffy orbs. I pause to take another sip of my warm, Dunkin’ K-Cup coffee with Coffee mate’s French Vanilla creamer and suddenly, I’m transported back to my basement from my childhood home!

Sitting way too close to the TV, I see my adolescent self smashing the cartridge of Bubsy into the Sega Genesis. “What could paw-ssibly go wrong!”, I hear behind my corporeal shell. As I turn around, Bubsy is standing there and before I can even come to my senses, he quickly fades into a familiar green lizard… “Is that you, Gex?” I say under my breath before I’m so rudely interrupted… “It’s tail time!”, yells the gecko, as he whips his tail at me with great force, sending my ghostly apparition forward in time back into my present-day, very tired adult body. I snap out of whatever caffeine-induced hallucination I may have just experienced and I put the controller down. I get up from my rocking chair, look out the window and see a familiar view. To my surprise, it’s my childhood street, but something is wrong… all of the houses are shaped like honeycomb pieces and the streetlights are flagpoles. Perhaps I’ve always been here, trapped in a perpetual cycle of playing mediocre 3D platformers, waiting for the next mainline 3D Mario title to release or wishing for a new Banjo-Kazooie game that’s never going to be made. I step away from the window and close my eyes.

Although it feels like decades have passed, I open my eyes mere moments later. It appears that I have misplaced my glasses and I find myself fully reclined on my rocking chair. As I struggle to get out of the chair in my weakened state, I lean on my walking stick and realize that I left the TV on and hear a familiar voice, “Up next we have a World Premier for a bear & bird you won’t want to miss…”.

Until next time…


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