By Julius A.D. von Brunk III
-Wow. This is neato-
-Slightly altered from original format. Hope he doesn't mind-
-Online May 1st, 2004

Call me a loser if you must, but the title of this tale is highly significant. As many of you already know, I’m a long time Nintendo ace. I’ve been playing NES since I was a wee lad, and I have no plans to stop. One of the greatest games of all time is by far, Super Mario Brothers 3. I spent countless years playing that game. Ever since I was a young boy, my sister and I always played that game. However, due to circumstances which went beyond my control, I stopped playing NES between the ages of 11-17. Why, you ask? I got my N64 when I was 12, and put my NES aside. Over the years, I lost interest and my NES stopped working. Then, in March of 2002, I used to spend the night at my pal Dave’s house a lot. Dave had a working NES, along with about 40 games. While he was sleeping, I would stay up until about 6 a.m. just playing Super Mario 3. The nostalgia was overwhelming... I couldn’t take it anymore... I needed a working NES!

And so, for the next few months, I spent all sorts of time horse dealing, making phone calls, and bargaining to find one. You see, I already owned two NES's, but they didn’t work. My goal was to have them fixed somehow. Around the start of the summer 2002, at the end of my 11th grade school year, my former best friend Devin gave me his old NES and several games. His NES didn’t work, so I called my uncle Mark, and soon I brought over Devin’s old NES and my original one, and we both started repairing them. I found a website that had information about fixing them, so we managed to get my old one barely working.
I brought it home, and after lots of tweaking, I got the old girl to work once again. Although the image was kind of choppy, I could still make out the game just fine. I started playing Super Mario 3 over and over again.

I forgot to mention that the day Devin gave me his NES, I had a really bad... Well, ”thing” with a girl (I wouldn’t exactly call it a break-up, but it was in that category), which sent me into a deep depression throughout the whole summer of 2002. My only means of overriding this extreme sadness would be to keep my mind off of it. G4, TV for gamers just came out about a month before the summer, so I watched that everyday. Next, to combat the sadness, I played NES all of the time. My best means to keep my mind off the depression were to play Super Mario 3 and watch G4. I got so deep into SMB3 that I began recording my progress everyday. For example, I would stay up for approx. 12 hours, then record my score, lives, and how many times I died when I beat the game. Everyday was a new chance to overcome my previous records. Then, I started to make mathematic graphs to display my progress, and all sorts of equations to figure out ratios of enemy deaths to Mario deaths.

I would wake up at 8 p.m., then go to bed in the afternoon. In the mean time, I spent all of my time being awake playing SMB3. Now, after countless theories, counting, recording, and all sorts of crazy math, here are the statistics:

On the night/morning of 6/17/MMII, I beat the game, but lost track of how many lives I lost. However, it is written that I died over seven times in just the first world.

The next day, June 18th, 133 total Mario’s died by the time I beat the game, and my total high score was 2,043,280 (the average high score for beating Mario 3 is 1 million, so I beat that by double).

A few days later, June 21st I stayed up for 12 hours, while I scored 3,047,280 points, died 132 times, and had 89 lives remaining when I beat the game.

I went to bed the morning I beat the game, and woke up that night to play again. I got 4,056,250 points, lost 96 lives, and had 92 at the final boss. Now, here’s some crazy math that took me hours to figure:

I estimated that I killed approx. 717.945 Koopas per time of beating the game. Multiplying that by four (the four main high score nights), I then divided that by the number of the times I died multiplied by four. All in all, there is approx. a 1:6.7566 ratio (Mario to Koopa) of losses. I also concluded that there is a direct positive correlation between high scores and Mario deaths (the higher the score, the less Mario’s killed... or so it seemed... hint, hint). Basically, for every time I died during my process of beating the game, about 6 villains died (not including bosses), and about 3,087.78 enemies were killed total in the four nights.

After this, I decided to make a goal... To get 9,999,990 points (the highest amount possible, as that’s as many digits as the counter can hold), video tape it, and mail it to! I wanted to have my high score displayed on TV, and be a legend like my role model Billy Mitchell. Then one day in August 12 2002, I started the quest for 9 million. I began playing, and half way through the game (at world 5, Sky World) the game ran into a bad glitch that forced me to restart!

I tried again the next night, the 13th, but I made a foolish mistake and accidentally beat the game before I got 9,999,990. Instead, as soon as I broke the 9 million barrier, I went to defeat Bowser wearing my Hammer brothers’ suit to see if I could kill him or not (you see, I never made it to Bowser in a Hammer brothers’ suit before, and I had three suits in reserve and about 90 lives, so I tested to see if I could make it or not). I killed him, and beat the game! I accidentally beat the game with a score slightly below 9,999,990!! Damn, I wasted three days of playing just to win the game.

To avoid risking another frontal assault or a dumb mistake like that, I waited a few days before trying again for the 9 million goal. Then, on August 17th, I turned on my NES, and began gaming history (well, for me anyway). I played for about three days (of course taking long breaks in between), and finally got 9,999,990 at around 7 a.m. of August 19th. Then I put a tape in the VCR and recorded about 30 seconds of footage with me having 9,999,990 points. I then ran to my friend Anthony's house to show everyone (but they were all sleeping, so I had to wake them up). I wanted G4 to know, so I decided to join the website (although due to school and procrastination, I never actually joined until October 5th 2002).

*I reported 185 Mario losses on the failed attempt on August 13th, and a whopping loss of 256 lives when I got 9,999,990! *

On the Saturday night of October 5th 2002, I registered to with the username RoterBaron (German for Red Baron). I used for my avatar the drawing of me wearing a monocle and a Civil war uniform. I quickly went into Production, and made a thread titled “Nintendo has reached a new milestone”. The purpose of my thread was to flaunt my high score, and perhaps get attention from the hosts to find out how to get recognized for my 9,999,990 point victory. Instead, to my surprise, two people posted within minutes. The first guy insulted me, and said that it’s probably been done before. The next person said, “Oh, don’t crush the poor kid’s dream!”. After that mockery, I changed the first post to a Nintendo fan thread, and changed the title to “Nintendo will always reign supreme”.

Go ahead, call me a lifeless dork, but at least I managed to keep myself occupied and happy over girl trouble, thanks to countless hours of watching G4 (mainly Cinematech, since the next best thing to gaming is watching it) and playing lots of old NES throughout the summer of 2002.

And in conclusion, I re-lived out my boyhood hobby of playing SMB3, overcame a deep depression, and made a new record. I saved the Mushroom Kingdom once again, folks. Sure, freedom has been restored for the princess, but at what cost?

... A cost of hundreds of brave Mario men, that’s for sure!

If we’re not dead, then we’re still alive!



-By Julius A.D. von Brunk III
-For and exclusive to