I forget what grade I was in at the time, but at some point I ended up getting a Nintendo Entertainment System. When I got it, they were giving out Super Mario Brothers with each game console. I fell in love with that game. I don’t know how many hours I ended up playing it. I know that both my parents and my sister commented more than once they were often entertained by watching me play it, as we had the Nintendo set up in the living room at the time.
I don’t remember when I finally beat the game by playing through all eight worlds in order. Prior to doing so, I used the “warp zones” that were hidden behind the end of various underground levels. After exploring every possible warp zone, I eventually decided to go back and try winning the game by playing straight through with no shortcuts. (I think I did use one of the tricks to get “infinite lives” by continuously jumping on a koopa troopa on steps, though.)
One of the other things I was completely proud of was the fact that at some point, I figured out the secret to both making sure I landed on the topmost part of the flagpole at the end of non-castle levels, but got the maximum possible fireworks each time as well. It was a matter of figuring out when to start the running jump from the top of the stairs just in front of the flagpole.
Later, I got into other games, including The Legend of Zelda and the Dragon Warrior series of games. (I have a thing for role-playing games like that.) But there will always be something special about running around while eating magic mushrooms and stomping on turtles.