This summer, I spent some time playing Super Mario Bros on my Nintendo DS (http://newsupermariobrosds.nintendo.com/). I had played and finished the game years ago but never got all the star coins. This was mostly because I was just really eager to finish the game, and after finishing the game, there is less incentive to replay it and get all the stars.
This time, it had been long enough that I knew the game will feel fresh and my priority became not to finish the game, but to get all the stars. Another thing I usually do when I am playing a Mario game is that I stay ‘hand to mouth’, that is, I never collect more lives than I need. The policy is to get them as they come and go back and redo a stage to get a few more if running short. Even better find a cheat code that gives you more lives.
This time I discovered a trick in level 4-4. At the mid level checkpoint, there is a rotating power-up, and I got the star power. As beginner’s luck would have it, it lasted long enough to hit enough goombas and koopas, and as Mario fans would know, when you hit enough enemies in a single streak you get bonus lives. What got me excited was that I was able to make to the last set of flying koopas right before the final pipe leading to the flag.
I decided that I need to do it once more. Time the jump so that I would get the star power and then make it last long enough to reach the flying koopas. Notice here, instead of working towards finishing the level, I instead worked on my skill. Unlike my lucky first attempt, this took multiple attempts and in the process my extra lives went up to 80 and just to round them off, I got them to the max – 99 lives.
Remember what I said earlier, usually I keep it around 20-24 just enough, and knowing that I could go and get more. Now with 99 lives, I never had to go back and replay a level, but there was another thing Inoticed, I kept playing and even though I kept dying, my extra lives never went below 65, in fact I hit another level which gave me a windfall in terms of extra lives and the same pattern repeated itself.
Mario and Fundraising
A common startup advice that one often gets is to raise more money than you need. This is because when shit happens (A really challenging game level) then you have a buffer which gives you a long enough running time to hit another windfall in the future – starting a virtuous cycle. I guess it also applies to other contexts – have enough money so that you can do what you love.
Alas, if only it was that easy to get ’99 lives’ in real life.