[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Super Mario Kart Photo

May 26th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

Benj's Super Mario Kart Photo Screenshot - circa 1992

I took this photo around 1992 or 1993 not long after Super Mario Kart came out. I had rented the game from Blockbuster (See “Secret Cartridge Messages“), and I was amazed to see that the cartridge would save high scores (in this case, track records) between sessions.

That blew my mind a little, because it meant that the scores I saw on the screen came from previous renters of the game — I was playing against previous renters’ track times! So when I set a new record on a particular track, it carried a little extra weight.

(It struck me, even then, that this sharing of scores between players formed a sort of primitive pass-along gaming network, and coming from a BBS background, that excited me.)

In retrospect, I am positive that the track record you see in this photo is nothing record-breaking in the broader competitive Mario Kart universe. But just getting first place — as a 12 year-old, first-time Super Mario Kart player — filled me with enough pride to take a photo of the game screen as viewed from my family’s 1983 TV set.

Remember that this was the era when people used to take photos (with film cameras) of high score screens and physically mail them to Nintendo Power so they could be listed in the magazine. I’m sure that’s where I got the idea to snap the photo.

[ From a personal photo by Benj Edwards, circa 1992]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever take photos of your video game high score screens?

10 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Super Mario Kart Photo”

  1. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    I never took pics, but at various points I’d videotape playthroughs of games I’d gotten good enough to beat on a consistent basis, Super Mario Brox. 2 and Kabuki Quantam Fighter. I actually got that idea from my dad, who had recorded, in several sessions, a playthrough of The Legend Of Zelda not long after we got our first copy of that game. I’m sure I still have that tape somewhere, but I’d have to dig through 500 video tapes in order to find it.

  2. roflmao Says:

    Haha, I still take photos of my high scores! This is a shot from Alien Crush from a couple of weeks ago:

    Not my best score, but I thought it was photo-worthy. 🙂

  3. DNA Says:

    Yes! Once. But it didn’t get published (Nintendo Power) : (

  4. cozfer Says:

    I took several photos of my Activision scores on the Atari 2600 and sent them to the company in order to get the games’ respective patches (the original ‘achievements’?). I probably had around ten or so that my grandma would then sow onto a jacket. Even though another kid made fun of me in junior high, I would wear it again if I can find it!

  5. Multimedia Mike Says:

    I didn’t take pictures of high scores. However, I always had my 8-bit NES lined through the VCR and I recorded all of my game endings.

    I still have the VHS cassette tapes. Not that they’re terribly interesting anymore as I’m certain that better quality ending recordings from emulators can be found on YouTube.

  6. technotreegrass Says:

    I didn’t take pictures, but I did fill up the blank pages in instruction manuals and video game code books with high scores, passwords, Game Genie codes, and tips to help get past tricky sections.

  7. Alexander Says:

    Just last year, when I finally did a 100% item run in Super Metroid, I took a picture of my TV set with my cellphone simply because I wanted proof. That’s the only time I’ve ever done that.

  8. MES Says:

    I definitely remember taking a few pictures of some old Activision games on the 2600 to try to get those patches. And as this was before digital cameras and it took some time to get pictures developed, it was always the worst when a picture didn’t come out properly because the flash was too strong so essentially your high score was lost forever…

    And more recently, I took a screen grab of a perfect Pitfall II run I completed on my iPad to remember that one.

  9. Ant Says:

    No way to reset the scores?

  10. Al H Says:

    Damn it. Every time I see this post it makes me feel a little sad, as my SNES recently stopped working properly.

Leave a Reply