Being a life-long Nintendo fan, I really wanted a Wii U when it launched in 2012. The high price tag, lackluster Nintendo Land pack-in game, and impending new release drought put me off picking one up, and since I was about to become engaged to a woman I loved very much at the time, I knew my free gaming hours would be on the decline (plus I had a ring to buy around the same time as the console's release). So I vowed to wait for a price cut, a new major 3D Super Mario game, or some other factor that would turn the console into a must-own item for me. I'm nothing if not both patient and optimistic.
If you've been reading PTB this year on a regular basis, then it's no surprise to you when I say that I've had a rough time. When 2014 goes down in the history books for me, it'll record two major abdominal surgeries, complications from those surgeries, massive weight loss that reduced me to skeletal proportions for a while, and my engagement ending. It's been hell. Right in the middle of all of that, I decided to stop putting off that purchase. Faced with spending several months at home recovering between surgeries and regaining weight to bring me back up to a normal healthy size, I stopped holding out and bought a Wii U along with Super Mario World 3D in late April. With all that had happened and was still happening at the time, I needed an escape and, moreover, I needed to do something fun for myself. After all that had happened already, what was I waiting for now? Nothing. So I ordered and Amazon brought it right to my door two days later.
Exploring fantastic worlds with Mario has been the highlight of my year and helped take my mind off my problems for a while similarly to how The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker helped me through a previous medical challenge. I dragged myself on weak legs upstairs to the media room to connect the console to the HDTV, but then mostly played from bed downstairs where the GamePad's signal could just barely reach. I completed every level, collected every star, and unlocked every secret in the game's main campaign. I finished each stage with all five playable characters with the exception of the downright cruel Champion's Road.
Despite all the pain, frustration, and just general unpleasantness that this year has had to offer me, it's also the year I bought a Wii U and made having fun a top priority again at a time when most people would probably just have given up on everything. I survived it all, am healing up with a great prognosis, have gone back to work with everything pretty much back to normal (or better, in some aspects) with my health, and now Mario and I have many more years of adventuring ahead of us. My friends and family have always been there for me in the worst of times, but so has Mario. I suppose, in a way, he's honorary family now, too.