SNES, Nostalgia, & The Lion King

This past fall, I went to the theatres with a few friends to see the re-release of The Lion King when something interesting happened. All these amazing childhood memories came flooding back, but then during the scene in which Simba sings “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and jumps around on giraffes’ heads, I felt a deep stab of rage as I flashbacked to playing The Lion King game on Super Nintendo in the late 90s. I still remember every stage I had difficulty with; it wasn’t just the giraffe heads, there was also the waterfall level, the elephant’s graveyard, and the stampede. Here is a short introduction to the game, which shows part of the giraffe head level that I talked about:

You can also find many other videos of this game on Youtube.

Just watching that video again brings back the anger that has evidently built up from hours of frustration I experienced as a nine-year old. I still remember the sad, pitying music that played when you lost all of your lives. The screen would fade to black and Simba would curl up on the floor and die. I don’t think I ever even finished the game; instead, I watched as my brother beat the increasingly hard levels and eventually the entire game.

It’s kind of interesting now to see how concepts we learned in class apply to this horrible game. I obviously wasn’t motivated enough to get through the entire game since the challenge level always seemed to be just beyond what I could reach, but my brother was able to overcome each increasingly difficult level. Apparently, my optimal level of challenge is a lot lower than his. He also spent a lot more time playing than I did, and where I only experienced failure, he experienced success (hey, Gee’s Practice Principle!).

On the drive back home from the movie, I mentioned how I used to play The Lion King game and was surprised when two friends immediately said that they did too and expressed their hatred of that same giraffe heads level. It’s not just me; this game pissed off 90s kids everywhere! Does anyone else remember this infuriating effing game?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. zkandell
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 12:56:51

    I played this game a lot when I was younger — I actually managed to beat it about 5 or 6 years after I got it. I disagree that it was a bad game, but that’s really a matter of opinion, though I will admit that the learning curve was really weird.

    It was frustratingly difficult, but to me, that just made the game that much more rewarding when I finally beat it. I would compare it to more difficult college classes that have weird difficulty, and need to find a way to apply my endurance in that to those classes. For that, it could be a great learning tool.


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