CliffyB, the retro gaming god

One astute Joystiq reader found something of great interest buried within the first Nintendo Power issue, which was recently uploaded onto the internet. In the top right corner of page 99, within the "NES Achievers" section, Cliff Blezinski from North Andover, MA, tied among a list of players with the best Super Mario Bros. score of 9,999,950.

Is this the same CliffyB that is making Gears of War, the game we drooled over at E3? You can see the obvious influence Mario had in the making of Gears of War: just replace "Locust" with "Koopa" and "Assault Rifle with mounted chainsaw" with "fire flower." The resemblance is uncanny.

An e-mail to the B-man confirmed that Cliff Blezinski (super-ace butt stomper) is, in fact, Cliff Bleszinski (super-graphic curb stomper) -- the additional 's' makes all the difference. What follows is a rather interesting and hilarious reaction from the man himself about Nintendo, his childhood, and Nintendo Power editor Howard Phillips:

Oh yeah, that's me. My nickname in school was Nintendo Boy. Back in the
day I was a member of the Nintendo Fun Club - I even managed to acquire
the "I saved the Princess" arm patch which I immediately attached to the
sleeve of my "Iron Tank" shirt. I even had the fucking power glove.

I remember reading about Howard and Nestor, hell, everyone does. Years
later when we had our first sit down with Microsoft over Gears we were
in the meeting room when this one boyish looking fella is sitting across
from me. Moments later I shoot up, interrupt everyone, and point at him
and go "HOLY SHIT YOU'RE HOWARD PHILLIPS!"

Turns out Microsoft had hired Howard a while back and he was now my
gameplay guru in Seattle. He'd tell me all sorts of crazy stories about
back in the day... getting harassed in the mall by kids, how one boss in
Blaster Master apparently had a giant schlong that he spotted and noted
to make sure it was removed for US distribution.

Anyways, I couldn't wait for the first issue of Nintendo Power. I
remember going to the end of the driveway that summer every stinking day
and peeking in the mailbox for it. In the meantime I'd steal my
neighbor's dad's Playboys out of the box because, hey, black wrapper =
jackpot.

I can still remember how that issue of Nintendo Power smelled. That and
the Zelda instruction booklet. Hell, I get butterflies when I see things
like the E3 nominations and Gears is listed right there next to Zelda.

I love my job. :)

-B

[Thanks, Andrew DeMaio]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.