Whenever I return home for a holiday break, the first thing I do — after throwing a snowball at my sister, of course — is remove my Super Nintendo from storage. The Xbox and PlayStation look on forlornly, exuding a mixture of sadness and disappointment because I didn’t select their far-superior hardware specifications and graphical capabilities. Who was this 16-bit chump, this relic of yesteryear flaunting a purple and gray color palette, a manual cartridge ejector and an ergonomic nightmare of a controller pad?

It’s nothing personal — I’ve just reached the point in my gaming life when I’ve played through everything I could have possibly imagined with the current generation of consoles. I’ve become the biggest boss the underworld has seen thus far in “Grand Theft Auto,” halted the Nazi War Machine more times than Indiana Jones in “Call of Duty” and “Medal of Honor” titles, torn through Sin City more fiercely than a mob of investment bankers celebrating a bachelor party in “Rainbow Six: Vegas” and performed swan dives better than China’s Olympic team off of Renaissance Italy’s tallest structures in “Assassin’s Creed.”

But there’s only so much parkour to pull off with Ezio, and so many Covenant forces to shatter with a Gravity Hammer before all the virtual carnage melds together in a banal blur and the experiences board a Greyhound to WhoGivesAShitville. Then there’s the suffocating complexity of today’s productions — secondary objectives, special achievements, collection escapades and online play have made the already-shallow experience even more time wasting (also known as first world guilt exacerbation). That’s why every time I turn around, I’m back in love again with the Super Nintendo.

Admittedly, much of my reverence for the system is driven by nostalgia. My parents brought a Super Nintendo to the Pandey home one night in 1995, which led to glorious nights crowded around the television, passing around the controller as we each tried to tackle levels in “Donkey Kong Country” — rampaging through fools on Rambi the Rhinoceros, commissioning Funky Kong for air travel and crushing Kremlin craniums (Mom could school us in “Jungle Hijinks” all day, everyday). Once final boss King K. Rool was conquered, the Super Nintendo gameplay continued with the “Donkey Kong” sequels, “Aladdin,” “Phantom 2040,” “The Jungle Book” and so many more.

But beyond nostalgia, no modern console has provided as much of a maddening challenge as the Super Nintendo. “Left for Dead 2”? No sweat. “Resident Evil 5”? Done-zo. But my sister and I have been hovering around 30-percent completion on our replay of “Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest” for almost a year now. I couldn’t even defeat the first boss in my recently acquired copy of “Super Star Wars” (a sand monster), and my roommate, the Super Nintendo-extraordinaire, gave up after level three’s Jawa Sandcrawler.

And with great difficulty comes great satisfaction. In “Donkey Kong,” there’s nothing like the breathless euphoria of reaching the star-barrel halfway checkpoint or the nervous elation of collecting the “G” in “KONG,” realizing you’ve almost made it to the end of the damn level but remembering the final obstacle is always psychotically difficult.

This return to old school, simple gaming also pervades my school life. My roommates and I have two Xbox 360s, a Wii and a PlayStation 2 in our house (and those are just the consoles we brought to school), yet we crowd around the living room and play “Super Smash Bros.” on the Nintendo 64 to a worrisome amount each day.

Attempts were made to transition to new iterations of the “Super Smash Bros.” franchise on the GameCube and Wii, but it soon became obvious there was no matching the streamlined, fluid mechanics of the original. One of life’s little-known pleasures is the sheer ecstasy of leaping off the level with Captain Falcon and pressing the “Down” and “A” buttons at the precise moment as your enemy is returning to the stage, plummeting them to an inescapable grave and hearing their incredulous whimpers of how unfair the maneuver was.

So Santa Claus, this year you can give copies of “Modern Warfare 3” and “Batman: Arkham City” to other kids on your Nice List (yeah, I’m on there). Count this as my letter to you — all I want for Christmas is a copy of “Zombies Ate My Neighbors.” I hear eBay is selling.

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