“The following is a contributor post by the Blue Moon Mage.”
“Santa is not real.”
My parents were honest with me from the very beginning. “Santa’s a made-up character like Mickey Mouse and Big Bird,” they said. “People like to tell stories about him and pretend that he’s real.”
Boy, they were not kidding! Every other adult I ever encountered absolutely loved to ask, with great enthusiasm, if I had remembered to write to Santa or if I was excited that Santa was coming. They were relentless in their jolly persistence. And I, of course, was expected to get equally exited and carry on the charade as if I was none the wiser.
Ugh, do we really have to do this again? I would think to myself. I know he’s not real! You know he’s not real! Can we just stop pretending?
But gradually I started to wonder…could my parents be mistaken? If it was purely a numbers game, the adults on Team Santa were clearly winning. What if my parents simply didn’t know they were wrong? I mean, it’s totally plausible that Santa just skipped our house because my parents said he wasn’t real. And if that was the case, I was missing out BIG TIME.
I decided to hedge my bets. “Please, Santa,” I prayed…
(Because I’m pretty sure that’s how you’re supposed to talk to omniscient, sees-you-when-you’re-sleeping, knows-when-you’re-awake beings, right? I mean, Santa’s not the same as God, but surely they go to the same country club or something.)
“…My parents don’t believe in you, but I bet they would if you brought a present that was so awesome, they’d have to know it was from you!”
Casually, I offered a few suggestions.
This year, it was all about the Nintendo Power Pad. By stomping, running, and jumping on the sensors embedded in this plastic mat, kids could control the characters in compatible games like World Class Track Meet and Short Order. It was almost like VR before VR was really a thing.
If Santa brought me a Power Pad, I just knew that I would be the fastest, most quick-footed kid in the entire neighborhood. Nobody would be able to beat me in anything. In hindsight, I doubt very much that it would have worked out that way, but hey, a kid can dream, right?
Alas, I had to keep on dreaming because there was no Power Pad under the tree come Christmas morning. “Maybe next year,” I thought.
“Hey Santa,” I prayed the next year, “I’ll still take that Power Pad if you’ve got an extra one lying around, but what I really want this year is a Sega Genesis!”
I know I was not alone in this one. Released that summer, the Genesis was on the hearts and minds of every kid I knew. Some of the more
spoiled lucky ones already had the consoles at home and took every opportunity they could to namedrop Sonic or spout their “Nintendon’t” superiority. The ’90s console wars were already beginning, and unless Santa brought me a Genesis, I would be forced to choose a side simply from omission, not an informed decision.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. There was no Genesis under the tree on Christmas morning, and I joined the proud Nintendo army by default. “Maybe next year,” I thought.
The Wizard released on December 15, 1989. I saw it, but not until after Christmas, which meant I had to wait a whole year to ask Santa for the same thing that thousands of other kids were asking for: a Nintendo Power Glove.
Never mind that, in reality, the glove was clunky and difficult to use. Never mind that it didn’t come bundled with a game (which meant you either had to buy Super Glove Ball or Bad Street Brawler separately or program the glove with a control scheme for a game you already owned–a tall order for most people in 1990). Never mind that it was a commercial failure and was discontinued this same year.
I wanted one. I wanted one bad. But no, there was no Power Glove waiting for me under the tree come Christmas morning. “Maybe next year,” I thought.
Sega was handily winning the console war, and it was take no prisoners. While Nintendo did have Super Mario Bros 3 (which most everyone agreed was amazingly cool, thanks in no small part to The Wizard), the Nintendo army was desperate for a win. Finally, the summer of 1991 brought an answer to Sega’s blast processing: the Super Nintendo.
Bundled with Super Mario World (which was almost like SMB3 on steroids), the SNES was fashionably late to the 16-bit party, and heads were definitely turning at its arrival. In fact, it was just so fun that the Sega kids secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wanted one, too. Gamers just want to play games, after all, and so I begged and begged and begged Santa.
But it was all for naught. There was no SNES waiting under the tree on Christmas morning. “Maybe next year,” I thought.
I may be older now, but my wish list is just as long. Actually, if I’m being honest, it’s like a hundred times longer. I still want that Power Pad and Sega Genesis and Power Glove, along with many other games and gaming-related items (I did eventually get a SNES, but that’s a funny story for another day). Sadly, the truth is that even after all this time, I’ve never gotten anything from Santa.
If I want video game Christmas magic, I’ve accepted that I just have to buy it myself.
But you know what? I think 2018 is gonna be my year. Right, Santa?
The Blue Moon Mage, aka Blue Williams, is a nerd of many layers: video games, film, anime, manga, and cars. You can find her on Twitter at @wrytersview or at her other writing locales: The Loot Gaming, The Gamer, Hot Cars, and wrytersview.com.
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