“The following is a contributor post by the ABXY Mage.”
I’m sure many people will relate when I say that my parents were never really into video games. They were young enough to get into the craze early, but they just didn’t. However, luckily, they saw the entertainment value in home video game consoles, and we were treated to an NES very early in life. I think I was four that Christmas, which means the NES was turning five. So, my parents were likely able to get it for pretty cheap. Still, they knew my brother and I would love it, and we did.
The following Christmas, after a year of playing Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Mario 2, I was so happy to get The Legend of Zelda that I threw it up in the air and screamed. I was quickly scolded, but luckily, the game suffered no damage. I’m pretty sure my dad has a home video of this moment, somewhere. I sure hope so.
When the Super Nintendo came out in 1991, my parents knew the clock on the time-bomb had begun to tick. Nobody we knew had an SNES. I don’t remember seeing the commercials for it, somehow. Maybe that’s because we were still so actively playing the NES and renting games for it every weekend. The SNES wasn’t a big deal when it first released because nobody had seen or played one for so long. Eventually, of course, the word got out. The bomb went off, and all we did was pester our parents for a Super Nintendo. My best friend had a Sega Genesis, so I knew I liked that. But, since he lived one street over, getting an SNES would be like both of us having both systems!
I have a very distinct memory of being in the car with my mom, in a parking lot of a store I can’t remember. After we parked, she asked me if I would rather have a Super Nintendo or a Sega Genesis. I told her that if I had to pick between them, I would choose the SNES. Years later, she admitted that she had purchased both consoles because she couldn’t remember which one I wanted. After she asked me to pick one of them, she returned the Genesis.
That Christmas, 1993, our “big present” was a brand new Super Nintendo, which would go on to become my most loved console of all-time. Although, my mom accidentally blew the surprise. Before we opened the big present, my mom saw one more that I had missed. She handed it to me, and realized her mistake too late. I ripped off the wrapping paper to see Jurassic Park for the SNES. I remember looking at her and saying, realizing the answer halfway through the question, “How can I play a Super Nintendo game if I…don’t…have a…Super Nintendo…? Oh my god, you got us a Super Nintendo?!”
While I’m sure my parents played Mario and probably Duck Hunt with us, I don’t remember it. I know that they occasionally watched me play a game for a few minutes after I begged them, but whether or not they had any interest, I have no idea. No, my first memory of playing video games with my parents was on the N64. I remember them playing Mario Kart 64 and San Francisco Rush; turning the controller like a steering wheel while crashing into the walls. This isn’t a Christmas memory, but still important, and a great memory.
My Christmas memory for the Nintendo 64 involves on of my favorite games, Ocarina of Time. I had played and loved The Legend of Zelda, Zelda 2, Link’s Awakening, and A Link To The Past. So, the second I read about Ocarina of Time in Nintendo Power, I knew I had to have it. Gold Cartridge Special Edition? I absolutely HAD to have that. I talked about it for months. I showed articles about it to my parents and explained how advanced and amazing the Zelda transition to 3D would be. I wouldn’t shut the hell up about it, honestly. And, I always made sure to mention the gold cartridge. When I made my Christmas list that year, I put a bunch of asterisks around it and circled it, and I underlined “gold cartridge edition.”
As you might expect by this point, I got it for Christmas that year. It was all I wanted. I tossed my other presents aside without care, while saving the ones that looked about the correct size. I was so happy when I opened it. Pure elation when I saw it was the Gold Edition. I quickly put all of my other stuff away, helped clean up, and immediately put it into the N64. I played for hours. I get goosebumps remembering that morning. Growing up in Michigan, we always a had white, snowy Christmas. Even today, when there’s a blanket of snow on Christmas morning, I like to play a little Ocarina of Time.
Unfortunately, about ten years ago, several of my best video games were stolen. Ocarina of Time Gold Edition was one of them. I’ve since replaced it with a grey cartridge, but as you can imagine, it’s not the same. For some reason, after my mom helped me move earlier this year, she asked me if I still had the Gold Cartridge. I didn’t even know she remembered it existed, but I had to tell her what had happened to it. She was genuinely disappointed as she told me how she waited in line for over three hours to get it.
In that moment, all of these memories came together and I realized that while my parents never cared about video games, themselves, they understood that I did. They realized that it was a hobby that I enjoyed, and enjoyed with friends and family, and even though we never got a new console during release year, we always got the new generation before long. My parents knew that it made us happy, and they probably loved seeing the look on our faces when we opened those presents. Every birthday and Christmas I gave my parents a list of three to five games, knowing I would get one of them.
We were always lower-middle class, which was why we always got consoles a year or two after they came out. Yet, still, my parents got us new games that we were dying for, and allowed us to rent one game per week between birthdays and Christmases. They always made sure we had something to play, and always made sure we got that special item for Christmas. Those are wonderful memories.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
The ABXY Mage leads a double life of unfathomable hipness, if his expertise in jazz is any indication. Music maker, fandangoist, writer, you can find this hip cat as ABXY Reviews on Twitter and on YouTube.
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