I remember it clearly. On Christmas morning, waking up and finding the big blue box with the letters, “Nintendo Gaming System” scrawled across each side. It was 1988 or 1989 and these things were all the rage. As far as I was concerned, my dreams had come true! A Nintendo Entertainment System. The one we had was a more advanced one, that came with a Power Pad that you could run on and make the guy on the screen run faster. Maybe it was a feeble attempt for my lazy butt to start working out?
Talk about cutting edge!
I may have been 3 or 4 years old, but I remember the first night playing duck hunt with the mind blowingly advanced “Zapper.” Ducks and UFO’s (at least that’s what I thought they were) flew across the screen and my job was to shoot them all.
I was hooked.
Im not sure if my Dad bought the gaming system for himself or for me, but I was the main one playing it day in and day out. At school, I would fantasize about coming home and playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, defeating The Shredder, or beating Kirby.
Growing up in Southern California, my parents were very protective of me (maybe a little too much so) and I hardly played outside. San Bernardino wasnt exactly the safest place to grow up. Spending most of my time indoors, I made friends with Mario, Luigi, and Captain Skyhawk.
As I grew older, my game collection also grew, however coming from a limited budget, when the Super Nintendo came out, I still had my original NES. There was nothing I wanted more than a Super Nintendo. When I went to Wal Mart or any electronics store, I was sure to play the demo for StarFox or Super Mario World. Eventually, I was able to get my hands on a Game Boy to take my gaming adventures on the road.
The Super Nintendo never came. As time went on, I continued with the Original Nintendo, until I was about 13 and for Christmas my parents got us a Playstation. HOLY COW.
It was amazing. Just like in my Original Nintendo days, I would spend days playing, beating and mastering levels. Twisted Metal, Metal Gear Solid and Crash Bandicoot replaced Mario and Luigi, but I always had my original NES.
I grew up on video games like I am sure most of the kids born in the 80’s were. Do I feel bad for not having a childhood filled with climbing trees or scraping knees? Not really… I can problem solve on a genius level now thanks to skills learned from gaming. I may be a bit anti-social, but I have no regrets from my childhood.
Playstation gave way to XBox, which turned into XBox 360, Playstations 2 and 3 and now XBox One. But I still long for the classics. Give me Mario rescuing the Princess. Give me Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello rescuing April O’Neil from the Shredder. Most people would view that time spent in front of a screen as a waste. I viewed it as my childhood. Something I will cherish forever.