In celebration of Thanksgiving, we here at Virtual Bastion have decided, in the spirit of gratitude, to discuss some of the things we’re thankful for in the world of gaming. As I thought over my life, I recalled several things about my early years as a gamer that I’m grateful for…or am grateful that have changed.
I am Grateful for Pikachu: To begin, I am unsure when I would have gotten into gaming if it wasn’t for Pokemon. In the place where I grew up, I would only watch my parents play the SNES, but I was always too afraid to try it out myself. Yes, afraid, for whatever reason. When we moved, we ended up in a much larger town in a much more populated part of the country, where we could visit these places called malls that were filled with more shops in that one building than my old town combined! It was truly an amazing place for a young duckling!
I remember passing through a store and seeing a picture of a cute, yellow creature called…Pikachu. When I brought this up to a classmate in school a short while later, he asked me if I liked Pokemon, to which I responded…what’s Pokemon? Long story short, the very first video game I really got into, and eventually owned, was Pokemon Stadium on the Nintendo 64.
I am Grateful for Parental Intervention: Rewind to a short while before the Nintendo 64 was purchased, and I would be amiss not to mention one snag in obtaining my very first video game console. My mom said that, if I was going to get an N64, we would have to get rid of the SNES because we would have nowhere to put it. In my childish desperation, I agreed to this deal quite tearfully, for even though I never played the SNES, I had a lot of fond memories watching my parents play Donkey Kong Country and Zelda: A Link to the Past.
So what happened? Well, my dad found out and protested, saying he liked the SNES and wanted to keep it. So it got connected to the TV in the basement, where I spend many long hours exploring all the amazing games my parents had bought for it, but had never before had the courage to play myself. To this day, many of those games are still counted among my favorites.
I am Grateful for Gaming Freedom: When I was a duckling, I had to share the TV with my parents if I wanted to play any of the newer consoles. (They wouldn’t let me have a TV in my bedroom, aside from this tiny TV/VCR combo, because they thought I’d spend all my time gaming.) While the SNES was always accessible in the basement or spare room, depending on where we were living at the time, every other console was not. Finding time to play was difficult, and it is actually thanks to video games that I became an early-riser, getting out of bed at 6 in the morning, or earlier, if I could get away with it, just to get some time to play my games before my parents woke up and the living room was once again their domain.
Looking back on the past…I am SO glad I don’t have to do that anymore!
I am Grateful for Options: For many years, our house was only home to Nintendo consoles, the SNES, N64, and eventually the GameCube, the last of which took me a year of saving my allowance to afford. (My mom said I couldn’t have a GameCube. Apparently, she didn’t believe I’d be able to save up enough money. When I did, she relented and let me purchase it.) Despite owning three consoles, that didn’t mean it was always easy to afford games, so after some time had passed, I would often find myself playing the same game over and over again, with no money to afford anything new. I actually got really sick of Banjo-Tooie, one of my favorite games of all time, when I was younger because I probably played it five times in a row before eventually being unable to take the monotony anymore. Furthermore, even when my birthday and Christmas came around, a time came when there were no good games available for the consoles I owned that I didn’t already have. So I would end up asking my parents for games that didn’t even look very good just because I wanted something different to play.
Eventually, I was able to finally buy my first non-Nintendo console, the PlayStation 2 (which seemed to have a lot more affordable games than Nintendo…). And my gaming options opened up from there, with me slowly saving my money and expanding my console collection even further as the years went by. And with more consoles, I had more options of games I could get whenever another holiday rolled around, meaning it was that much easier to get new, actually good, games to play. When you have a GameCube, PS2, AND XBox, it’s far easier to find a good game to request as your Christmas present.
Skip to modern day, and I have ten working consoles (and a barely functioning SNES…) and over a hundred games. Am I any better equipped to afford games now than I was then? …Um, unless I don’t want to have savings in the bank, only just barely, but the great thing is, I now have such a large collection of games, I never find myself having to replay anything more than once every several years. Gaming is fun and all, but variety really helps!
Now it’s your turn, dear readers! What gaming-related moments or changes in your life are you most grateful for? Let us know in the comments below!
Image from Flickr User: Mark Fleming