Memories of New Consoles Past

Posted: November 15, 2013 in Current Gaming, Retro Gaming
Tags: , , , , , ,

Console History

The launch of a new console is an extremely exciting time for gamers. There is new promise, great expectations, and wild dreams of the games to come, all wrapped up in those new systems. At that moment, there are no poor sales, bad launch games, or malfunctioning consoles. There is only optimism for what the future holds. Being the nostalgist I am (I think I made that word up just now), I can’t help but remember the most exciting console purchases I’ve made. When I was wrapped up in the excitement of a new console.

It had to be about 1989 or 1990, meaning I was around 9 or 10 years old. My cousins both had a Nintendo system, but we (my younger brother and I) didn’t. It was a luxury we simply couldn’t afford as money was extremely tight. I didn’t know that explicitly as a kid, but I knew better than to expect something as expensive as an NES to be bought for us. We did have an Atari, but as much fun as that could be, it couldn’t compare to the NES in our eyes.

I was aware of the system and had played a few games when visiting my cousins. Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda both come to mind here. The day we finally got one was during the summer I recall that on that particular day we were helping our parents in the garden when our mom said that we’d be getting  a surprise later that day, for helping out, I believe. Neither of us expected too much and we thought that was confirmed when our mom told us a few minutes later that it was going to be a Happy Meal from McDonald’s. And, honestly, that would have been enough to make us happy. As we headed into town, we had to stop at a department store to pick up some stuff. Somehow, I never even noticed that we were navigating towards the electronics section, but I did notice when my dad picked up the NES Action Set and asked if that was the one we had wanted. So began my long love affair with video games and Nintendo.

In hindsight, I can’t believe my parents found the $200 or so it took to buy that system for us. When I say money was tight, that isn’t even close to an exaggeration. How they found the funds on top of the normal expenses still eludes me.

Super NES AdSuper NES
At this point in time, I was getting an allowance of $5 per week. I dutifully saved up about $50 and went to Wal-Mart to put a Super NES on layaway. It had been out for a while and I’d studied the pictures of the games in the Macy’s Christmas catalog long past Christmas. Once again, I’m pretty sure that this was during the summer as I don’t recall going to school. I’ve no clue what the year was, but the set I put on layaway (with little help from my brother, who enjoyed my spoils…butthead) had both Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart.

To pay it down more quickly, I did odd jobs for family, tasks such as stacking fire wood and mowing lawns, for $10 or so. Not a lot today, but huge to me then. On this particular day, we went to Wal-Mart where I paid the balance down to about $45 or so. That figure is sticking in my mind, so I trust it. After making my weekly payment (how annoyed did the Wal-Mart employee have to be with me paying $5 per week?), my brother and I went to the toy section to look around. After getting back with my parents, we checked out and went to the truck…where my Super NES system was waiting on the seat. My mom had gone back and paid it off after I made my payment. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement.

Two more things happened that day that need to be shared. The first thing is that we kept the plan of going fishing after leaving Wal-Mart. Everyone else fished. I sat in the truck reading and re-reading the Super Mario World instruction booklet. The second thing that happened is that we watched the movie Fire in the Sky that evening and I had disturbing dreams of Yoshi eating the aliens from the movie. It must be strange in my head.

Nintendo 64Nintendo 64
This is a bit of a rinse and repeat of the Super NES. Put it on layaway, paid it down, etc… But this time, when I went to pay on it, it had gone on sale so I cancelled my layaway and practically begged my parents to make up the difference. They did and I had my Nintendo 64 (with Super Mario 64).

My main recollection from this is that I had trouble hooking it up properly. It took me about twenty minutes to figure out that I needed to switch the input on the television (this was in era of antennae and coax cables). During that twenty minutes, I was sure that I needed an RF Adapter and hadn’t gotten one and was freaking out because I had a new system I couldn’t play. Then, I hit the magic button and there was Mario in a glorious 3-D world.

This was the last system that held any real magic for me for a while. I would get a Sega Genesis off of Ebay and buy a PS and, later on, a PS2 off of a friend, but I was getting older and losing that sense of wonder at video games, sadly. We did get a Gamecube for Christmas, but I practically stopped playing games at all for about a year. Leave it to Metroid Prime to pull me back in. I would have one last flash of wonder at a news system though, when Nintendo unveiled the Wii.

Wii adNintendo Wii
This was the last system I purchased that filled me with excitement and is the only system to date that I bought on launch day. I actually arrived at Gamestop two hours before they opened to secure a pre-order for the Wii. Initially, I thought I was being foolish, but even being there two hours early, I was still fifth in line at a store that only had eighteen pre-orders to issue. I think there was a midnight launch, but I went on Sunday morning to get mine because my wife had given birth only a few weeks before and I really couldn’t justify leaving her at home alone like that.

Once I got home with it, her parents had come over and we spent about two or three hours just making Miis (a few that some family members never need to see) and testing out Wii Sports. I realize that many people don’t think the Wii met its potential (I disagree with this), but that first time using the Wii remote was nothing short of amazing. The inclusion of the Mii Maker was also a blast early on, though the interest didn’t last as long for that aspect of the console. Still, they were enough fun that I didn’t even try Twilight Princess until much later that evening.

And here we are today. I’m not getting a PS4 or Xbox One for a good while. I’m not impressed by what they have to offer over the current generation and will support current consoles so long as new games are available for them. I do have a WiiU which I purchased with a tax refund, a purchase that I still question the wisdom of. Still, can you blame me for getting it? I’ll always have a soft spot for Nintendo. Somewhere inside, I’m that same little boy working in the garden, dreaming about an NES and all of the wonder and magic it contained. As an adult, I think I’ve mostly lost that ability to see magic in a new console, but when we surprised our son (six years old) with the WiiU, I saw in his eyes the same wonder I’m sure my parents saw in mine when they pulled the NES down off the shelf. That will always be worth it.

  1. Kaven says:

    🙂 beautiful story.i wish i could remember those days more clearly.i have very few memories of those early a grown-up now,that sense of wonder has disappeared for me as well.i still enjoy the games that come out but in a different way.SNES and N64 were magical to me.Mario World and Super Metroid were the very first game i got with my console.quite the mom bought these for me(i was around 8 when i got it)

  2. Esos consejos que escribes me parecen suficientemente utiles.
    Claramente a el bookmarker. Muchas gracias.

  3. ¿En que lugar tal vez seria dar con muchos
    mas post sobre dicho contenido? Me interesa abundantemente y lo hass
    posteado excesivamente satisfactoriamente. Felicidades Y Gracias.

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