Considering everything my brother and have gone through, medically, throughout our childhoods, it seriously surprises me that I’m not more screwed up than I am. Most of my childhood memories between the ages of four to ten involve spending long periods of time in a hospital; either for myself or waiting on my brother. That’s why the good memories often shine through the murky recesses of my brain like a bolt of godly lightning and leave a lasting impression.
When I was somewhere around the 8-year old range, the outlook on my brother’s life expectancy took a grim turn for the worst. He wasn’t expected to live into his adult years, which meant that he was eligible for a number benefits, such as programs that are similar to “Make a Wish.” Endorsed and supported by local charities back home, my brother chose to get a small, child-size four wheeler, which he rode at his leisure until he managed to fall off of it and injure himself.
My brother was asked to choose an alternative, something that wouldn’t risk bringing injury to himself or others. Luckily, a new gaming platform was released that year that would change the face of home video games… that’s right, I’m referring to the original Nintendo Entertainment System. My brother got the gaming platform, controller, the pistol and a slew of games, which included the original Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Mega Man and a smattering of others. We spent hours on that thing, living it up and spending time together.
The NES involved some of the best memories of my childhood, considering it was something we could do, even when sick or bed-ridden. I also learned increased hand/eye coordination, reflexes and an appreciation for graphic art. We moved on to Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, and I purchased Mega Man 3, Metroid and Castlevania after my brother passes away. I eventually purchased a Game Genie, along with Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. For you young punks who have no idea what I’m talking about, your childhood sucked! But I digress…
I don’t even recall how I came to lose that gaming system. Although if I had to guess, I would presume my mother got rid of it along with the majority of my toys when I got older. For years, I’ve been trying o find emulator platforms to relive those memories. The problem with emulators is that they eventually encounter copyright issues and shut down. And as much as I would like to purchase a used platform, collectors and hipsters have basically made that all but impossible.
That’s why it came as a big surprise to me when, last Tuesday, I was walking through a mall in Saskatoon prior to returning home from eye injections and saw what appeared to be a miniature version of the NES console. You guys have probably seen some of these advertised on occasion. In short, you have a console and the controllers and the console is integrated with 500 games, so cartridges aren’t required. There is a version of this that was released by Nintendo a couple of years ago. This one is an off-brand, but the games are properly coded and genuine. The level of excitement I felt is almost ridiculous. I could throw my money at the seller fast enough…
I got the console home and Nathan and I have been playing old games like gangbusters. It’s been a wonderful thing, reliving some of the good memories from my childhood. More than anything else, I was amazed that all the same reflexes were still there and I remembered a bunch of cheat spots and secret passages in a few different games. All in all, it was definitely worth the $75. New isn’t always better. Even if only for nostalgic purposes, the older pleasures can sometimes be the best. Food for thought…☯️