Show Some Love

Posted on Aug 10th 2011 at 01:05:08 PM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Gaming, Nostalgia, Collecting Habits, Favorites, Friends, Family

I'll be 27 years old later this year and I can hardly remember a time havenít been infatuated by games in some manner. Itís taken on many forms throughout the years, but itís always been a passion for me. Playing, collecting, restoring, socializing, researching, hunting, and practicing. There is always some aspect of the hobby that keeps me from growing tired of it.

This morning I was sitting in my gameroom cataloging some items and my son came in to see what I was up to. He is only 3 and is aware of my hobby, but I havenít really exposed him to it much yet. He is just starting to enjoy playing games on my wife's Tab so I thought he might enjoy some simple games with me today. I popped in Super Mario Bros for him while I finished up what I was working on. I'll get back to this story later on, but for now just know that it really spurred some nostalgia for me.

Many of my fondest memories are gaming related in some way. Some of the stories I'll share will probably not be very unique, but they have all burned gaming into my life in various ways.

Firstly I'll start with the moment I was first "wowed" by a game. We had an Atari 2600 that we fiddled with every now and then, but no one in the house spent too much time on it so gaming wasnít really on my radar at all. I had a cousin that lived a province over and lived in the middle of nowhere on a farm in a town with a population of hundreds. He was a little older than myself and often had better things to do than hang with a snot nosed brat like myself. I didnít particularly like visiting them because it just seemed boring most of the time. This time though he had gotten a ton of Birthday money just before we arrived and had bought himself an NES, a few games, a few magazines/tip books and a power glove. I arrived to their house as him and his friends were playing Mega Man 2. The game just blew me away and I sat there for hours just watching them (I wouldnít dare ask for a turn). After his friends left he put in Super Mario Bros for me and attempted to teach me how to play. That picture at the start of the blog is literally my first time holding an NES controller and really having fun gaming. After trying my hand at it a few times my cousin felt the need to show off and pulled out his power glove and got further than I did with the standard controller. After that he showed me some tricks like the infinite lives technique and baby fireball Mario. Needless to say he was the coolest person I had ever met and I was instantly hooked.

After coming home from the visit I was able to convince my dad we really needed a NES. We sold our 2600 and I used the money to purchase a different relatives system for around $60 I believe. All we had was Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt, 2 controllers and a zapper. I have lots of fond memories of family Duck Hunting sessions and we still to this day argue at the dinner table over who saved the princess first.

My dad and I have always been on good terms, but never really shared much in common. One of the best memories I have with him is coming home from school one day and he had surprised my sister and I by renting Sonic 3 for us the day it came out. Up until that point all my games were hand me downs, months of saving allowances or trading in games. I had never played a game so new that I could chat about it around the schoolyard the next day. He played it for hours with us all swapping controllers until we got called in for dinner. I donít think he has touched a controller since, but for some reason decided to that day and it made a very lasting impression on me.

When Mortal Kombat II first came out I was at a friendís birthday party and his mom had rented it for him (he was totally jealous of my Street Fighter II birthday party earlier that year Tongue). We instantly loved it. Being in Canada a lot of snow piles up on the edges of parking lots during the winter months. We would often play king of the hill during recess to pass the time. The day after our MK initiation we decided it would be better if we were all picked MK characters and played king of the hill MK style. As Reptile I was able to defeat my enemies and make my way to the top of the pile. Unfortunately for me Scorpion was lurking in the shadows. I fell down then entire hill and landed squarely on my jaw biting completely through my tongue upon impact. In the days to come my tongue turned a lovely shade of black as it was healing. For some reason I have very fond memories of that day regardless of the outcome.

My best friend growing up and I were both addicted to Nintendo. Since his family generally let us play inside more than my family we often spent the afternoons at his house playing NES World Cup, Ghostbusters 2 and Super Mario Bros 2. One summer even his family decided we had played enough Nintendo for a while and sent us outside. All we could think about was how much we wanted to play more Ghostbusters 2 so we started to formulate a plan to get back into the house as much as possible before school started again. We figured that if one of us was hurt badly enough they would have to let us rest on the couch more than play outside. After deciding the best plan of action was riding a bike into the nearest dumpster we played the tensest game of Rock, Paper, Scissors I've ever been involved in. Luckily I won and my friend was the one that had to go through with it. He really must have wanted to play because he didnít hold back and drove his bike full speed into a back alley dumpster. Luckily he only suffered a sprained wrist and a lot of bruises. They play worked though and we got back to busting ghosts for the remainder of the summer! Because of the sling he had to wear I got to play a lot more than he did though. I canít believe how brilliant we were!!

Fast forward to High School when my friends and I started getting our drivers licenses. Each day before school one of my buddies needed somewhere to kill sometime between his early swim practice and his first class. My house was 2 blocks from the school so he would come over ever single morning before school and we would either beat each other silly on Marvel vs. Capcom or try and best each other at Mario Kart 64. During lunch break and free blocks we would run over to another friendís house that lived close by and have a big Super Smash Bros fight. The only rule we had in place was that if someone picked Pikachu they must be the first to perish.

A couple years ago my mom dug out a big box of my old school work from early elementary school and asked if I was interested in it. I decided to take a look and see what kind of student I was in the first couple grades. I eventually came across a very familiar looking note book. There were sonic the hedgehogs, ninja turtles and everything in between sketched all over it. It was a journal we had to write in every school day in grade 1. After skimming it and admiring my poorly drawn Bowsers and Toads I came across a page that read something like this "I love my mom, because she rents me Nintendo games!". She really knew the way to my heart.

My wife has always been supportive of my gaming habit even though she doesn't share my interest in it. One of the reasons we ended up speaking in the first place was because she was purchasing a Gamecube from me. I was managing a video store at the time and she came in to buy a Gamecube for her and her cousin to play. We had seen each other in the store before, but hadnít said anything to each other, other than the usual employee customer drivel. All the sudden the next day she was in buying another controller. And then the next day to pick up another game. And then the next to buy more crap she didnít really want (and in some cases as I found out after we moved in together didnít even open or use).

After deciding this was the girl for me I had to buy a ring of course! It was tricky though because I wanted it to be a surprise but we already had a joint bank account so she would easily see a large purchase like that. The ring I wanted was a little over $2000 so how was I going to manage hiding that much money gone for a few days before I got to propose. The answer was of course gaming!!! The PS3 was just about to launch for ridiculous amounts of money. After taking notice of the people selling 360s for significantly more than retail when they were hard to find over their first X-mas I decided I could flip a couple PS3s for secret ring money. I quickly went to both EB Games in town and pre-ordered the most expensive system bundle they had. They had a 1 system per customer policy, but luckily neither store checked pre-orders against each other and a little while later I was driving home with 2 brand new systems in my trunk. I was able to sell them both on Ebay just before they started cracking down and shameless resellers like myself. I know some of you will frown on that behavior, but it did the trick. I was able to get more than a 200% return on my purchases and pay for nearly the entire ring.

Now back to my sonís first "real" gaming experience:

After a few clunky attempts to learn the controls and several failed attempts to pass the first Goomba he was finally able to time a jump and land on the enemy. He immediately lit up and shouted out the line "I smashed his head!!". Completely ignoring the possibly psychotic outburst I was enthralled at watching him progress a little bit further with each new try. His second victory came when I told him he could hit his head on the "blinking" boxes to get items. He got the same exciting Goomba slaughtering expression when he grew big from eating his first mushroom powerup. All the sudden he realized he was staring at the Mario he recognized from watching me play other games or seen on magazines or candy wrappers. It was amazing watching him get more and more involved in such a simple game. Jumping over the next few tubes proved challenging and often ate up his limited time. But never seeming deterred he kept at it until he got better and more consistent. Eventually making it to the first "pit". This proved to be too much for him at this time. Instead of getting frustrated he just said "dad, I need help" and handed the controller my way. In order to give him as much control as possible I showed him the tube he could enter to skip past the challenging area. Man was he excited to jump around collecting coins. He needed a quick bathroom break and I decided to surprise him with a Fire Flower upgrade. When he came back and unpaused the game he was intrigued to see Mario dressed as a "cook" and commented on his silly appearance. I told him to try the other red button and laughed my ass off when he asked me why Chef Mario was tossing coconuts out of his nose. With some direction he was able to make his way to the second area.

He was having a great time, but it seemed like the time limit was holding back a little bit of his enjoyment so I went searching for a game without that restriction. Mega Man 3 was the obvious choice so I went with that. The only words I heard for the next 20 minutes were "boom boom boom" and "Hiyah Hiyah". It brought me back to a time when I remember lifting the controller upwards when climbing ladders as if it would somehow make me go faster, jumping out of my seat when having a close brush with death and dying repeatedly because I was starring at the controller instead of the television.

Anyway I had a fantastic day with my son and just wanted to share some memories with anyone who cares to listen. Thanks for reading this mess!!

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wow. This in all seriousness has my vote for the single greatest blog post that has ever been published on RFGen!
That was pretty awesome me and my sons Korbin(4) and Maverick(3) play 64 all the time.
Recently got my 3 year-old daughter gaming a bit on the NES.  She's a little uncoordinated in terms of moving and pushing buttons at the same time, but is slowly getting the hang of it.  I think plugging in an NES Advantage might help.  Nice article.
Neat photos. And I have to agree with noiseredux...this is one of the best if not the best article on RFG.
I read this while watching my four year old ace Super Mario Bros. on the NES (hooked up to a 50 inch plasma, talk about a things-change/things-never-change moment) and my three year old sitting on the couch playing Mario Kart Super Circuit on a GBA SP.  They are making their own memories like I had with the old C64 as a kid, and yours are now.  I watch, I play, sometimes I help, and overall I just enjoy.

My beloved and I just recently wrapped up Catherine on Xbox 360, and she remarked that it was so intimate to sit in the big cuddler recliner and experience such an intense game together.

Beyond the fun, beyond the competition, beyond the nostalgia, challenge, social/psychological observation, and wow-factor of technology, this is hands down the most significant thing about video games to me:

Sharing moments of enjoyment with those you care about.

Thanks for sharing yours. Smiley
Great story crabs your are a awesome guy!

I'm also going to agree with noise on this.  This was one of my favorite blogs!  The pictures were an awesome touch, and the stories were great.  Awesome job, Crabmaster!

BTW:  I thought you had long hair?
Crabby definatetly shaved Tongue
Thanks for all the positive responses guys!! I really do appreciate hearing it. I'm glad you guys liked the photos and that no one made fun of my mullet or episode 1 posters Smiley

@singlebanana - My son sounds like he is at the same level as your daughter. The walking around part is very clunky right now. Mario takes thousands of little baby steps towards his goal and constantly shifts back and forth under a block until he is perfectly lined up to hit it. We tried out some of the "kiddie" games today and Fisher Price Perfect Fit was actually helping him get a really good grasp on the D-pad. If your daughter is into matching games (which my son enjoys) it seems like a fantastic learning tool to get comfortable with a NES controller.

@slackur - "Sharing moments of enjoyment with those you care about". Tell me about it. I could have went on and on with similar stories, but I had to end it somewhere.

@blcklblskt - A few months ago I cut off roughly 16 inches of hair from the top of my head and about 4-5 from my beard. My wife has always been curious what I'd look like with it short so for her B-day I had an old school/gaming friend who is now a graphic designer put together a fake gift certificate for one hair cut to give to her. Then afterwards my brother, my son and I decided it would be a great idea to all shave our heads this summer.

Very groovy post, Crab.  Heartwarming and all that.  Makes me wish I had more pictures of my gaming past, maybe destroying the joystick while I play UFO! for my Dad's Odyssey2 or something...

I now vow, from this moment on, to take more pics of my monkeys playing video games.

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