To all the staff, members, and visitors of RFGeneration, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Even for those of us gamers who are greatly opposed to the materialistic nature and family stress inherent to the season, we enjoy getting surprised by awesome gaming-related gifts. Despite some tough times in my childhood, one particular game-related Christmas memory will forever grant some occasionally much-needed holiday cheer and appreciation for the thankless job my parents often faced.
Many moons ago, in the ancient age of '93, I was working a pretty rough construction job after high-school. I hardly saw my parents, and though they knew my many interests, any parent knows that's a far cry from knowing exactly what to get. So they called up my then-best friend Thor.
Yes, that's his name. Yes, it fit him perfectly.
Thor, as eclectic as his name implies, grew up with a gaming mother. And while he was very specific about what he would play, he was just as into video games as I was. Thor's family was the first I knew of to get the awesome machine that was the Turbo Duo, shortly after launch. Including the hidden Bomberman, this beast came packaged with seven (!) games covering a broad spectrum of genres; Ys Book I & II, Bonk's Adventure, Bonk's Revenge, Gate of Thunder (still a favorite!) and a TurboChip copy of Ninja Spirit.
Needless to say, Thor's house was very popular amongst our friends.
(The following was relayed to me after-the-fact, obviously.)
So when my folks gave my best friend a call and asked what to get me, his natural response was to talk-up what I played at his house every weekend. Then, likely because my parents were unaware of the excellent pack-ins, they asked what game to pick up with the system. Because Thor was the best friend a gamer could ask for at the time, he said something along the lines of, "well, he likes Castlevania games a lot, and they make one for it. So probably that one."
Did I mention I love this guy? I love this guy.
Since the cost of the Turbo Duo far exceeded any gift I had ever received at that point, I'm under the opinion that my parents probably had no idea that Devil's Castle Dracula X: Rondo of Blood was import only, or how much that would cost them by the time they found it. I imagine that by the time they took the effort to track it down in pre-internet '93, they had already spent so much time and effort to get it that they probably gritted their teeth and bought it despite the total cost.
Now we didn't have much money growing up. Most of my gaming after the C64 and a surprise NES to the family was through systems I bought or traded to get myself. So I cannot explain to you how impressive this Christmas was to me. Maybe it was because I was hardly at home and my mom wanted to give one last big hug. I'm not sure, though now as a parent myself I can identify with the occasional 'wow-I-shouldn't-have-spent-that-much-but-its-my-kid-so-OK' frame of mind.
I can't relay how blown away I was after opening that Turbo Duo. Or how over-the-top it was to open up Dracula X. (Or how frustrated my dad was after learning that we had to buy another expensive adapter to play the RCA AV cable only output on our RF only 25" console TV.) But my parents sure knew they had a happy teen that Christmas. I still cherish that memory.
In an unfortunate turn of events, things at home got much rougher the next few years, so perhaps I was blessed with that burning-bright moment beforehand. Either way, when it comes to physical Christmas presents, I have to admit that one is my childhood best. I played that system until I finished almost every game it came with more than once. (well, not Ninja Spirit. Man is that a hard game!) And I've gone through Dracula X more than perhaps any game I've owned, and still enjoy it today.
Now of course I'm not saying gifts (even gaming gifts!) are the point or should even be a focus over the holiday. But I hope that everyone has some great, cherished Christmas memories, and if they have some video games included there, even better!
So if you have some fun gaming or non-gaming related Christmas memories, please share,
God Bless, and GAME ON!!