MetalFRO's Blog

Posted on Dec 7th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Christmas, Gaming memories, retro gaming, old school

Christmas is a holiday that many of us have fond memories of. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but most of us, as kids, got time off from school for a winter break of some kind. As kids, growing up in a burgeoning age of technology, many of us wiled away the wintry hours in front of the family TV, playing whatever video game we got for Christmas, or whatever the latest thing was we had access to. When it's cold outside, and you can only spend a limited amount of time out in inclement weather, most of us preferred to stay warm, and hunker down with some good old Nintendo or Atari. Here are a couple of my holiday gaming memories, that I hope you'll enjoy.

My very first holiday gaming memory is actually my very first gaming memory. I distinctly remember it was Christmas of 1982. The whole family had gathered at my grandparents' house, and one of the uncles who lived out of state, had come down, and brought with him something new. Connected to the big console TV in the living room was none other than an Atari 2600. I had no idea what it was at that point, being the ripe young age of just 5 years old. Little did I know that this little technological wonder would be such a life-changing thing, either. Mostly the kids played, though a couple adults joined in, and we marveled at what we could do with those simple, 1-button joysticks. Many head-to-head battles were had in Combat, through several game modes, and a lot of laughs as well. And for most of us, this was our first exposure to PAC-MAN, as well. Say what you will about the 2600 version, but for a 5-year old kid, it was a revelation, and was still a magical experience, particularly as an introduction to video games.

It doesn't look like much, and in retrospect, it's not fantastic. But as an introduction to gaming, it was new and exciting.

My second Christmas gaming memory is the year I got my Game Boy. Now, I got the handheld on my birthday. I've told that story, so I won't regale it here. But several months later, I remember being at my other grandparents' house on Christmas Eve. We always celebrated Christmas with a tradition of eating soup on Christmas Eve night, then Christmas dinner the following day. Christmas Eve always meant grandpa's chili soup, lots of candy to eat, and sitting on the floor, next to grandpa's recliner, under his reading lamp, playing Game Boy. I don't remember specifically what games I played, though by that point, I probably had half a dozen of them. I may have played several. There was always Tetris and The Castlevania Adventure, but Super Mario Land probably made an appearance, and by that time, I was probably neck-deep in either Gargoyle's Quest or Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. Whatever games I was playing, I know I was having fun, and being there with my grandpa was great, with his warm smile and infectious laughter always a welcome thing.

Fast forward a couple years, and I remember spending some time with my Sega Genesis over Christmas vacation. My younger brother and I had pooled our money together, and purchased it over the summer. I remember borrowing several early games from a classmate, so in addition to Sonic the Hedgehog, DecapAttack, Quackshot, and Lightening Force that I already owned, I was also enjoying the likes of Altered Beast, Last Battle, Mystic Defender[/i], and Golden Axe, thanks to the generosity of Peter lending me some of his older Genesis titles. By that point, I probably already had Columns and Strider as well, so I know I put a ton of time into my Genesis that Christmas break.

Nintendo got its hooks in me early, and never let go. I love this Wii U bundle, and am glad to own it.

I'm usually late to the game with consoles, usually preferring to buy later when prices come down, and more games are out. But I was having major 'fomo' with Nintendo's Wii U after it launched. Thankfully, Christmas 2013 brought me a wonderful gift, in the form of the New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U Wii U bundle. Despite this console being a major flop for Nintendo, and one of the worst performing pieces of technology they ever released, I love it. I had mine hooked up the day I got it, and was deep in DuckTales Remastered almost right away, with ZombiU hot on its heels. Needless to say, I also quickly jumped into the pack-in game, and sunk a lot of time into it over the following weeks. Subsequent Christmases have seen many hours with Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Bayonetta 2, and Xenoblade Chronicles X. The Wii U may be a commercial failure, but it remains special to me, for as many hours as I have playing the games, and the joy of those experiences.

Those are just a few of my Christmas season gaming memories. What are some of your favorite memories of gaming, or gaming gifts during the holidays? I'd love to hear your stories, as well. And thank you for reading a few of mine.

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My first memory is going to my Grandma and Grandpa's house for various holidays and playing the Atari 2600.  That was the first system I ever played and I loved it, Pac-Man, Combat, Yar's Revenge, Pitfall, Frogs and Flies among many others.  So many good memories.

I love these nostalgic blob posts and this one does not disappoint.  It brought my memories back and had me wishing I could be transported back in time to experience these memories again.  I really enjoyed this and keep it up.
Fun to read about your memories. I still remember the first Christmas after getting my NES, getting RC Pro-Am, and still have the same cartridge I got more than 30 years ago. It's definitely the oldest single-owner cart in my collection.
@shaggy: Thanks, shaggy! I think a lot of us among the older crowd here probably had the 2600 as our earliest gaming memory, and it definitely takes me back, thinking about some of those games, even into the mid-late 80's.

@EZ Racer: Very cool! I think my oldest single-owner carts at this point are my earliest Sega Genesis purchases, like Sonic the Hedgehog, and Quackshot. I'm nearing the 30-year mark for those!

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