Video games were the thing me and my father bonded over. We spent a good portion of my childhood working together to beat Super Mario Bros. My dad made video games a game of discovery. We didn’t just sit quietly beating levels. We were up yelling, congratulating, debating. We were solving puzzles together. One of the highlights of my childhood is the surprise and awe me and my father felt when we found the star world levels. It was sooooooo awesome! He had many other games. Paper Boy, The Simpsons, Mortal Combat, Ultra man. We played them all but nothing was like the time we spent on Super Mario Bros.
Then I saw the Nintendo 64 in a Toys R Us ad. I had to have it. See the Super Nintendo had been great, but it was my fathers. The 64, that was going to be mine. New puzzles, new discoveries, and in 3D! On my 12th birthday, my mom and dad took me and my sister to Kmart. They walked me over to the electronics section and asked me what I wanted. I pointed to the game system, sure that they would say no. I think they must have been planning to get it for me because they said yes AND they let me pick a game to get in addition to the Super Mario 64 that came with the system. I chose GoldenEye 007.
I fell in love with that game system. It was so much fun. Super Mario 64 was familiar but at the same time, so different. The 3D world was visually stunning and there were many more secrets and puzzles to solve. My dad never did get into it the way I did. I think it had a lot to do with the controller. The thing looked confusing but for me it was easy to get the hang of quickly. He hated all the buttons and the joystick and he kept trying to hold it wrong. He gave up after awhile and went on loving his Super Nintendo. GoldenEye was like nothing else I’d played before. It took some time to get used to the first person view, but once I did I was hooked. And me and my friends could play four at a time! Soooooo awesome!
Shortly after that I found another reason to love the N64. Something happened that would change my life forever. I picked up The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This game was everything to me! I spent countless hours playing it. Talk about puzzles! I actually ended up having to play this game many times over just to find everything everything. Every heart, every side quest, I had to discover it all. The thing about Ocarina of time is that even if you beat it and find everything, you still want to play it again and again.
I grew up and when I moved out I didn’t take the Nintendo 64 with me. I moved out of my mother’s house on bad terms so I just took clothes I needed. I never stopped loving that game system. Through Gamecube, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, they were all fun but nothing was like the N64 for me. So a few years ago I found a very nice see through smoke N64 with matching controller. I had to buy my old favorite Ocarina of Time too. I play it a lot. My younger siblings don’t understand it. To them it looks old. The cartridge game and the crappy graphics, the don’t understand why this game means so much to me.
The N64 was a console, that while it had many problems, it was something new and different and it changed me. I wasn’t mindless while playing those games. I wasn’t escaping, I was discovering things. I was on a quest as Link, saving the princess and everyone in the kingdom. My sibling don’t understand that because they don’t play games like that. Every console to them is just a minor upgrade, every game just a story change from the last.
Of all the technologies that have gone obsolete, the N64 is the one I miss the most. I wish I had asked for more of the games back then. I fear nothing will be like that for me again. everything moves so quickly now, and I’m o with that. I won’t fight it, I will adopt every new technology, and when whenever another technology goes obsolete I will move on, but part of me is a little sad about it. There was a time when things didn’t move so fast and change was a big deal. When changed happened memories were made. Now new technology just means upgrading or signing another contract. Memories aren’t made.
I could be wrong though. Maybe everyone has that thing that changed them and nothing else will ever measure up to that thing. I am getting older and perhaps there is a part of me that is stuck in 1997. Forever that little girl who got her very first video game console, went on a quest, and got to save the princess and everyone in the kingdom.