Legendary

So September 9, 2010 was apparently the 15th anniversary of the Sony Playstation. IGN.com, my favorite website for video game news and reviews, did a feature where all of the editors talked about their favorite Playstation memory. Feeling inspired, I decided to do something similar on my blog this week. But I’m not going to limit myself to the Playstation. Instead, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite video game memories in general.

Such a topic can only start with what may be my favorite video game memory of all. (Or maybe I should save the best for last? Ah, well. Here we go.) My first video game console was the Nintendo Entertainment System, as I’ve mentioned before. It was a fine console, but by 1991, I was super-ultra-mega excited for what was coming next. Nintendo’s “next-generation” console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, had been in the works for quite some time at this point. Not only that, but Nintendo’s competitors had already released their next-gen consoles at his point, with both the Sega Genesis and the Turbografx-16 having come out way back in 1989.

Needless to say, by the time the Super Nintendo finally came out in the summer of 1991, I was very much ready for the next big thing. I remember being excessively excited just to try out a demo unit at Wal-Mart. I think I can safely say that there was really only one thing that I wanted for Christmas that year, and nothing else would have sufficed.

Back when I was a kid, Christmas was a pretty big production. Nowadays I usually get a couple of big presents and that’s it, but back then there were big presents, little presents, and in-between presents, and lots of them. But, like I said, in 1991 there was only one thing I wanted. I remember examining all the presents under the tree in the days leading up to Christmas, trying to figure out if any of them looked like a Super Nintendo box. I remember opening presents on Christmas, and getting more excited/disappointed every time I opened a present and it wasn’t a Super Nintendo.

Finally, there was only one present left. Unfortunately, it was way too small to be a Super Nintendo, so I was feeling pretty discouraged at this point, but I hadn’t completely given up hope. This last present was from my grandmother, and it was for both my brother and me. We opened it, and GLORY BE! It was a Super Nintendo game! My parents MUST have gotten us a Super Nintendo! And then my mom made a statement that made my heart stop: “Oh, Grandma must not have known that we didn’t have a Super Nintendo. I guess we’ll just have to take this back.” Just like that, Christmas was ruined.

I dejectedly made my way back to my bedroom, probably to sulk. My brother decided that, well, at least playing our old NES would be something to do. Then I heard my brother say seven words that have been etched in my memory ever since: “Hey! There’s a Super Nintendo in here!” Christmas was saved! My parents had hooked it all up the night before, and there it was, all shiny and new, just waiting for us to play Super Mario World and Actraiser. I have great parents.

Another great video game memory that I have happened nearly 10 years later. It was the year 2000. I was a year into my post-high school life, and I was working as an invoice clerk at a meat-packing plant. I was also living at home. Needless to say, I bought a lot of video games back then, but there was one game in particular that I remember vividly. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series, as any regular readers of this blog know. In late 2000, I was eagerly anticipating the release of Final Fantasy IX, the last FF game on the Playstation, and a throwback to the style of earlier games in the series.

Nowadays, video games are a big business, and the video game industry is fairly efficient and regular. Like movies and music, new video games tend to come out on Tuesdays, and you can expect to find a big name game in a store the day it comes out. Back in 2000, there was no such regularity in the world of video games. Video games came out on just about any day of the week, and you never knew how big of a gap there would be between the day a game came out and the day a game would actually be available on store shelves.

At this point in time, I worked the night shift and I got done at 6 o’clock in the morning. So the day that FFIX was supposed to come out, I headed straight to Wal-Mart to see if they had it. Of course, they didn’t. Nor did they have it the next day. Or the next. In fact, I think it was about a week after the game’s release date before Wal-Mart finally got it in stock. It was a long wait, but it was well worth it. I think I beat the game in 3 days, which has got to be a personal record for me when it comes to Final Fantasy games. There’s no way I would have enough free time to do that now.

Well, those two stories took a little longer to tell than I thought they would, so I should probably end with something short. Perhaps my most satisfying video game moment of all came in 2002, when I beat the game Gunvalkyrie, which was an Xbox game. That game was insanely hard, and the last boss was particularly so. I remember that I spent 3 or 4 hours just fighting the last boss alone, but when I finally beat it, it was exceedingly satisfying. I don’t know if I’ve ever faced a greater challenge in any video game I’ve ever played.

Ah, video games. Why do I even bother with any other hobby?

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