With the Holiday season in full swing (nay, almost over), I began reminiscing about past Christmases and all the happy holiday moments I’ve had. As with last year, I’m in California away from my family, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still create new memories that will last a lifetime! Anyway, there have been some truly excellent gaming related Christmas memories that I want to share with you all.
One of my earliest holiday memories I can recall was in 1996 when my oldest brother received a brand spanking new Nintendo 64! Not only that, but he also got the truly excellent Super Mario 64 to go with it! As if that wasn’t enough to make an impactful holiday, he also worked at Toys ‘R Us at the time, and the day after brought home what I believed to be the only other two games available at the time that mattered: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and Killer Instinct Gold. Man, such great games! Yeah, I sucked at KI, but I loved watching my brothers play it! And Super Mario 64 shaped by gaming habit without question. And then there was SotE, one of the coolest games around.
That awesome memory was only to be topped two short years later when I not only was given my own, albeit small television, but my very own Nintendo 64 console! My brother still had his, but for about 8 months of the year he was off to college, and the N64 went with him. Having a console to call my own was pretty sweet, and the N64 was my first official game console that was wholly mine and not a shared unit with my brothers! I wonder if my parents knew how much that would affect me…
Paired with the console and that awesome see-through purple controller was none other than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. My parents not only saw my list of stuff I wanted that year, but they must have talked about it with my brothers, because they pre-ordered it, meaning I was lucky enough to get the gold colored cartridge as well! Man, Christmas of ’98 was amazing. I literally can’t think of anything else I even did that year except get that game, play it every day, beat it multiple times, and love every minute of it!
So when my brother would come home from college, we’d get in some gaming time together here and there, and the game/games that dominated our free time were WWF: Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF: No Mercy. Following on the breakthrough awesomeness that were WCW vs. nWo: World Tour and WCW/nWO: Revenge, these two games had the much more familiar (to me, at least) World Wrestling Federation license. Not only that, it had a robust create-a-wrestler mode that was used very frequently to create new wrestlers as they’d show up on the TV show. We would play that game together for hours, entering countless bedlams, Royal Rumbles, and Tag Team fights. Some of my greatest gaming memories of all time, not just during the holidays, are the ones I shared with my brothers playing these games.
When the Game Boy Advance dropped in 2001 I was pretty excited to see a huge upgrade in portable gaming visuals and power, but I wouldn’t have labeled myself a portable gamer. All of that changed in 2004 when my parents got me the Nintendo DS. It was big, it was bulky (comparatively), but damn did it come out with some awesome games! The game I got with it, fittingly, was Super Mario 64 DS, another solid showing of Mario and crew. I would peg 2008’s Christmas gift of Professor Layton and the Curious Village as the moment I started taking portable gaming seriously. From then on, I could always have a quality video game with my at all times. One that rivaled the big brother consoles on any day!
I am truly blessed to have so many people around me who love me and care for me enough to give me a gift, and I truly appreciate that! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Take care of one another, and game on!