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Bearded tales of video game lore pt. 1 - Destructoid






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Hi. Gather round. I'm what you might refer to as an "older gamer", a "greybush" as it were, though not so mighty of pubis hue as our exalted community manager/god-king. That means I'm somewhere between 32 and dead. That means I put Kung-Fu on layaways at Kmart before I even had a NES. A story for another time perhaps...

When I finally made the jump to joining Destructoid (thereby signing away more gratifying hours of porn watched vs. porn unseen) , I promised to relate such tales as one of my storied years would've experienced in real-time, not as anecdotal legends recently unearthed in forgotten tombs of staunchest nerdity. My goal is to bring life to legends through my own personal experiences. I was there when it started and will be there when 50 years from now my grandson exploits me on youtubes for playing games I bought him for his birthday.

I'll start with one of my favorites.

My best friend Jeff got a NES in 87. His mother was a Realtor/Drunk during the big boom of the early 80's. So they were well off. I didn't have a NES of my own at this point and all I heard from him day in day out was the sheer epicness, the untold scope of the free roaming adventure: The Legend of Zelda.
I questioned him incessantly about it. He became a personal FAQ before such things were waseven mused upon. I borrowed the instruction manual for the game and mooned over the artwork and goldness of it all. I memorized the controls and made notes of certain passages that may or may not have contained direct insights into the creator's vision, possibly deciphering arcane tracts of passage which would lead me to unknown treasures. I was obsessed.

As it was in those days, boys of similar ilk would coordinate through their respective parental units, "sleepovers". His house was really nice in comparison to mine. We didn't have central air (believe it) and he had Zelda, so the choice was clear.
We played all day and long into the night. We fought back the uncountable hoardes of whimsical monsters with fun names to say, were confouned by old men in caves with nothing to say, and braved the deep dark of jelly filled catacombs.

Before I'd gotten there he'd been saving his rupees for a red potion. When we'd earned enough we sought out the nearest vendor and traded with glee. We treated the newly purchased unction with reverence and swore to each other we'd never use it unless there was NO OTHER WAY. I'd never seen him more serious.

Eventually the hours got smaller and he fell fast asleep. I however was still agog with the experience, the wonder, the "holy fuck I'm playing Zelda!" of it all.
But then I found myself in something of a pickle. I was in a dungeon, right outside the door of a fearsome enemy whose loathsome screech was telltale of blood to be shed. The only problem was I was down to half a heart, but this was the best we'd done all night... and I had the potion...

So I used it.

Simultaneously, Jeff half roused out of his slumber by the sound of the potions work, issued a zombie like decree of "Noooooooooooooo" and as fast fell back to sleep. At the same time his mother bursts into the room in her underwear, chanting a somewhat staccato "No, no, no, no, no.." all the while pulling the plugs of various entertainment devices in an effort to curtail fun and leaving in a huff once every particle of light bearing machinery had breathed it's last.

This all happened in less than 5 seconds.

I sat there in the dark for what seemed an eternity.

Was I ashamed? Maybe. Had I betrayed my friend? Did I owe him 200 rupees? Would he ever trust me again?

I don't know. My mom came for me before he woke up the next morning. I left without saying goodbye. He was distant thereafter, and a few weeks later he moved to Pittsburgh. I never heard from him again.

Moral of the story: Red potions cost too damn much.



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