One of the first memories I have as a child, literally one of the very first things about my existence as a human being on this planet I can remember, is corn. I remember eating corn at my Nana's house. What a little baby was doing eating corn is pretty questionable; was I at risk of choking? Was the corn eating supervised? What kind of corn was it? Sweet corn? Or like, that crappy tasteless canned corn you can got on sale for thirty cents that only really old people who don't have teeth anymore buy and cram down their toothless, time ravaged maws?
There are so many questions that can't be answered in life, and this is probably one of them. But the next that pops to mind can be answered; what was a memory in close proximity to, and far more relevant to this blog than my memory of eating corn?
Super Mario Bros. on the NES, specifically, the stage 1-4, the first time I saw King Koopas Castle.
I remember the bricks, the music, the lava. I remember watching my Dad play it, and being a little weirded out at how much darker it was than most of the other stages. Even the first underground stage had this kind of goofy vibe, and off beat music. There was the water stage, which to this day, just makes me happy to think about. But the castle man, that was some shit. And it's probably the earliest memory I have of any video game, apart from some dumb ass Sesame Street game we rented around the same time.
It's weird to think back to when you were a kid, though. Everything is all blurry and cloudy, like some kind of fucked up dream. I wonder sometimes, when was the first time I was truly conscious and aware of everything going on around me? I look at my daughter and wonder, does she know what she's doing when she calls me daddy and laughs at my stupid faces? Just what will her earliest real memory of all this be, and how clear will it be to her? I think of the fact that my wife is pregnant again, that there will be another little spawn running around, and whatever what it will think of the world around it?
Anyways, that's a bit off point. What I'm trying to get at here is that as far as I can remember, the NES was always just kind of around. It was a part of our entertainment system from a point so early on that I don't remember a time when we didn't have it. So it has always existed as an integral part of my entertainment since growing up in my memories, much like kids who always listened to the radio, or always watched Saturday morning cartoons. Nintendo was just there, but I didn't have any ownership over it; it was a part of the family.
Years later, there was the Sega Genesis, my favorite home video game console. I remember getting it on my birthday when I was sick with the flu, and playing Sonic the Hedgehog and Toejam and Earl with my Dad. I remember that Ghostbusters game, and that game Moonwalker where you played as Michael Jackson before he was accused of touching kids, in a game which was conspicuously about saving little girls. Needless to say, it was a new generation, and a real game changer, and the NES just felt old and played out by the time it came out.
But the one console I will always have deep feelings of nostalgia, even beyond the Sega Genesis, was the first one I ever owned, all to myself; the Nintendo Game Boy.
I remember getting this for Christmas and nearly shitting my pants at the awesomeness. The green screen, the blur, and the heft of that gargantuan beast makes it look like an ancient arcane relic compared to what we have today, but back then, it was amazing. You could play a game in the palm of your hand, and it wasn't one of those shitty Tiger Electronic things that your mom would never buy you when she took you to the grocery store even though it was staring you right in the fucking face every time and seriously what kind of cruel shit is that to drag your kid shopping with you all day you mean spirited bitch?
Anyways, the Game Boy was great. And it was mine. I took it fucking everywhere with me. I got sick in the car so frequently from playing it that to this day I can't stare down at my lap while driving or I both feel nauseous and get a ticket for distracted driving. It is a serious problem when you're trying to masturbate into an empty Tim Hortons cup while driving down the highway and listening to Star Wars audiobooks read by Mark Hamill and it's one of the few regrets I have about owning a Game Boy.
I had it for years, and by the end of it, it was beat up and abused, and eventually, completely outdated. My Mom would eventually try to buy my love with a Sega Game Gear, and being the fucking dumb kid that I was, I'd look at the Game Boy like a piece of crap, and give it to my uncle. Over the years, I'd hear stories about how it sat in his bathroom, and about how he played Mario Land every time he took a shit. My Uncle is kind of weird that way, since most of the stuff I know about him has to do with him taking a shit, or having shit thrown on him from back when he was in a prison yard. It's kind of gotten me thinking that maybe I shouldn't have shared that here, that maybe that is a tidbit of information I need to deal with on my own. Sorry.
It wasn't until the Christmas of the year my parents divorced that I'd see another Game Boy; a Pocket Game boy, the Limited Xtreme Green Edition, which my mom would get me along with a copy of Pokemon Blue. It was tough going through divorce. It was a real dark time in my life where I was incredibly lonely and sheltered, having absolutely no friends and being completely isolated in a new, hostile environment after we moved from a small country town to a big, unfriendly city. I remember being extremely depressed all the time. It carved a part of my personality that has been so integral in making me who I am, while at the same time completely shattering any natural ability I might have otherwise had to connect and empathize with people. It has been a long road of healing, and even though I've come a long way, I still don't feel like I am completely out of the woods.
That Game Boy Pocket and Pokemon became my own personal escape from reality. I treated that thing like a best friend. I would stare at it sometimes, just admiring it; for some reason, I attached myself to it, and it became incredibly precious to me.
Then one day some asshole stole it out of my backpack.
The end. Just took it. Probably played with it, or sold it for lunch or whatever.
An abrupt end to what was literally the most important thing to me in my life at that point, the one thing that gave me any kind of joy in an otherwise joyless, merciless world of change and confusion.
You're welcome, cunt head. I hope you enjoyed it. I still miss it.
My Mom saw how much this upset me, and bought me a Game Boy Color. It wasn't the same, even though it was a hell of a lot better, but a Game Boy is a Game Boy, and I would play the hell out of this beaten up piece of shit until I finally got the GBA, and then the DS, and so forth.
For many years, I wouldn't have a Game Boy at all, but I stuck pretty loyal to the Nintendo brand name and continued to buy every console down the line as they would be released. I even have a 3DS today. But even then, even with the 3DS and a PSP and everything else I could ever want at my disposal, I still consider the Game Boy my favorite console.
Because I have a Game Boy Color sitting next to the toilet with a copy of Tetris. And I play it every time I take a shit. I learned by my Uncles example; the cathartic moment of silence and isolation on the throne is the best place to thoroughly enjoy a game of Tetris. I mean, I've brought my DS to the can before, but there is always a level of guilt involved since it is a bit newer, and was more expensive. The experience just isn't the same for some reason. A Game Boy is an inconvenient hassle to play these days; you need the right lighting, usually on a summer day, and taking it out anywhere just feels impractical compared to a system where you can just download a shit ton of games, and which people won't look at you like a crazy person for playing. Really, the Game Boy has lasting appeal to this day far beyond anything else as being the perfect thing to do while dropping the kids off at the pool. Nintendo had the foresight to see it forging a permanent place in the average American home based on this premise alone. It's a work of brilliance. Only in the warm lighting of a bathroom does the Game Boy screen look just right, and it's probably the only room in most peoples house where the light is going to be glaring directly down on the screen and where you will be sitting upright while you play it.
I love anything that makes my bathroom experience a better one, which makes the Game Boy my favorite console, and my favorite inspirational tool for thought stimulation, apart from the poster on my wall of Danny Devito's head superimposed onto my cock.