Like many long time gamers, I have a long list of wonderful memories that stem from the wide world of gaming. I could drown in the amount of warm, loving times spent sitting in front of a screen lost in a virtual world. However, embedded amongst these cheerful spheres are dark and dusty remnants of shameful events that I would more than anything like to forget. I suppose it is healthy to remember such things, and as an act of penance I have decided to share with those who care to listen to my sordid tale of the day I struck down my most faithful companion in blind, seething anger.
Flashback to my much younger years, circa '98, and my family had made the rare journey that didn't involve an endless sand dune sea to the illustrious land of California. It was as much of an excuse to visit family as it was to visit Disneyland. Aside from dodging sketchy mascot automatons and engaging in an epic playthrough of Sunset Riders with my cousin, I spent most of my time faithfully playing my Gameboy. Staring into that green LCD and beating Super Mario Land for the umpteenth time was somehow more compelling then bonding with relatives I had seen once or twice before. I think I made the right choice. Moving on...
On that infamous day, I was sitting outside alone on my grandmother's porch, trudging my way through Kirby's Block Ball. For those unfamiliar with the game, it is basically a Kirby take on the Breakout genre. If that doesn't sound like much fun, I assure you that is indeed a fantastic game, with great level design, challenging bosses and Kirby's power absorbing mechanic worked well into the game. It is also a fiendishly difficult game, especially if you are 11. Due to the low resolution of the Gameboy, levels were compact, often started out with very little space to move around in. Usually, this wasn't much of a problem, but later in the game, all four sides of the level were lined with spikes, giving you two linked sets of paddles to worry about. Throw in some wandering enemies to unpredictably throw Kirby around and you've got a reliable source of frustration. You might start seeing where this is going.
Again, I was playing Kirby's Block Ball on my Gameboy, and I was enjoying the game to a point. I cannot remember the strict details; all I can assume is that I was playing a level, and I was playing it over and over again. What started as innocent entertainment became mild irritation, growing into seething anger and pretty soon my hands were shaking and I was seeing red. Being the undisciplined fool that I was, I could only think of venting my anger, and the closest thing was my dear Gameboy. I left all rational sense behind me as I balled up my fist and struck my dear friend's screen again and again. And as I raised my fist to deliver yet another bone shattering blow, I had noticed something particular. My Gameboy had begun to weep black tear down its celadon face. This strange curiosity overcame my hostility to bring me back to reality and realized what I had done.
I had just murdered my brother.
At least, that is what it felt like. My anger was instantly forgotten as it was replaced with absolute grief. Tears started streaming down my face and a terrible wail escaped from my mouth. I can't remember if I called attention outside with my painful cries, or if I had run inside seeking comfort, but soon I was surrounded by others trying to silence me. I had a reputation for having a hair trigger temper, so I hid my shame by claiming that I had dropped my Gameboy. But thanks to my heedless fury, I spent the rest of my vacation mourning, instead of playing with, my faithful companion.
When we returned home, I slowly learned to live with my grief and got back into my normal life. My friend sold me his old Gameboy. It was ketchup red, an ironic memorial to the blood that I had spilled. It served its purpose, allowing me to dive back into portable gaming, but it just wasn't the same. Months later I got a Gameboy Pocket, then a Color and further on down the line. Other devices took the limelight, and eventually my first electronic friend was nothing more than a nearly forgotten disgraceful memory.
Recently, after being introduced to Chiptune music, I decided I wanted to get an OG Gameboy to mess around with some music software. I did some searching around on eBay and I found a suitable specimen in remarkable condition. Once I recieved it, held it up in my hands and basked in its glory, I was flooded with childhood memories, including this sordid tale I have just told. I then swore to never treat my new Gameboy with so much as a fraction of disrespect I did to my previous one. All of my half-hearted desire to arranging blips faded away as I scoured eBay for Gameboy games I never had a chance to play. I think me and my new friend have a long future ahead of us.
Virtual console be damned; monochrome green or GTFO.