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Giving: The birth of a hardcore gamer

Oh, look at that. I have free time again. Hooray for college breaks!

When youíre a kid, Christmas is the absolute best time of the year. Youíre surrounded by a family that loves you, schoolís out, itís snowing outside, there's holiday specials on TV, and best of all, you get a bunch of presents. Seriously, when youíre a kid, there's so many things to like about this time of year. For adults, not so much.

But the Christmas of 2001 will always hold a significant place in my heart because thatís when everything changed for me. Before then, I usually just asked for cool toys, be it stuff from Power Rangers, Pokemon, Beast Wars, or whatever Pixar film was popular at the time. I wasnít as interested in video games back then. That all changed that day, when my grandparents did something for my brother and I that our parents never could.

See, my parents didn't know that much about video games, but they knew that video games weren't good for a developing child. At least, that's what the TV said. In fact, I distinctly remember begging my dad to let me have a Game Boy Color so I could play Pokemon on it. His reply was, and I quote, "we don't need another computer in the house".


So imagine my surprise when our grandparents gave us a video game console for Christmas. What did they get us? Well, I was only 1 when the SNES came out and when the NES came out, I was just a sperm swimming around in my dadís scrotum that happened to avoid getting drafted into the masturbation army (youíre welcome for the mental image, BTW), so we didn't get those. While I knew about the original PlayStation, I never really cared much for it at the time. And even though I asked my parents for an N64 after seeing a couple games one of my friends had, we never got that. So what did my brother and I get for Christmas? A purple lunch box.

And we loved it.

Artist's rendition of the two of us that Christmas morning.

While the launch line-up wasn't exactly steller, it did have some interesting games like Super Smash Bros. Melee and and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. But we got neither of those games for Christmas. Our grandparents gave us three games to share: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, and SSX Tricky. While we enjoyed all three of those games, we had our favorites. My brother, being the big Star Wars fan that he was, obviously gravitated towards Rogue Squadron II. Meanwhile, I really liked SSX Tricky. The bright colors, the exciting races, the outrageous characters, the over-the-top attitude of the game, it was all right up my ally.

Ever since that Christmas morning, I was way more interested in video games. My gaming collection grew and grew, my tastes expanded, and I met some good friends from this hobby. I think it's safe to say that this was one of, if not the best Christmases I ever had. I know some people shit on the Gamecube because it didn't have as many games as its competitors at the time, or that it's controller looked horrendous, nevermind how the N64 controller looked like a boat anchor. While I did eventually get some new gaming systems a few years later, then start spewing bile towards Nintendo for some really stupid, infuriating moves, I'll always cherish the time I spent with the Gamecube. It wasn't perfect, but there were some pretty cool games available for that system. For those first few years, that system made me happy. I guess in the end, that's all that matters, right?

Joy is a gift. This is the box mine came in.
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About Zalnoone of us since 2:32 PM on 05.15.2011