The seed of my love for video games my have sprouted with the Apple II and C64, but the Nintendo Entertainment System is what made it bloom.
In the first year of its release I was given the NES console for Christmas. I spent the next few weeks playing Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers everyday. One of the greatest things about opening this brand new box of joy was that my entire family enjoyed playing it with me. Well, everyone except mom, she only liked to watch. My dad and brother enjoyed playing Dunk Hunt because of the light gun and the fact that is was a “hunting” game. As much as I enjoyed a few rounds of Duck Hunt, it was Super Mario Brothers and its platformer goodness that I played over and over. It quickly became one of my favorite and most beloved titles. My brother and I would play SMB two player for hours. Sadly the family’s fascination with the system faded after the first few weeks. The NES was removed from the den and placed into the separate living room which became my game room.
As time went by I acquired more and more games. Many of them were filled with platforming action. While others were shooters such as 1942 or racing games like R.C. PRO-AM. Around about a year after I received my NES I started to make more friends at school while talking about games. Some of them lived only a few blocks down the street from my house. We would get together and do many of the things that kids do. We rode around town on our bicycles. We ran around the neighborhood playing games. We had wars with rocks and sticks and acorns (sometimes we used Nerf and water guns). During the summer months as it grew hotter we took our entertainment inside. This was where the NES took over.
My friends and I would gather as much cash and coin as our parents and grandparents would give us. Then we road our bikes to the local grocery store and buy as much candy and soda as we could afford. Afterwards we ventured to the local video store. We walked up and down the aisles looking for the video game section (the liked to move shit around a lot), while eating large quantities of our sugary purchases. Upon finding it we investigated each and every box trying to decide which game we wanted to spend the remainder of our money on. After what felt like hours of deliberation (sometimes) we would make our decision. If we had the cash, we choose more than one title at a time. But that was something that didn’t happen often. With rental in hand we would race back to one of our respective homes and sit down in front of a small 9”, medium 19”, or large 27” TV (it depended on whose house). We threw one of the many cartridges inside the console and immediately started playing.
This is where my golden years of gaming started…