If You Don't First Succeed, Blow and Blow Again:
If you think about it, a number of conclusions can be drawn from the simple act of blowing in cartridges for them to work kids in the 80's universally did. It was such a simple fix, little Johnny didn't have to get an adult to blow on the cartridge for it to work, no visit to the local electronics store for the store manager to try the same thing you would do at home. Anyone could blow on the cartridge for it to work, and if it doesn't the first time, try and try again. True, some kids had better technique than others, and we all knew this one guy with the holy breath who would blow once and the game would work. Nonetheless, it was the first order of businesses when a game doesn't work, and it was a shared instinct between gamers of all countries and ages. Contrast that with little Johnny's first encounter with his YLOD PS3 or RROD 360, and you get a glimpse of the difference.
The past was a much simpler time, you just bang in the game and play it. Now, you must turn on the system, insert the game, get into your account, and then play the game. But this simplicity didn't just contain itself to the technology, but also to the games and the gamers themselves. Maybe because it is due to living in Saudi, but we never had the Sega wars here. Most consoles were referred to as Atari or Nintendo. Since there was the Super Nintendo, the Genesis was the Sega Atari.
We didn't know we were supposed to differentiate between the two, hell, we didn't even knew both didn't have the same games. Few people knew the names of what we were playing, as faceless (original but overused) cartridges went from neighbor to neighbor, each trying to finish it before trading it for another game. My earliest memories of holding the controller was trying to reposition Aladdin in the same jump pose my uncle left him in when he paused the game; my uncle always paused while jumping to know if I an my cousins played while he was away, my uncle was a dick.
Getting my First Console:
I don't remember how, but I ended up with a Genesis and an SNES soon after. My uncle started playing less due to being bullied around school and getting his cartridges stolen, and my cousins got an SNES. Bullies from outside of the neighberhood started coming in a stealing our cartridges; parents of course expect us to deal with it and wouldn't do anything about it. We played as a group, me and my cousins, and therefore the Genesis started seeing less use as we could only play it in my house, and we wouldn't be able to transfer the cartridges around. What cartridges we had were our own, and we wouldn't have any other games, since games were damn expensive, not like the cheap 60$ games of today (yes, gaming is cheaper today, by far).
For us, we could have played with those 4-5 games for years. I still remember playing FF6 without knowing a word of English and always getting stuck in Sabin's fight. We didn't know how to save, and yet we would attempt it every other week as if suddenly the fight would be winnable. The controller went from hand to greasy hand in X-Men, we couldn't beat the first five levels until a year had passed, but the same five levels never got boring.
I am currently reviewing the top SNES games, and I wonder at the cheap difficulty some of those game employed to keep us from winning. As kids, we wouldn't get beatne by it, but would try to beat every time. For us, we made stories about the games as we played them, inventing a fantastical world beyond what X-Men was about. We didn't know who the X-Men were. The game we played spilled into our other games, as we started incorporating elements from Donkey Kong into our make-believe, and Gambit became a legend we still refer to today.
My uncle got the neighborhood kids together to try and get their games back, it escalated into a fight and my uncle got stabbed in the neck. My uncle is a dick, but he also was a hero in my eyes, he was also a lucky bastard who got a major injury and survived every year. His friends today say that my Uncle shrugged the stab and kept punching the guy's face, who was 3 years older than my 12 year's old uncle. My uncle was hospitalized, where he eventually got better, but this time the adults took notice of the situation. My uncles 9 brothers (all my uncles) went in and talked to the bullies families and got the cartridges back. I don't know anything beyond that, but I heard that the guy who stabbed my uncle grew up to be a drug dealer and died of overdose, these things happen where I come from so its completely believable. My uncles decided that this trading of games might lead to similar incidents in the future, and hence they divided the cache equally between the neighborhood. Most labels were off, and hence were distributed randomly/ Out of three games, one of them was Donkey Kong Country 2.
Luckily for me and my cousins, my uncle already finished this game, in fact he just started learning English and was trying himself to beat FF6. I started learning English at a private school and actually managed to help him more than the poor Saudi education could. Anyway, we started playing DKC2, which was bloody hard. It was a game we tried to beat every setting we had, and when we couldn't we changed the game just to get back at it again. One time, while at my house, we finally reached the final boss. My mother was calling us to go to my grandfather's, and we removed the cartridge to finish it their. My uncle dared us ti finish the game, because he knew it would be hard for us, and we could go to his room and show him off. We couldn't, because the save was corrupted.
My uncle laughed that day, and we never managed to beat DKC2. Hell, it is the only DK game I didn't beat to date, and I wouldn't beat it if my cousins are not with me. We didn't beat it because school started for all of us now, and we wouldn't be able to play as we played before.
For me, the past of video games didn't move into the present due to the complications it introduce. Not because of the internet which suddenly told me which to like, which to dislike, and why I am a terrible person for liking what I like.
I used to game as a unit with my cousins, we were inseparable, and we finished game as a collective. I remember the last game we finished together was Kingdom Hearts. Both slowly lost interest in Videogames. I partially blame myself because I am older than both, and developed my skill faster accordingly. Suddenly, I started hogging the controller more, and my obvious intentional deaths were noticed by my cousins. The games were not fun enough for them, as I scoured the internet and started telling them what to like and what not to like, they started having less fun.
The games didn't change much, but I changed on them. The labels now were more important, and they were a vindication of my fun. My cousins did not have an internet, and they were not seeing what I was seeing. By the time I started enjoying games again, my cousins did not. We played together occasionally, but the frequency of our sessions dropped with each passing summer, until we stopped.
I now game alone.
Thank you for reading
P.S: Apparently, Googling "playing alone" in google gets you a women masturbating as one of the first images :silly:
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