The year was 1989.
I was just a child, 5 years old to be exact. I was currently living in a house in Rosemount, MN; completely oblivious to what was going on around me - Race Riots in Miami, Rain Man
being awarded an Oscar for best picture, Tienanmen square- none of these things were relevant to my interests. All I cared about was listening to Weird Al and the Beach Boys on my sister's Walkman while she was at school, or maybe running around in my backyard with my dog Ratchet, and sometimes playing video games on my super cool radical Nintendo.
We had a gaming console before then, an Atari 5200, with Popeye, Kangaroo, and Pole Position, but none of those really grabbed my attention. Hell, to be honest, I remember playing through Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt and saying "meh" after losing all of my lives and then watching my dear old Dad burn through it in what I thought was the fastest time possible (Little did I realize he was roughly 20 minutes slower than the speed record). I was content with my tapes, my dog, and a little casual gaming until my cartoons on Nickelodeon came on... Until my dad came home from the store with a copy of Bionic Commando
I remember it to this day, easing that grey plastic cartridge into the 'mouth' of the grey machine and pushing it down twice because the spring didn't catch the first time around. Pressing the power button and sitting back to watch the title screen scroll down.
I was in such awe at how cool that gun looked pointing there at the word 'start' that I forgot to press start, and thought I broke the Nintendo when the screen went blank and I heard the staticky sound that the text made, but as I read what I could (mind you, I was six), I noticed it was a story. I called for my dad to read it to me, and as he did, I was getting pumped to go out and rescue this 'super joe' guy. the title screen went back and I pressed start. After reading the Transmission, I noticed my helicopter and all the numbers.
"stupid game makers," I thought, "they can't even count right!" I put this thought aside (although I remember being quite mad, as they should know how to count right if they're going to be making video games for a living), and started right in on the action. WOW.
I couldn't jump! What was this black majick I was witnessing with my own two eyes? Mario could jump, His brother Luigi could jump, I'm sure I remember even seeing that monkey named Donkey that he fought at the Arcades jump a couple times as well. No, my dude could NOT jump. but he had this RAD grappling hook (which is probably why he was called 'Rad' in the first place). I thought maybe he had broken legs, but then how could he run around? Maybe his gun was just so huge he needed his own personal crane system to get some sort of elevation. Yeah. That was it. He just had a really really heavy gun. At any rate, I didn't need no stinking jump, I had a grappling hook.
I played this game every chance I could. After I woke up, Before I went to bed, after my dad gave Ratchet away because he tore up his third pair of work boots. After my sister started bringing her Walkman to school, after my parents were done watching the Berlin wall being crumbled to pieces, I played Bionic Commando. When the nineties started, My parents got divorced, Neon clothes were at their peak, this blue hedgehog (that could jump) started to dominate my friends TV screens, and people were beginning to be "tight" and "fly".
I was still Rad.