Classic Games are My Life…Ok, maybe just a very big part

My video game collecting began on a hot summer day — August 26, 1989. It just so happened to be my 7th birthday. In what was the momentous birthday of my young life, my father took me to K-Mart that morning giving me the opportunity to pick out my very own birthday present. We were not exactly Rockefellers; I often say we grew up upper-lower-middle class. I was a conscientious kid; I thought I was supposed to pick out something reasonably priced. My choice was an Etch-A-Sketch. I had always wanted one, and it was relatively cheap.

“That’s what you want?” my father asked, surprised.

“Yeah, this is cool,” I responded.

“Out of this whole store, that’s what you pick?”

Clearly there weere things I wanted more, but I thought I was supposed to pick something of reasonable cost. I glanced over to the electronics section.

“Something over there?” My dad began walking over there, and I followed. Suspicious and confused, because we obviously didn’t have the money to get what I really wanted.

“Well, I really want that,” I said, pointing to the big rectangular box that housed a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System. The Action Pack — complete with Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, two controllers, and a cool orange light zapper.

“Ok then,” My dad said, picked up the box, and off to the cashier we went. I walked out of there the proud owner of my very own video game system.

The Super Nintendo followed on my 10th birthday in 1992. The Nintendo 64 on Christmas 1997. The Sony Playstation on Christmas 1999. My girlfriend bought me a GameCube for my birthday in 2002 (I wisely married her). I stood in line for a Wii in 2007. Ordered an X-Box 360 from Microsoft in 2011, and bought a Wii U with my own son in 2015. In between I made many purchases at game stores both new and used, shopped eBay and Amazon, shook down friends and family.

Today, I own 295 separate video games across those systems, plus the Atari 2600, Nintendo Game Boys regular and Advanced, two DS’s (regular and 3D), PC, and even a Virtual Boy. They’re mostly display at this point, like some sort of poor man’s video game museum.

I decided that a video game unplayed is a video game wasted. So I decided to go back through a virtual time machine, and play all of my old games. Every single one of them, from the terrible early ’80s bings and boxes to the modern first person shooters and racers. I will play the games to their endings, or what can be judged their endings. And I will write about the experience.

What I’m doing is a look back at my life through video games. Telling stories about my life and how particular games played a part in shaping who I am today. Telling funny stories. Some will be reviews. Some I have no idea what to do with. It should be an entertaining time!

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