The Console That Got Me Into Video Games
I grew up on Nintendo, but it was another console entirely that sparked my lifelong love of video games
Nintendo is responsible for getting many people into video games originally. That’s only partially true for me. Sony’s PlayStation 2 was definitely a bigger influence on my gaming career — it’s the console that turned me into a self-professed huge video game nerd. Believe it or not, the PS2 is turning 20 years old soon.
When I was eight, I was a Nintendo kid. I had an NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo 64. I still have both my NES and Game Boy — though I don’t know if the latter still works. The NES definitely does. It’s perfect, and I’m proud to own it.
But even at a young age, I openly wondered if I was over video games. I loved them so much only a few short months ago, so what happened? I didn’t known if other gamers experienced this level of doubt about their favorite hobby — but I certainly did. I was at a gaming crossroads.
I didn’t turn on my N64 or Game Boy for months. The only time I ever touched a controller was when my cousins and I would play fighting games on the original PlayStation. But even that I barely enjoyed.
I’m not sure if my parents noticed this crisis of gaming faith, but one Christmas, they set a large boxy present down in the living room. I rocked it to see if, maybe, it was a big LEGO set. But it didn’t make any noise. I knocked on it but it didn’t sound hollow. It was also very heavy. I bothered my parents every day, trying to guess what was inside the box.
“A huge boombox?” I would ask.
“Hm, then a tiny computer.”
I had no idea what it could be.
Finally, on Christmas Day, we had returned from my grandmother’s house at one in the morning, and I went directly to that big, bulky box. I ripped off the mustard-coloured wrapping paper and noticed a chunk of solid blue appearing. What is all the blue? Once I reached the center of the box, I saw the “PS2” label. I turned around, bemused.
What is this?
“It’s a PlayStation 2. [It’s] like what your cousins have, but brand new,” said my father.
I couldn’t believe it. One second I didn’t know this thing existed and now I couldn’t keep my eyes off it. It transfixed me…my precious.
I opened the box and there it was, a futuristic black console, with two small buttons at the front, power and eject. I inspected the box further and there were two games inside. Gran Turismo 3 and Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Strange box art: it had a dude with funny blonde hair and some ferret on his shoulder, and a giant egg? Weird.
It was two in the morning by the time I opened all the gifts. I was exhausted, but I was so excited I still asked my parents if I could plug in my new console and play. They said yes!
Looking back, Jak and Daxter wasn’t anything new. It was a 3D platformer with a cute mascot, a la Spyro, but something about it grabbed me.
It must have been the world and the graphics. For the first time in my life, I thought, ok, these are not pixels, this is a living world.
My love of video games was restored that exact night.
The next day I played more and more and I never stopped. To this day I am still playing video games, and it’s because of this one console and this one game.
I don’t know what would have happened if my parents hadn’t supported my love of video games. Maybe my cousin would have gotten a PlayStation 2, I would have seen it and I would have been all in again, but also, maybe not.
I can’t even imagine the person I would be today without my love of video games. Can you?
Do you have a special console or game? What are your favorite video game memories? Let me know!
Sebastian Sanchez is a gamer, writer, and film lover. He received his B.A from UCSD in Creative Writing. You can follow Sebastian here, on twitter, or his podcast “Best of All Time” available on Apple Podcast & Spotify.