After one my more memorable Christmases for getting video games, I can’t help but think back to those years as a kid that I’ll certainly never forget.
1990 is one of the earliest Christmas memories I have, and that’s for a few reasons. Sure, I remember getting a few other memorable gifts in years prior to that, but ’90 sticks out because of which games I got, and it was all recorded on home video. That part helps, I suppose.
To begin with, I woke up to a massive Raphael doll (of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) propped up against our living room coffee table. I proceeded to open the gifts in my stocking, which all seemed to have video game themes of their own – Super Mario Bros. 3 chocolate bars, a Super Mario\Legend of Zelda fanny pack, Nintendo brand gum… it was all in there.
So was the New Kids on the Block “Step by Step” audio cassette, but that’s another story.
Though I recieved TMNT action figures in spades that year, it was the complete shock of opening up the first video game I ever receieved as a Christmas present - a Nintendo Game Boy, complete with the Tetris pack-in. My surprise was caught on video… I hadn’t asked for it, and only once had I ever played the thing.
On a ferry trip from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundlandand earlier that year, I was quite ill from a virus of some kind. I can still close my eyes, and see the paper barf bags we had on hand for me – they had a bendy plastic top you could use to roll it up and “seal” it with, not unlike some packaging I’ve seen on packages of chocolate chip cookies…
Anyway, we initially thought it was sea sickness, so I was brought down to the lower part of the ship, where we were told I wouldn’t feel the effects quite as much. It looked and felt a bit like an airplane, what with aisles to walk through and comfortable blue seats in rows. The only difference were the portholes just above our heads, where one could stand and look out at the Atlantic Ocean at eye level. As I tried to get some rest, a kid who was a complete stranger was nice enough to let me try his Game Boy. The game was Golf, and even though I didn’t quite understand how to play it (I was quite out of it, at this point in the trip), it had me intrigued.
There was something alluring about that green and blue display, and the tinny 8-bit sound fit nicely. I temporarily forgot about my illness until the ship docked… and then was sick all the way through the car ride to St. John’s. So much for it being sea sickness!
My folks must have seen how happy playing it made me, because even though I never asked for it, it was definitely one of the highlights from that Christmas season. I also recieved the necessary Mario game to go along with it in Super Mario Land, as well as Mega Man 3. The rest of my vacation was spent playing those games pretty much non-stop!
Other memorable video game Christmases;
1992 – Super Mario Kart, and an ASCII Turbo controller… set up the Super NES in the living room, and found out turbo controllers and racing games didn’t mix.
1993 – Sega Game Gear, packed with Sonic the Hedgehog, and Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse came separately. I just wanted to own *something* Sega-related, just to say I could. I didn’t know if the Game Gear was any good or not, but I’m glad I asked for it!
1994 – Donkey Kong Country… again, I had never played this game, but surely, all the hype must mean something. Right? Well, it was (and still is) a lovely game.
As for this year, there’s no doubt that I’ve never recieved quite as many games in one shot.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) – I’ve already started playing through this, and though it’s taking a while to get interesting, it’s still Zelda, and I see myself enjoying it more the next time I play through it.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (PS3) – I’m particularly excited about this one, due to the fact that I’ll finally be motivated enough to play MGS3: Snake Eater.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (PS3) – I’ve been meaning to try these games for a while, just to see what all the fuss is about…
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) – …so when I recieved both games in a combo-pack with a new controller, I knew I’d be in for some fun.
Halo: Anniversary Edition (Xbox 360) – Great game when it came out, and them re-skinning it has me all excited to try it out.
Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360) – Seeing Arkham City in action on a 60-inch TV had me wanting it pretty badly… I’m the type where I HAVE to play the original game first, however, so this might get played before MGS3… we’ll see.
Assassin’s Creed (Xbox 360) – Here’s another one I need to play, just to see what all the fuss is about. I don’t doubt it’s right up my alley!
God of War: Origins Collection (PS3) – I don’t ever see myself owning a Sony PSP, so having them re-release both God of War games in HD for PS3 was quite the treat. I expect to enjoy myself tremendously as I mindlessly string together combos that look impressive, but I’m really just mashing buttons.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter (DS) – Not mine, as it was my gift to my wife. Nevertheless, I’m sure I’ll be getting some enjoyment out of this one!
Almost as awesome as Christmas deals are Boxing Day deals, so I managed to pick up a few more titles… you know, just to supplement my collection just a bit more.
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (PS3) – I enjoy the CG-animated show enough to warrant buying this one, and seeing as how it tweaks the formula used in the first Lego Star Wars games, I couldn’t go wrong at $20.
Medal of Honor (PS3) – Another $20 buy, and this time, I’m almost as excited about having Medal of Honor: Frontline re-mastered in HD! I’m such a sucker for old games, I tell you!
Guitar Hero: Van Halen (Xbox 360) – I’m not so much a fan of Van Halen as I am of other artists included in the game, but at $5, why not?
Guitar Hero 5 (Xbox 360) – While I prefer Rock Band over the Guitar Hero series (strumming notes to the beat of coloured squares just seems more satisfying than circles), set lists and downloadable content matters quite a bit. First album Queens of the Stone Age tunes? YES PLEASE!
God of War: HD Collection (PS3) – Alright, so I already own the first two titles for PS2… but c’mon. They had me at “HD re-make”.
So, there you have it. I’ll go back to “reviewing” games in a while, but it was such a crazy and memorable holiday that I couldn’t not just sit back and remenisce!