Posted on April 8, 2014
Is it in your genes? I don’t know…
Even though I love playing older video games, a bunch of them bring back very strange, sometimes even sad memories. To play them now puts me right back in that state of mind I was in when I played them then. It’s almost like stepping into a time machine, and experiencing those same feelings I did back in the day.
Some might say that’s a bit strange. They might ask, “Why not live in the now? Why not focus on what’s to come, instead of something long since gone by? Don’t you think living in the past is a little… weird?”
To be honest, those questions have bounced around my mind quite a bit over the last few years I’ve written on this blog. As a person who has always been fascinated by the general subject of “history”, I guess it’s only natural for me to reflect on my own personal history.
We all have our quirks, I guess.
The general consensus about a person’s early teenage years is that they can be a bit awkward. While there are undoubtedly several well-known reasons for this – reasons I don’t much feel like getting into – I never considered mine to be all that bad.
Unfortunately, there was some stuff going on at that time that would be hard on anyone’s head, much less a 13 year old. A few family members had been diagnosed with Cancer, there was some uncertainty with jobs and money around the house (the worry ended up being all for naught, by the way), and I kept having friends whose families would move away and lose touch.
I felt like I was in a funk… but I still had NASCAR, and I still had video games. That’s healthy, right? 🙂
In any case, it was in March of ’97 that one of my great aunts in Baie-Sainte-Anne succumbed to Cancer a mere three months after learning she had the disease. It had been almost five years after my grandfather had passed away from natural causes, so handling the quick descent from “healthy” to “ill” to “deceased” was quite different for me, and hard to witness.
On top of what was happening in the Baie, another great aunt of mine (on the other side of the family, in Newfoundland) passed away the same day as the other’s funeral!
It was a rude awakening that the people I had grown up loving were starting to disappear.
In May of ’97, we went to the Baie to take care of some loose ends. Well, Mom did – I just tagged along as I always did, and brought some video games along to keep me occupied.
I rented a Sony PlayStation from Blockbuster Video with Andretti Racing and Crash Bandicoot. I had played the first stage of Crash SO MANY TIMES on a demo disc that I absolutely had to give the full game a try.
He seemed to be the front-runner to challenge Mario’s reign at the top of the video game heap, so I had to check out the competition!
Crash Bandicoot – the first one, at least (I haven’t played any others) – turned out to be quite good. As I sat in that old mini-home and played Crash and Andretti Racing, it sort of helped me get over the fact that it was a lot quieter in the house. Melda was gone, her cats were gone, and that was just the way it had to be.
It sucked, but life went on. There were other things for me to look forward to.
I remember the weather on that trip being quite sunny and warm. Spring has always been my favourite season, but with the way things had gone in recent months, I soaked in as much of the nice weather as I could.
Next to Melda’s mini-home was a storage shed, and I could easily climb up on a few things to get onto its roof. Armed with my Walkman, a flimsy set of headphones and a mix-tape with three No Doubt songs and various dance tunes from the day, I climbed onto the roof of the shed and just contemplated stuff.
It was around this time that I thought “wow – this No Doubt rock thing is way more interesting than the rest of this mix tape!”
It had a bunch of songs from…
This is the Canadian one, but there were several “Now” compilation series around the world. There was lots of dance\pop junk on it, but I still quite enjoy this one… and it had the Imperial March jingle in it??
Anyway, No Doubt ended up being the seed that grew into my current love of rock, and I’ll always be able to go back and listen to Tragic Kingdom – or play Crash Bandicoot – and be right back in that moment, sitting on Melda’s shed’s roof, looking at the water, thinking about stuff.
Oh, and here’s a hint about the game we’ll be playing for our next Nostalgicast!
Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out…