Posted on January 20, 2014
Space… the nauseating frontier.
In retrospect, one of the most memorable gifts I got at Christmas in ’91 was Home Alone on VHS. It was one of those gifts that I opened and had to fake a reaction with, simply because I hadn’t asked for it and had very little knowledge about it.
My sister (who had gotten it for me) was quite excited about watching it and seeing my reaction to various scenes, so we all gathered and watched it that same day. When it came to the part with all the booby traps, I was quite literally ROTFL-ing. It was definitely the most entertaining movie I had ever seen!
Fast-forward to a week or so later…
Katie’s parents next-door had planned a New Year’s Day brunch with a few people from around the block. My parents were hosting a small get-together the night before, so they decided it would be easier for everyone if I just went over and slept at Katie’s house on New Year’s Eve.
A “sleep-over” was a strange concept to me at the time, but Katie and I were good friends, and we’d undoubtedly have lots of fun watching movies and eating junk food into the wee hours of… well, 1992.
On top of movies and snacks, we made a trip to Major Video and got to rent not one, but TWO games. I got to pick one, and Katie got to pick one.
Naturally, my game of choice was Home Alone for NES. Unfortunately, the game was not nearly as fun as the movie.
The controls were touchy and unresponsive all at once. Kevin’s running animation looked awkward and unnatural, remeniscent of a forward-moving Moonwalk. The booby traps, the best part of the movie, were just square icons that could be placed anywhere around the house. The only goal was to just run away, not let Harry or Marv touch you for 20 minutes exactly, and the game was beaten.
I guess it was kinda fun exploring the 8-bit version of the McCallister home for a few minutes, but it was just so… jagged-looking. Not long after I started playing it, I was done with it.
Thankfully, Katie’s game of choice that night was…
I hung out with Katie so much that it was inevitable for me to do things I didn’t necessarily want to. I played with Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, Barbie dolls, played house a bunch of times (I always ended up in the pretend-kitchen), and of course, watched TV shows and movies I didn’t really want to.
The Little Mermaid was one of those movies.
Katie was a trooper and watched me play a lot of video games, so I thought it was only fair for me to repay the favor, and do things she wanted to do.
In any case, when the opportunity came to rent The Little Mermaid for NES, she jumped at it. I wasn’t completely against the idea, but I wasn’t necessarily all for it either.
Somewhat surprisingly, the game was fantastic! It was yet another instance of Capcom working their magic with the Disney license. It wasn’t the most challenging game ever, but man, trapping enemies with your tail-whip bubbles, then grabbing and throwing them at other enemies… so much fun!
To this day, I’ve gotten get more satisfaction from playing The Little Mermaid than I ever did with Modern Warfare 2… just sayin’.
The thing about sleep-overs I enjoyed when I was growing up was waking up in a different place than my own bedroom. Seeing how the sun would rise and shine into the room in the morning, and seeing how your friend’s family got their day started were both things you wouldn’t expect a little kid to think about.
For some reason, I did. I thought it was fascinating to observe routines that weren’t mine.
That first sleep-over I ever had on New Year’s Eve at Katie’s was memorable for the games and the snacks, but it was when we turned off the NES that came the memorable part of the evening.
We started flipping through the channels, eventually landing on the tail-end of something fun – probably The Simpsons. When the show ended and credits finished rolling, the memorable Star Trek: The Next Generation intro began.
I was still in my “Jupiter is plotting to leave its orbit, then hunt down and destroy planet Earth” phase. The idea of the deadliness of what lurked in outer space freaked me out, and that included science fiction shows.
When Katie said she wanted to leave it on MITV (Channel 6) to watch Star Trek, I shouted “NO!!! I’M ALLERGIC TO STAR TREK!!!”
Yep. Allergic to a television program. Katie straight-up laughed in my face.
I couldn’t help but admit that what I had just said was ridiculous. Still, as those opening credits rolled and the camera zoomed past several planets (Jupiter being one of them – ahhhh!), I just said “NOPE!! NOPE!! CAN’T DO IT!!”
We ended up watching something else entirely, maybe one of those T.G.I.F. shows on ABC, like Family Matters or Step by Step.
It definitely wasn’t Star Trek. That much was certain.