I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing about my childhood and early adolescence video game playing days. My parents got me the original Nintendo for my 7th birthday I believe, I remember I was in 1st grade, so that should be correct. I fuckin’ loved that thing to death. I spent countless hours playing solo and with my childhood friends defeating level after level, boss after boss, throwing touchdown after touchdown, and so on. I loved that hockey game with the skinny, normal and fat guy. Well I loved a lot of games, so I won’t begin to list them (cough, Crystalis, Metroid, Abadox, XEXYZ, all the Megaman’s, sorry I’ll stop). In fact, I still have my original console, the Game Genie, the gun and some classic original games like the first Final Fantasy. I even bought another console (now I’m not even positive which one was my original) with a bunch of games included off of a kid during high school for $20 because he wanted to buy pot. Unfortunately, I gave most of my original games away to a family friend prior to high school, but at least I have that kid’s and a few I still had laying around.
So like I said, I had a true love affair with Nintendo. After Nintendo, I then got a Sega Genesis (sorry Nintendo), and then I traded that in with my dad’s help (we went back and forth to stores for maximum trade-in value, when an old system and games still were worth something) to get Nintendo 64. Before it even came out I was blown away when I saw what the controllers looked like and opted to rekindle my relationship with Nintendo. I couldn’t have been happier. I played Super Mario 64 the way Jimmy Hendrix played his guitar: truly one with the game/guitar. When I was suspended at one point during middle school, I played it like my life depended on it, that is of course, until I heard my mom come home. Needless to say I got all 120 stars. I think that was my favorite game of all time; it’s tough to say, but I can’t recall loving any game more than that one. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina in Time was one of the greatest games I ever played as well. The amount of games for 64 wasn’t overwhelming, but it’s quality over quantity, and that system was not short on quality games. MarioKart 64, Mario Party (any of them), Mario Tennis (God, me and my friends spent endless hours with this one, it never seemed to get old), Super Smash Bros, Starfox 64, Star Wars Shadow of the Empire, Turok (this game is actually what inspired me to write this, as it randomly popped into my head the other day), and let’s not forget the amazing Goldeneye 007.
The list could go on of course, but we don’t want to get bogged down further reminiscing and listing. Plus, I might shed a tear if I continue to think about each game. While I occasionally felt like I was missing out on some games that Playstation had to offer (like Final Fantasy 7, which I later bought when I got the PS2 the day it came out, ditching school to get it and stay home and play it), I did not care because my 64 was all I really needed. The graphics at the time were top-notch, putting Playstation to shame. The games, as I mentioned, were nothing short of incredible. The controller was funny looking and insanely comfortable to hold; the mini-joystick was awesome. Sure, the new systems have internet and play movies and are complete entertainment centers. But all the games nowadays seem like they’re just first person shooters, designed to train kids for war and desensitize them to violence. I bought an Xbox360 about 2 years ago I think, maybe less than that, after taking a Bar exam. I figured I’d get back into video games again, but the allure was gone, I couldn’t get into them. Assassin’s Creed was supposedly a classic, and I put it down after about 4 hours due to utter boredom. The 360 just sits around and collects dust. The most use I got out of it was the year I had Xbox Live and used Netflix (until their selection inevitably dried up, as Netflix selection sucks by the way), and that’s just not worth the cost of a system and the fees.
So, looking back, I cannot think of a greater system than Nintendo 64. In writing this I also realized I subconsciously was pretty loyal to the Nintendo brand, straying less frequently than I initially thought. I loved my Gameboy, and my Gameboy color was great too, I even got the Nintendo DS. I played a fair share of computer games all growing up, and absolutely loved Warcraft 3 during college; played it constantly. But in the end, other than the initial Nintendo, none of them could hold a candle to the great Nintendo 64. All hail Nintendo 64, the greatest console of all time.