Sunday, December 21, 2008

Amazing the Kids

If you asked me when my enjoyment of Nintendo began, it's easy to say. It wasn't when the first NES came out. No, that was torture for a retail employee who sold that hot commodity during Christmas season. For me, it was a few years later, when my friend Dave got a Gameboy.

Each time I visited NY, I'd grab that thing and play Tetris while staying at his apartment. Don't ask me what other games he had for that thing, because all I knew was the Tetris and the Russian inspired music that accompanied fitting blocks into holes and getting rid of rows.

A few years later, when I was managing for Babbages, we started a game trade in program. Two of our regulars (who greatly resembled Josh Mostel and David Paymer in City Slickers) decided to trade in all their Gameboy games towards some new games for their new Sega Saturn system. They had a treasure trove of games, but now they had a Gameboy with no games and we didn't take them in for trade.

In talking to them, I asked how much for the Gameboy. One said "10 bucks?" and I got myself a Gameboy with a case. That same day, I snagged a used Tetris for a few bucks and was good to go. Over the next few months, if there was a good game, I bought it. Slow times at the store were spent looking on BRIAN (Babbage's Retail Inventory Allocation Network) to see if any stores had cheap games they couldn't unloadweren't selling. Thanks to that, I got Dr. Mario, Donkey Kong, Rocky and Bullwinkle and a few others for five dollars or less.

But all I really played on my Gameboy was Tetris. Oh, I could spend hours playing that game. It didn't require me to have supple wrists or lightning fast fingers.

Once I had a bouncing baby Gameboy, well, I really didn't have much time for the plastic Gameboy. It went by the wayside until the boy child was old enough to discover it on his own. He loved that thing! That Christmas, he got his first Gameboy Advance. A first generation one, that didn't flip open. Thus, the child became Gameboy.

Ed and I liked that the Gameboy Advance (GBA) would play the older generation games. A couple of years later, both boys got the newer GBAs for their respective birthdays-but they still played the original games. Other than Donkey Kong and Dr. Mario, I think the games were mostly ignored.

This is a Nintendo house. If money were no object, I think Ed would have a P2 and P3 to replace the Playstation purchased back in '96 when I still worked at Babbages. We've had all three generations of handheld systems from Nintendo (and still own all of them), the Gamecube and the Wii.

I like how Nintendo has made everything backwards compatible. The Wii plays the Gamecube games and thanks to a nifty little add on, the Gamecube will play the Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Color and Gameboy games. Talk about getting your bang for your buck with the games.

Today, my child Gameboy decided to play a blast from the past on the Gamecube. The familiar Russian music came on and my child was playing the game that had engaged me for hours many years ago. While I folded laundry next to him, I watched how he played, but didn't quite get the concept. (For all the logic in his head, I think the spacial relationship deficit might be an Aspie issue).

I offered suggestions for his next game and he jumped from 120 to 176-and he was really happy about it, because he had TWENTY rows! Twenty rows, Mom! Mind you, most of those were still on the screen-but he got there. Tempted, I asked if I could show him how to do it by demonstrating.

He handed me the controller. This is huge, the fact that my Gameboy relinquished the power. I started playing and it all came back. The strategies to get three rows, then four cleared at the same time. The game kept beeping at more levels. Both boys stunned that wait a minute, Mom knows what she's doing with a video game.

That needed 1x4 never showed up when I needed it, so I ended on the 4th level. However, this is much further than either child has gotten in this game. To them, this was incredible.

I've achieved Rock Star status with my kids. All because I loved playing this particular game 15 years ago!

5 People talked back:

daysgoby said...

VERAH COOL!

I actually won the amazement factor myself one day playing Sonic.

It was short-lived but rock-star-status.

Gypsydoodlebug said...

Hey, I've been thinking about getting Boo a Nintendo DS for her birthday ... she'll be 6 ... are there games she'll be able to play since she can't read 100% yet?

Suzanne said...

Jess, as they get older, it's much harder to be a rock star for any length of time!

Mandy, Chef wasn't reading when we got the GBA and managed fine. The Zelda/Pokemon games should wait until she can read, but there is enough out there that she can manage without reading.

Joyce-Anne said...

Gypsydoodlebug - My 7 year old has a DS and she says there's very little reading for the Mario Cart game.

Saffa Chick said...

I've been addicted to tetris... no games gadgets in our house right now except an elderly xbox that keeps Milord quiet from time to time. I may get him an upgrade for his birthday!