Month: October 2016

The Importance of Childhood Gaming Memories

 

I often wonder what makes certain memories stand out. What is it that makes something stick? Whenever it starts getting cooler and the leaves start to change color I remember the early days of fall during my childhood. The brisk air calls to mind all the evenings I spent in front of the television with my siblings playing video games. I don’t think it’s a secret that I am huge advocate for gaming, and I think it is often unfairly stigmatized. The memories I have of my young gaming history are some of my most cherished. After school, once homework was done, my brother, sister, and I would plant ourselves in front of the television and play until dinner. Typically, we would play fighting games, but one in particular draws my nostalgia more than any other, and that is Super Smash Brothers on Nintendo 64.

While I have many fond memories of all iterations of the Smash Brothers series, my most vivid memory is of the day we got the game. My brother had been asking for it for what felt like an eternity from our parents. He begged and begged until finally my father agreed to buy it for him one Friday after school. Dad picked us up from school, with my best friend in tow, and we headed to Toys R Us. My brother sprinted toward the game section and found an employee. My Dad reluctantly paid for the game. I can remember him saying, “Joe, if you don’t play with this game you will get no allowance for a month and I will give it to your cousin.” Of course, as the resident middle child, I complained that I didn’t get anything, so my Dad got Yo-Yos for my best friend and I.

We finally got home with the game, and my brother immediately took over. He already knew what you had to do for each unlockable character, so that was priority number one. When I finally got to play, my first choice of character was Pikachu, given the time period. However, my brother off-handedly said “Oh, Samus is a girl, not sure if you knew that.” I did not know that. I never played a Metroid game until we owned a Wii, but now Samus is one of my favorite Nintendo characters. The thing about Super Smash Brothers that I am grateful for is that it introduced me to so many classic characters that I wouldn’t have discovered until much later, when I got into retro gaming. Smash introduced me to my all-time favorite Nintendo character, which is Kirby. In fact, Kirby was the only character I could actually beat my older brother with.

Currently, my favorite 3DS game is Kirby: Planet Robobot. It’s such a fun little platforming game. It’s perfect for a handheld game. Had it not been for Super Smash Brothers, I don’t know if I would have ever played any of the Kirby games. Smash also introduced me to StarFox and Earthbound. To this day, whenever we are all reunited back at my parents’ house, we always break out the N64 and our game of choice is Super Smash Brothers. As I mentioned previously, the other installments are also great and hold wonderful memories, but nothing can compare to the original.

In the future, I hope to share more memories like this. I think it’s important to recognize the significance gaming has in social interaction. It’s a pipedream for me to write an essay on the positives gaming has on children’s cognitive development, but that’s not a task I am fully ready to tackle at this moment. Thank you for reading J Let me know below what your favorite Super Smash Brothers or Nintendo 64 memories are.