Games of Our Childhoods

14 comments

The Autumn colors outside have had me feeling somewhat nostalgic lately and I wanted to expand a little on my older piece about how video games influenced the different phases of my life. It is less common than you’d expect for a non-sport hobby to stay with a child into their later adult life. What is it about video games that allow them to stick with us on such a deep, sentimental level for so many years?

My earliest memory of playing a video game was an old computer game called Spelling Blizzard on dad’s knees as a child. I remember learning words by finding them and pushing blocks all over the place on the ice to make words, avoiding polar bears and holes in the ice. Magic School Bus, Carmen Sandiego, and JumpStart games also got plenty of attention from me at that age. Dad loved played them with me, too.

Many of my strongest memories are ones involving my childhood best friend, Brigitte. She always had the coolest new consoles and games at her house and we would spend hours upon hours playing games like Pokémon Stadium and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles together. We would even pretend to be Pokémon having a battle while bouncing on her family’s trampoline, calling out attacks and even making the Pokémon noises. You know, silly kid stuff. It was good times!

Like many in my generation, Pokémon Red was the first video game I remember owning. It was gifted to me by my maternal grandmother, an amazing woman I’ve written about before, along with my first gaming system, the Gameboy Color. The next year I snooped in the office closet for Christmas presents and discovered a Nintendo 64. My mother warned me that looking at the presents early would completely spoil Christmas, but she was totally wrong. This was the beginning of a lifelong journey exploring the single best storytelling tool in existence.

I remember begging my parents to take me to the store to get the sequel to Pokémon Red and having such a hard time deciding between Pokémon Gold and Silver, endlessly staring at the two boxes at the late Circuit City until they were ready to close. When Pokémon Crystal released in the following year, I was astonished and delighted by the option to play as a girl. It felt like I could be me in my favorite game and that was an extremely freeing sensation.

I remember my next-door neighbor (also my first crush) trading me his Scyther since I couldn’t find one in Goldenrod Park. I also remember my other next-door neighbor decidedly saving over my game file when I let her start a new game with the explicit instructions to NOT SAVE. She did. I’m still capable of giving a small rant about that over 15 years later. 100 hours of my life were gone like that. No, I never hold grudges. Why do you ask?

Then there was the time Dad and I went to GameStop to check out the next set of new Pokémon games and having my mind blown when he let me trade in my Gameboy Color and bought me a Game Boy Advance with Pokemon Ruby. I was SO excited. Briggitte and I would lock ourselves in my room for ages playing together, trading Pokémon and working on solving the Regi-riddles. I can still hear the trumpets of Hoenn if I think about it.

So I guess where I’m going with this is that my childhood was like a skipping stone on water, hopping from one fantastic adventure to the next.

Post or comment prompt: These are some of the strongest memories I have of my childhood. What were yours?

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14 comments on “Games of Our Childhoods”

  1. I strongly believe everyone had their Pokemon savegame overwritten at some point in their lives. I had a Lv 80 or so Blastoise saved over by a friend. “But now you have a Butterfree (around Lv20)”, he said. Needless to say, I didn’t see that guy again, as long as we were kids. I met him once as an adult, but I still disliked him. I, too, don’t hold any grudges. Ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m about to blow your mind: I’ve never had a save file overwritten by someone.

      Granted, I also never kept my save files around for very long. Once I beat most Pokemon games I’d play them for a bit, get bored, and restart from the beginning. Slowly grinding every Pokemon to max level didn’t have a lot of appeal (still doesn’t).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What? You do realise that you made my whole world crumble apart before my eyes?

        I did not grind, either. I just never used another Pokemon besides my Starter 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah hahaha

        That’s how I started. That and the Legendary Pokemon, but after gen 1 they made it a lot more difficult to collect all of them.

        Then as I got older I started doing self imposed challenges through the game. Beat the game with 6 pre-selected Pokemon and keep them all under level 50. You end up learning a lot more about the underlying systems of the various games when you do that. XD

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the first ever video games I remember playing was called Fatty Bear – my sister and I used to play it all the time on our PC. You played a stuffed bear who had to make a cake, and set up a birthday surprise for this young girl. We loved it so much. We also used to play 3rd Grade Math Adventures or Clue Finders (can’t remember the exact title?), Magic School Bus, and Detective Barbie. I think Pokemon was a big one for me as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pokemon Ruby was my first Pokemon game. I feel like that was the time I got serious about discovering new games. Other than that I was only playing games that were linked to movies and shows I liked before my taste started expanding.

    Liked by 1 person

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