My Jump into the Next Generation: A Christmas Story
Peace and love, brothers and sisters! Colorwind here and I don’t have very many Christmas video game memories. Only a couple comes to mind and one of them is not a very happy one. However, the one I’m going to talk about here is an important one as well as a special one.
My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was young and one thing we were sorely lacking in the 90s was a computer. By 1997, the internet was around and was an extremely useful tool that we didn’t have. We couldn’t afford a computer but we had heard of this service that allowed you to surf the web on your TV. It was around $400, give or take, so my family saved up to buy this. We may still not have a computer but at least we could get the internet!
So we managed to save the money and come Christmas Eve, it was time to go and get this thing that would allow us to get the web on our TV. I honestly don’t remember what it was even called. One of my mothers, Cynthia, took me to Montgomery Ward and we found a salesperson and told them to explain how this thing worked. He explained to us that this thing actually required a subscription service, a special keyboard and mouse that worked on a TV, a separate telephone line and all these other fees. When it was all said and done, instead of the 400 dollars that we had saved up, it would actually end up costing close to 600.
Needless to say, we decided not to get it after all. So now we had 400 bucks and nothing to buy. My mother asked me what I wanted. Not sure, I just asked if we could look around the electronics section. So we did and I looked around, not really seeing anything I wanted. I had a stereo, had no use for a karaoke machine, and didn’t know what most of the stuff was.
I found the video game wall and didn’t see anything I wanted either until I saw the Sony PlayStation. I had never heard of the PlayStation. I don’t recall reading about it in magazines (although it’s probably because I didn’t pay attention) and I didn’t recognize the games that were for it. However, I noticed that it used discs. To me this means it was a “rich boy” system.
“Rich Boy” systems were what I called when I was young consoles that were expensive and offered games not possible on the Genesis and Super Nintendo. These included the 3DO, Atari Jaguar, and above all else, the Neo-Geo AES. This also included the Sega Saturn as I had not comprehended the concept of different generations of consoles. My whole childhood had consisted of the 16-bit generation and I didn’t know that the industry essentially resets itself every five years or so.
There are exceptions. I had a NES as my first console and the year before, I got a N64. However, I didn’t have my NES for very long (less than a year) and I had already gotten rid of my N64 since I didn’t like it. Also, since it was always Nintendo doing this, I just figured that they were different models of the same thing. They were all called Nintendo so it made sense to me.
Anyways, here I am, a ten year old kid, looking at in my eyes a “rich boy” system with a price tag of $300. I didn’t know anything about this console but now I’m thinking “I’ll finally have a rich boy system.” My uncle had a Neo-Geo and it boggles my mind to this day. My cousins knew someone who had a Sega Saturn and when I saw it, it was hooked up to a big screen TV with a sound system hooked up but they wouldn’t let me play it. However now, now I would have one of my very own.
So I asked if I could get the system and my mother agreed. I picked out two games to go with it. Oddly enough, I picked Crash Bandicoot 1 and 2. I know why I got a Crash Bandicoot game. His spiky hair and the attitude he looked like he had reminded me of Sonic the Hedgehog, my favorite video game character. However, I don’t know why I got two of them as opposed to something else. So we paid for it and went home. I unboxed it, hooked it up with some help from my mothers and popped in Crash Bandicoot. I never looked back.
The Sony PlayStation turned me into a real gamer. From that point on, I did research on the console and realized there were different generations. I did more research, learned about consoles prior, started collecting consoles and tried out new games from genres I hadn’t tried, like RPGs. I started really paying attention to the video game industry because of the original PlayStation. To this day, the PS1 is my favorite console and it was all due to a whim.
Do you have a Christmas video game memory that changed your mindset towards video games? Share your memories in the comment section below.