For years, I’d wanted one, and my mom always said “no.” But now, it was Nineteen-Ninety-FREAKIN’-One, and I was thirteen, baby: finally old enough to get a job on base! With my own job, I would be absolutely rolling in the dough! I could buy myself that Nintendo Entertainment System I’d been dreaming of for the last six years. And what a job I had! Bagging groceries at the Shoppette in Smith Housing, in Baumholder, Germany!
Oh. Right. We’re taking a trip to London this year with the band. OK, after paying for that, I’d get myself that sweet, sweet NES I’d been wanting since 1985. Months passed. I put one on layaway at the Sound Center. Being an impatient little geek, I couldn’t wait to get my new NES home… so I, er, made one out of cardboard, so I could… pretend… to play… Super Mario– hey! Squirrel!
My prior experience in gaming, to this point, was, to put it kindly… limited. Mostly, I’d played board games with my family: the usuals, like Monopoly, Battleship, and Scrabble, as well as more advanced games like chess and Chinese checkers. I even got to play some video games, like Pong, when I’d visit my grandparents in California during the summers before we’d moved to Germany, because they had an Atari at their house. By far the geekiest games I’d attempted were RPGs (that’s Roleplaying Games for the uninitiated), but even though I owned copies of Top Secret/SI and FASA’s Star Trek RPG, there weren’t many opportunities to play RPGs in Baumholder.
But time passed, as it inevitably does, and finally, in late July 1991, I was the proud owner of my very own Nintendo Entertainment System! After six long years, I’d finally done it! And I’d gotten that sucker the old-fashioned way: I’d earned it! With my very own NES, I’d finally be one of the cool kids! I’d– wait, what? Super what?!
Ah, the impatience of youth. If I’d even bothered to read any kind of news related to video games at all, I’d have known that, just three months after getting my very own N-E-Frickin’-S… Nintendo would be releasing the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. D’oh!
I still have my NES to this day, and it still holds a special place in this geek’s heart. It mostly sits in storage now, still in the original packaging, which I’d saved because I’d learned from experience just how frequently I’d be moving in my life. But every now and again, I’ll bust that puppy out, dust ‘er off, and kick it really old school with some 8-bit Super Mario Bros. action. Boo-Yah!
Nintendo 3D Mario image by NES–Still-the-best