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I Grew Up Without A Nintendo, And It Still Haunts Me To This Day

Recently, an article was published on this site about how NFL Blitz 2001 is the best n64 game to play at parties. It was appropriately titled ‘Why NFL Blitz 2001 Is The Best N64 Party Game of All-Time.’

As I sat at my computer reading this, a familiar mix of nervousness and dread had overtaken me.
You see, I grew up without a Nintendo home gaming console. I did, however, come close on a cold Cleveland winter evening in the mid-nineties when my grandpa bought my sister and I a Super Nintendo, but my parents requested that he return it because ‘we didn’t need it.’

Now, twenty years later, I’m still affected by that decision. They say as a parent that seemingly small decisions you make when your children are growing up can have a large impact on them as an adult, and this is definitely a prime example of that.

This didn’t seem like a big deal as a teenager because most of my friends and I were swept up in the Halo movement. Weekend nights were spent at sleepovers drinking Kool-Aid and system linking our Xboxs together to play halo until the wee hours of the morning. And when we got hungry, you bet your ass we’d go to the freezer and make some taquitos to fuel our fun.

But then I got to college, and with that came the introduction of alcohol and drinking games. Sure, I kick ass at flip cup and I can make a behind the back last cup shot in beer pong, but that familiar feeling that I mentioned earlier started when the Nintendo got brought out.

Suddenly it’s Christmas morning all over again as a bunch of 20 somethings start cheering and claiming their favorite character; reminiscing on how they used Donkey Kong’s giant wind up punch or how fast Princess Peach accelerates out the gate. I just sit there reluctantly like a small child forced to go to church, knowing that the next couple hours are going to be filled with everyone taking turns playing and me getting out at the beginning of every round.

Fast forward to postgrad life and it’s the same old song and dance. House parties still consist of playing old school Nintendo games, just on a different platform; The Switch. Coworkers are talking about how excited they are for Mario Tennis to drop this week and one is so ecstatic that he’s taking a half day Friday just to devote an extra four hours of his weekend on his couch playing.

I know what a lot of you are thinking: Can’t you just buy the Switch and get good at these games too? Sure, I could, and I could also get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take the butcher’s word for it. As for the Switch, I’d still be at a major disadvantage. By now people have been playing these games for years, even decades. You think I’m just going to come in here fresh off the street and after a week or so of training get good enough to compete with my friends? No way, kemosabe.

Furthermore, where are all my PSPs at? My Play Station People. Did anyone else spend countless hours playing Spyro the Dragon with their sister in the basement of their parents’ house? Can you still hear the ooga booga from the Aku Aku mask in Crash Bandicoot? Because Spyro is back in a big way this September and Crash has been back since last year.

Yes, I have fond memories of those times, a simpler time if you will. Where the only kind of domestic violence I knew of was when my dad would beat my mom in Tekken with a deathly kick from Hworang and the only time we had trouble with the cops was when we’d get pulled over in Need For Speed III Hot Pursuit.

In summary, all I’m saying is that while everyone is obsessing over Nintendo, don’t forget about the those suffering in silence, the minority out there that grew up with Xbox and Play Stations. And maybe next time you’re about to play some drinking games maybe toss out the idea of a Tekken Tag Tournament. Because we need to remember to be inclusive. It is 2018 after all.

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