My gaming adventure started with my brothers.
My oldest brother had an NES, but my parents didn’t believe in leaving it hooked up - we had better things to do than play video games - so it was never hooked up unless hell froze over that day. And my brother never let anyone play it - was kind of an awful big brother growing up. We were allowed to play with the Atari and Texas Instruments games because they were more “educational” and hard as hell so it never kept our attention long enough to be a problem.
My middle brother had an original GameBoy and I would often sit on the arm of the chair and watch over his shoulder. I was “too young” to play videogames – more like he didn’t want to let me borrow it ever. That was my first fascination. Making Mario (Super Marioland) go through the levels, getting the timing down, the controls, raging hardcore when the black pixels faded to green as the 4 AA batteries died for the fifth time that day. It was wonderful.
I was actually the last child to get a GameBoy in my family. My 2 older brothers had them and my sister and I (5 years younger than my middle brother) were left without for a while.
Here’s how I got mine:
My family was never that well off and during the summer, my mom, great aunt, and grandmother would sit down with the newspaper and look at yard sale ads. They’d highlight and cut out the ones they wanted to go to and plan a route. Yes, it was all that involved.
My sister and I, being the youngest and unable to be left home alone, were always along for this event whether we wanted to go or not. More often than not, we would sleep in the car and go to look at the sales once we’d had lunch.
One fateful Saturday when this routine was taking place, my mom woke me up, I got ready and got in the car to sleep. I slept longer than my sister. There was a yard sale that she got out for, and I slept through, but when I woke up, she had a GameBoy.
Hell hath no fury like a would-be-gamer scorned. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a fit of that proportion before or since. My mom’s original plan was for us to share it. Being a twin, that was often the case with us. My brother’s would get their individual ones, but my sister and I would share the thing. If you have twins/triplets/multiples, don’t ever do that to them. It’s a slap in the face and probably lead to my issues of not feeling good enough ever, but I have a good concept of sharing and borrowing and returning things in same or better condition than I received it! Whatever, it was some shadey shit.
So all hell had broken loose and there was no quelling it. For the first and only time, my parents purchased a new game system that was not for a holiday or birthday – and they only ever bought GameBoys for those days anyway. We never had a new SNES, or N64 - we could have, but only if we had bought them, which none of us ever did because we wouldn’t have the money to do so until we were gainfully employed and we didn't like each other enough to pool our money. The next game system I would have that was brand new was a Gameboy Advance SP. Anyway, the next day, they took me to Toys ‘R’ Us and bought me a brand new GameBoy to quiet the household. I still had to share and borrow games from my siblings, but I honestly could not have been happier. New GameBoy, new power adapter, new Tetris cartridge, new GameBoy link cable. No, I didn’t need a padded carrying case for it. I used the Styrofoam insert and original box as the storage/carrying case until it pretty much fell apart.
A gamer was born.