I still dress like Im ten. Nothing wrong with that!

Have you ever heard someone say that they've gone through different phases (interests) in life? I have had that problem in a big way over most of my 25 years on this planet. Call it obsessive-compulsive disorder or the fact that I was diagnosed with ADD as a child, but I haven't been able to stay on any one thing for more than a few years at a time. However, when I got into something, I immersed myself fully into it. I guess the best way to describe this is to go through all of the phases I experienced.


The Turtles as they were meant to be...

1989-1993: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
When I hit kindergarten in the fall of 1989, Ninja Turtles was skyrocketing in popularity. I watched the cartoon every morning before school and the new episodes that came on Saturday mornings. You know, there were actually a few episodes that came on at night as big premieres. I distinctly remember one where it was like an alternate reality where Shredder was a businessman and all kinds of weird stuff. However, that episode I think turned out to be a dream that all of the turtles were having at the same time. Odd…
However, the cartoon wasn't all I was into. Ninja Turtles spawned a merchandising juggernaut. There were snack foods, videos (I never owned one), movies, books, puzzles, and the holiest of things: ACTION FIGURES. I honestly had more than 100 action figures of the Ninja Turtles. I had all four original turtles, Shredder, April O Neil, Super Shredder, Tokka and Rhazar from the second movie, Casey Jones, the samurai turtles from the TMNT III movie, and dozens of others. I had a literal army of Ninja Turtle figures. I used to stay up all night nearly with friends and my cousins playing with Ninja Turtles. We even made (as Im sure many of you did) large forts and bases out of anything from beds and furniture to the occasional time where we'd take our figures outside and make a base in a tree or dig tunnels for them. Good times. I was into the Turtle scene for several years and this phase coexisted with a few other phases at the same time.


Does this ever get old?

1988-1996: Nintendo, Super Nintendo
Nintendo was pretty much my life from before I could even read and write. There were times when playing THE LEGEND OF ZELDA on the NES that I would have to ask my mother how to spell my name so I could enter it on the game. The first game I ever beat was Super Mario Brothers. That was a crowning achievement and I wish I could get my mom to find the picture of me when I was 5 and playing Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! Among the games I played heavily during this time were all three Mario games, Super Mario World, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Super Castlevania IV, the first two Zelda games, Zelda: A Link to the Past, and several more classics. We moved ironically from Summerville, Georgia to Summerville, South Carolina in Feb. 1993 and with that came the outdoors, more friends (the place we lived in GA. was not a neighborhood with a lot of kids), and a better school system. With the assistance of one of my friends, I got hooked on a new hobby and yet another phase to dominate my time. This is one that sticks with me to this day: COMIC BOOKS!


This is the cover of my first comic book. Ah, memories..

1993-1997 or so: X-MEN
Just the other day I went to Wal-Mart and convinced my wife to buy me the X-Men Volume 1 DVD with the first 16 episodes of the classic X-Men cartoon. That was a happy day and I actually felt as happy about it as if my mom would have got something like that for me 15 years ago. Remember when the X-Men cartoons were like 10 bucks an episode on VHS? I still have a VHS of the X-Men episode THE CURE. Probably my favorites on this DVD set are the COME THE APOCALYPSE episode and the two part DAYS OF FUTURE PAST cartoon. Those three episodes are true classics. My first comic book was VENOM: Lethal Protector #1. I gave a friend at school two Fruit Roll Ups for it. The book was awesome with a red foil cover and nice paper. I'd never read anything like it before. I still have that book to this day and I wouldn't take anything for it at this point due to its sentimental value. I didn't get a book each month at the time. I managed to start up a comic book club with a bunch of neighborhood friends and we all were different characters. I was Cyclops (the leader, of course) and my friend Michael was Beast. We had other guys that were Archangel, Gambit, and there were a few others, but time erases a bunch of the good stuff from memory.
I had a respectable collection of about 20 comic books by the time I was relocated with my parents BACK to Summerville, GA in August 1994. I hated that move, but I took a lot of fun memories with me back to Georgia. When I got back to Georgia, I stayed with the comic book collecting. Being an only child in a neighborhood of hardly any kids my age, I escaped into the comic book world and continued watching the X-Men cartoons. I was amazed by the X-Men Alpha #1 book with the shiny chromium cover and to the best of my knowledge that was the first book I got upon my return. I then got nearly every newsstand issue of the ONSLAUGHT saga the next year. I mowed yards for money and was a comic book fanatic. A comic book store opened up (it wasn't much) a few miles down the road and I got to go to it about once every two weeks if I had the money. I then got nearly every book of the OPERATION ZERO TOLERANCE X-Men books. The comic book store closed up within a few months of that and I quit collecting just after that.


One of the most exciting moments in history.

October 1997-2002: NASCAR
Never did I become more caught up in something than I did with NASCAR. Maybe it was due to the fact that the merchandise was so easily accessible. I wrote an article on NASCAR but Im not sure if it was published by the time this one gets out there, so Ill give a brief description of the start of this craze: I was talked into going to the 1997 fall Talladega race with my cousins and three uncles. I fell in love with the sport and went to several more races over the next few years. I had hundreds of 1:64 scale cars and had posters, life size cardboard cut outs of drivers, and a pile of other stuff. I even had two shelves full of magazines. I sold most of it after the death of my hero DALE EANRHARDT but I still have some magazines, newspaper clippings, taped races, and some of those stand ups and stuff. I wore NASCAR stuff to school everyday nearly throughout high school and that cost me a ton of popularity points. However, I was being me and high school was over soon enough. Ive since matured to the point where I now wear videogame related stuff everywhere (much to the disappointment of my wife) and I have tried to put a professional spin on such things. Once Earnhardt died at Daytona in 2001, I tried to go with Ryan Newman. However, it wasn't the same and I eventually backslid to only watching a race or two a year up until this year, when it came back with a vengeance.


Even at 25 years old, I still get excited over a new game. Introducing our Basset Hound, Kallie!

1997-2004: VIDEOGAMES ARE BACK
In 1997, when I got into NASCAR, I discovered that they had NASCAR games on the Playstation and I wanted one of those systems for that very purpose. I actually didn't care about any other game. However, I ended up getting a Playstation and a ton of games over the next few years. Eventually, in 2001 or so, I upgraded to a PS2. For some reason, that didn't satisfy me as much and when I heard that X-Box Live was a great marketplace to face off against other competitors, I got an X-Box and fell in love with the NASCAR games over there, as well as HALO. I'm starting to get a bit recent with this article, but know that I stayed in videogames until 2004 and then left them. I didn't get back into games again until the spring of 2008 when my wife and I got married. I bought us a Wii and Guitar Hero III. That turned into me getting my retro fix as well since they had tons of old games for download. To date, Ive spent well over one hundred dollars on old games and downloads. I guess Nintendo knows what we want for the most part, although they haven't had a decent old game for download in months.


I dont even know what half these are. Before my time?

2006-current: Retro stuff
The retro craze hit a few years before, but I didn't hop onto the bandwagon until about 06 or so. It started with pro wrestling in 2004 but I didn't get that much intot he old stuff. The first retro gimmick I can remember was in 1999 at the Winston all star NASCAR race, Earnhardt raced a WRANGLER car that was painted up just like his car from the late 80s. The first time I managed to get caught up in the retro craze was in 06 or so when I went to a flea market with my cousin and saw all of the old games for sale for just a few bucks each. I scooped up a bunch of old favorites and dusted off my old NES for some good times. Next thing I knew, I was seeing old school NES themed apparel at places like Hot Topic, and several food brands were relabeling their products with logos and designs from yesteryear. The age of retro is upon us, and I can guess its due to one thing: those of us who loved things as kids are now old enough and holding down jobs and can afford to pay for all that stuff we wanted as kids. After all, the X-Men DVD set was something I would have killed for when I was 10. Now, I can own it in all its glory. And you know what? Everyone of those episodes is as good today as they were the first day I saw them as a ten year old boy on a Saturday morning in South Carolina.

This article wasnt too detailed, but I told what needed to be told on this story. Has anyone else had similar experiences or am I the only one that jumps around different phases like this? ALSO…remember to check out my site, www.thetwilightgamer.com for more of my work!