Christmas, for many it holds a special meaning.
For others it's an excuse to get gifts & give some to others in return.
For me, it's always been extra special because I was born on Thanksgiving. Which could not be a more perfect time to receive gifts because of Halloween & Christmas being closely joined book ends to my birthday.
But Christmas 1998 was different. Reflecting back on it, it was not a season of giving, but more or less a season of 1-upsmenship towards my cousin who seemingly got more than I did, but was never boastful about it.
For the longest period of time, I was confined to the pixelated depths of my 3 year old Sega Genesis & a single cart, 6-PAK.
Before that, I had nothing except the Demo disks that I would play on my late father's Re-tooled PC.
My cousin on the other hand
was blessed with an Atari 2600 & an original Gameboy that was a bulky & battery hungry beast.
Not that bulky, but you get the gist of it
When I would visit my cousin in my aunt & uncle's apartment complex 2 1/2 hours away from my home in New Orleanes, he would tease me with it.
Not in the actual sense but more along the lines of just making me want one myself.
Because of this I would gaze admiringly at other consoles in toy store in hopes of someday getting one when I went with mom or dad to waste my â€œToy Allowance" on something like a S.W.A.T. cat figure
or Captain Planet.
But then this blood feud was half way settled when I received my Genesis on my sixth birthday that was complemented with a Sonic The Hedgehog birthday cake that was lacking his bright red sneakers.
When me & my mother moved to Alabama in the humid summer of 1998, I discovered that my cousin had gotten a genesis as well with the exact same cart, but with Arcade style controllers that allowed the user to increase or decrease the speed of the game.
Oh how we felt like gods as we blazed through the likes of Golden Axe & my cousin's favorite, Streets Of Rage.
But still, he had that confounded G1 Gameboy. Whenever he would allow me to play it, my fingers would savor each gentle press of the D-Pad & every mash of the A & B buttons, especially on Street Fighter 2.
But things change. Come that christmas morning, I crept out of bed at my usual yuletide time of 6:00 in the morning to eye & unwrap my gifts.
I can't exactly remember what I got under the tree that year, but it was nothing compared to what was to come.
Opening up the fridge to get me something for breakfast, I surveyed around & found nothing good. But something caught my eye & I did a double take.
THERE WERE 2 GAMEBOY GAMES IN THE FRIDGE! IN.....THE...FRIGGIN'....FRIDGE!
My 9 year old mind could barely comprehend such a thing.
Maybe Santa had accidently left them there when he went to raid the fridge for some milk, who knows?
The two games were, as I later found out, Donkey Kong Land 3 & Game & Watch Gallery 2. Game & Watch Gallery 2 being a game that to me was synonymous with Nintendo's brand new Game Boy Color, since it was featured on the commercials.
But I soon found myself sulking despite my awesome presents. They were lacking the supreme god of handheld gaming.
Had Santa made a mistake? Were the games meant for someone other than myself? Was the lack of Gameboy my coal for being naughty?
These questions & more were scruying through my brain when my mother got up & asked me what I thought of my gifts.
" They're great." I mumbled, trying to sound cheerful.
She then gave me a hug & told me to get dressed because we were headed over to my grandparent's house for lunch.
As soon as we got there, I was taken aside by my grandmother & mother & was handed my christmas present from them.
" You couldn't begin to imagine the lengths Santa went to for you this year to get you this." my grandmother said, smiling.
From inbetween her wrinkled fingers, I grabbed a small, fat box. I nearly wet myself, it was a gameboy color.
Even though there were many colors released such as green, blue & the special Poke'mon versions, the see-through purple kind, known as " Atomic Purple"( The one I got), is perhaps the most well-kown amongest Gameboy's various hardcord followers.
I know it may seem like a cliche' to say that it was an almost instantous bond between me & Atomic Purple, but it was. It felt right & it felt good.
Because that moment, that single moment that happened 11 some odd years ago, reminds me so much of the song by Queen titled " A Kind Of Magic":ONE DREAM
ONE GOLDEN GLASS OF WHAT SHOULD BE.
Me & My Gameboy as an old married couple
If you must know what the first game I played was it was Game & Watch Gallery 2, no question. Mostly because I was curious to see what it was about, not having the pleasure of being around in the 80's to partake of it's original greatness.
With 5 possible choices to choose from ( Not including Ball, which I didn't unlock until 2003 or 2004), I chose Parachute first.
" Top of the list," I thought," maybe it's good?"
That would later prove to be false as I would become immersed in Chef
( The only game that I ever unlocked ALL STAR MODE IN).
As I tried to stuff Yoshi's gullet with Meat on a stick, Eggs, Sausage, & Steak, I heard the door open & the sound of my Aunt greeting my mother & grandmother who were both in the kitchen.
With her here, Aaron couldn't have been too far behind.
I dashed in the den to find him & show him my christmas loot.
As I showed him, I could see him becoming envious, even if it wasn't apparent.
It was a good christmas :)
Now you know my story & why purple is my all time favorite color next to blue.
We've had some good years, him & I.
I've gathered together 7 games for him to play for me 9 ( I used to have 8, but someone stole it & lied about it), some are loved a little less than others
( One I'm not particularly proud of own), but all of them are loved & that counts for something I guess.
But those times are gone. My Gameboy has entered old age
& is not as young as he used to be ( 11 is probably 75 in gameboy years).
If you turn the sound up, the music is horribly choppy unless you have headphones handy & the "A" button refuses to work unless you bash it with a hammer.
I can't blame him fo this. Regardless, we still have each other.
If he holds up long enough I might make him my best man