Gaming With Family: A Link Between Our Pasts

Videogames have been a huge part of my life ever since my earliest memories and I owe them for getting me through some tough times.

Even before learning to read, I wanted to play the same games my older siblings played. That meant clicking randomly in PC games like Super Solvers: Gizmos & Gadgets!, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. In that little kid fashion, I felt like I was at least doing something. Yet, something inside me yearned to play for real.

Fight me jerk!

The time and quality I had playing videogames were directly connected to my living situation. Both my older brother and I were still in school, but even though he was 7 years older than I, we both had infinite free time, even more so during the summer breaks. This gave us LOTS of time to rent and buy numerous videogames. Our plan of attack consisted of recycling the games we’d beaten to fund the new ones. We lived together in the same house hold for the majority of my life and, because of that, I garnered a special situation with him.

Now that he is married and raising a family of his own, and we live our own separate lives, we still try to find time to reconnect with new games. During the recent Steam summer sale I bought my brother Double Dragon Neon and Sid Meier’s Civilization V with the complete expansions for us to play together. In this day and age though, we cannot return to that nice infinite free time we once had. A place lost in time and space, only accessible now through memories.

Super 90’s as hell!

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house hold where both of my parents were a bit nerdier than most adults (and attributing to who I am today). My father liked to play computer games and I vividly remember him, my brother, and I all huddle around the monitor playing/trying to solve King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity. By the time I had gotten my Nintendo 64, I already had a stack of Game Boy cartridges lying around. Even with all those I was still just wading into the world of gaming. The introduction of my new and specifically first console opened up a whole new world of interaction with my father and brother. We could now play multiplayer games against each other. Before it was all working as one unit (mostly me watching) or us taking turns, but now we were shooting each other and having fun facing off in GoldenEye 007. My parents would soon divorce and the trio became a duo as my brother and I lived with our mother, leaving us the only gamers in the house. With every dark patch there is a bit of light as he and I grew closer and bonded over the Nintendo 64.

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Once I Left Wario’s Castle

Picture a younger smaller version of me, Franklin Raines, not but single digits, sitting with my mom on an airplane ride going from one side of the country to the other. I remembered specifically that it was the last time I rode a plane at night, making the event stand out more than past or future rides. I found myself bored, which for a kid at that age, felt like a lifetime. I was getting close, but have yet not achieved the necessary skill to read the fiction I would soon like, so books are out of the question. This only left me with my trusted teal green Game Boy Color found in my possession. I used the excuse to go walk to the bathroom at the end of the rows of passenger seats, where I notice another young boy. Just like myself he was traveling with his Game Boy Color and his mom (thinking back, of course I noticed the Game Boy far faster than the mom), so I talk with him until I decided to loan him a game until the plane touches down. I forgot what I loaned him, but remember that what I got in return was Wario Land II.

Having played hours worth of the sequel, Wario Land III, I instantly started to look for similarities between the two. Wario Land II still had me playing as the money-grubbing anti-hero Wario, where III dropped Wario into an alternate universe by way of crashed plane (coincidence to my present environment not noticed), II found Wario asleep in his castle as three shadowed creatures steal his treasure and flood his home. The thieves even left Wario a living alarm clock just to spite him. Wario wakes up and I, now the player, decided to work with what I knew from my experience in III; otherwise known as find walls to shoulder charge and floors to ground stomp through to find coins, to which my younger self found oddly comforting in its familiarity. A younger me found just enough time to finish the first stage of five levels before he had to stop at the second stages’ forest when the plane landed. Figures one would have to leave right when they started exploring the area outside of Wario’s castle.

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