I could talk all day about some of my favourite NES memories – the day I cleared the end of level flag in Super Mario Bros. (you just get a never ending castle wall), playing Punch-Out!! until my thumbs were sore, realising just how epic Super Mario Bros. 3 really was…..but honestly, if I had to pick just one, one memory above all others, well, that would have to be the day that I got the console itself.
For the previous year I had been playing videogames on my Commodore 64 – you know, the one which loaded games via a separate tape player (I still don’t get how that works). As much as I loved it, having to wait 6 minutes for my Turrican cassette tape to load up only for it to crash at the last minute was starting to wear a little thin. I had played the NES around my friend’s house and as far as I was concerned, it was the future. Of course, as was the way of things in my younger days, I begged my mum to buy me one for Christmas. Despite my relentless pleas, the response was consistently non-committal. While my dreams of a NES filled Christmas weren’t completely dashed, I was given the distinct impression that the chances were resting rather precariously somewhere between slim and none. Still, undeterred, I kept up my NES for Liam campaign for the majority of the year. Shit, it wasn’t like I had anything else to worry about back then.
When the big day finally came around, as young boys tend to do, I tore through my presents like some kind of feral beast (the sanctity of Christmas and its religious significance were of disappointingly little importance to me when I was 8 years old). But alas, despite what was clearly a very decent haul (there was much in the way of Manta Force and M.A.S.K), there was no sign of that shiny new NES console that I truly had my heart set on……well, it was actually dull grey I suppose. But anyway, the fact is, without the NES, the whole morning had an air of anti-climax about it…….I know, I know – what a greedy little shit I was.
Still, as I’m sure you have already guessed, that greedy little 8 year old did get what he was after – after the usual Christmas morning festivities, my parents skilfully ushered me into the next room on the pretext of some chocolate based treat where, to my genuine surprise, I was treated, not only to a brand new NES, but a brand new NES with the NES Zapper and the Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo. Needless to say, I lost my freakin’ mind. The rest of the day is actually something of a happy blur, but that moment, the moment I realised that the NES was finally mine, yep, that’s got to be the best memory of the lot. Looking back, I’m a little disappointed by my obvious greed, but at the time, I doubt there was a happier kid in the whole of Cardiff.
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