When you’re a child and all your friends have a new gaming system, you want to be part of the club. Now, in today’s world, that means spending a lot of money for the latest Playstation or X-Box or what-have-you.
Back in the 90s, we were a little simpler. We had to blow on our cartridges to get them to work in our systems and sometimes that didn’t help. But I’m not here to talk about the struggles of trying to get a game to actually even work to play it.
I’m here to talk about what it was like getting my Nintendo 64 for the first time and playing my favorite games. Why? Because I was born in 1991 and that’s what was cool in 1996 when I was 5.
Now here is the thing about owning a Nintendo 64: it was rad then and it is still rad now and if I could find my old one, I’d be playing it. Why? Because the games were just that fun! I remember the Christmas I got it. I thought I was so cool because I heard my mom tell my brother she bought it for me and he went and told her I knew.
Because I was little, she said that she was going to return it and tell Santa not to bring any of the games for it and I cried for a week. Surprise, I got it anyway but still, I was scared for a while there.
My favorite games were Golden Eye (my family loved James Bond so of course we loved this) and Smash Brothers. I mean, I’m not saying I’m a gamer by any means but I could smash my controller enough to get through some battles.
When I say I’m not a gamer, I mean that I exclusively play only Mario Kart to this day because I refuse to play any other game until I can defeat Rainbow Road with ease. So I guess I’m never playing another video game in my life because I’ll never succeed in that goal.
But it does put into perspective how much those childhood games shape us. For me, I never really understood the RPG games or anything that wasn’t a movie I enjoyed (Golden Eye) or characters eating each other and absorbing their powers (looking at you, Kirby).
So in it all, I guess the biggest thing to take away from your nostalgia for your childhood games is that it helps shape you as you’re older. Or it haunts you. I don’t know, I just want to beat Rainbow Road so who am I to talk?
Rachel Leishman is an actress, writer (see her work at Culturess), and podcaster (HardBodies, The Fordcast) who aspires for everything and used to have a Frank Sinatra poster on her wall as a child. You can follow her on Twitter, @RachelLeishman.