27 March 2010

Star Fox 64 - Nintendo 64

I used to call it Parent Appreciation Day. Since they weren't charging me rent at the time I figured I'd make it up to the finest human beings in the world by cooking them lavish meals from time to time.
But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Today was my second day at the PAX East gaming convention in Boston. Yesterday I went from booth to booth checking out new games. I was dazzled. But today I began at the top floor in the last room on the left. It was the classic console room, and they had nearly every vintage console you can imagine ready to be played for free.
I wanted to play Panzer Dragoon on the Saturn but someone was already on it. I looked at the list of available games, flipping the pages like some karaoke hopeful looking for just the right title to knock out of the park.
Star Fox 64 spoke my name.
This game debuted with the first rumble pack back when people were jumping ship from Nintendo to Sony. It also happened to be when I left journalism to tend bar and live at home with my parents at age 28. I was burned out with newspaper editing, homesick and in debt. The Gen-X cliche was actually happening in real life. I didn't have to do it, I could have stuck it out at the solid job I had and find ways to renew my interest. But it would have happened eventually. I was tired and the work was suffering. Going home to regroup and get to know my folks again was the right thing to do. And, not surprisingly, bartending is a lot more lucrative than journalism. So I had that going for me.
On my days off I'd take walks with the Old Man at Fort McHenry and play my N64 while anxiously awaiting the debut of the Xbox. Star Fox and Perfect Dark were my favorite games. Star Fox was, and is, one of the best of its kind. From its mind-blowing debut on the SNES to the superb N64 version, the game was Nintendo quality all the way. Playing it today reminded me that I need to find a copy and play it through again when I get home.
It also reminded me of the dinners I would make for my folks on Parent Appreciation Day. it was usually tapas: Clams in garlic sauce, grilled shrimp, tenderloin seared with a wild mushroom sauce. My folks can cook but they love to be cooked for as well. They're also among my favorite dining partners.
Now that my wife and I live away from our hometown and my folks are hundreds of miles away, I think often of those nice dinners we used to have. They'll be visiting us this summer.
You can be sure there will be shellfish and tenderloin on the menu.
By Victor Paul Alvarez

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