15 April 2010
My favorite holiday has to be Christmas. I just love the feeling of the season, the lights, the music and just being together as family. When I was younger I would always find a new video game and a big box of Swedish fish for myself under the tree. It was so exciting. It was a time where we would open all our presents and I would search for that special shaped box and would just tear into it. I usually asked for a specific game for Christmas and the anticipation of that morning would kill me. It seemed like forever and as far as I was concerned Christmas Eve was the longest day ever. One of the things that made it a special day was that I knew after our big dinner all my friends would come over to my house and we would play for hours on end. It was a tradition. My house always seemed to be the place everyone wanted to hang out. It was just a fun and relaxing place. My friends loved my parents and my parents didn't mind everyone piling over during the holiday. It just made the day even better with a household full of people.
There is one specific Christmas that I remember very well. It was 1992 and I asked for Super Star Wars for my Super Nintendo. At the time, this was a highly anticipated title for the system and for myself. I really wanted this game. The thing you have to realize is that I was a geek and I loved games; ok, I still am so when I asked for Super Star Wars for Christmas I had really hopes that I would wake up Christmas morning and have the opportunity to begin my Jedi training. My parents would always tease me and tell me that they didn't know if I would get the game or maybe they couldn't find it just to push me over the edge. That was just wrong and I didn't find it funny but it just made Christmas morning even more exciting when I finally found the package under the tree. I tore open the wrapping paper as my eyes opened wide and I just stared at that black box with Luke, Han and Leia on the cover. It felt like I waited forever for this moment. I couldn't wait to run to my room and pop it in the system and fire it up but before I did that I had to find my box of Swedish fish. Traditionally I would find it in my stocking but sometimes I would score the really big box and it would be wrapped somewhere underneath the tree.
Then the time came when I finally got to go to my room and play. Wow. The game was amazing; it was everything I expected. This was the first time that you were able to play as Luke, Han and even Chewy. You couldn't do this in any other Star Wars game so this was something special. Oh, and if you haven't figured it out I'm a huge Star Wars fan so it didn't get much better than this. I had to foil the plans of an evil empire and that was exactly what I was going to do. Normally I would last about an hour if I was lucky before I picked up the phone and called my friends and tell them that I got the game. The graphics, the sound, the characters - it was everything straight from my favorite movie and I couldn't wait to share it with everyone. When I called my friends, the first thing I would ask is what time were they coming by because I knew we would be playing late into the night.
Even now I still remember jumping around as Luke Skywalker on a huge sandcrawler and working my way to the top in hopes to find C3P0 and R2D2. These were the droids I was looking for! I started out with my blaster taking Jawas out along the way leaping from conveyor belt to conveyor. It was a while before I could finally use my lightsaber and that's when things really picked up. Nothing was cooler than doing somersaults in the air with my lightsaber and landing on a helpless Jawa. Impressive, most impressive. I played this game for hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. It took some time to make my way to certain points in the game that allowed me to play as the other characters. I have to be honest, I couldn't wait to play as Chewbacca. This was the first game that ever allowed you to play as the famous Wookie and I wanted to shoot his crossbow more than anything. When I finally made it to the cantina in Mos Eisley my dream finally came true. I was Chewbecca. He may have been slower than Luke and Han but he was big and he meant business. His crossbow was awesome. I made my way threw the cantina letting out the occasional howl as I made my way to the Falcon before the Empire found me. She was the fastest ship in the galaxy, ever heard of her?
By this time my friends had finally showed up and we piled on my bed and began to play. We past the controller around so everyone had a chance to experience the goodness but it was really hard to give up your turn. This game was awesome but as unfortunate as it was not to be able to play it gave us the opportunity to head out to the kitchen to the candy dish and grab a handful of Swedish fish. Then we rushed back to the bedroom to make sure we didn't miss anything during the game and that we didn't drop and fish along the way. This is what gaming was all about. Old school gaming that raised the bar of video games to something that had never been experienced before. I loved it and when it was time for my friends to leave I stayed up and continued playing by myself. It was a perfect day.
Time really goes by so fast. I remember this day so well it really seems like it was yesterday but unfortunately that isn't true. I'm 36 years old now and I have a beautiful 8 year old daughter who makes Christmas a whole new experience for me. Those were the times that I look back on and remember how easy life seemed to be. Christmas was a special time in my house - and still is today. It wasn't because of the gifts or the food but because of the fond memories of my friends and family and how we all treated each other. It was a great way to grow up. Christmas is different now that I have my daughter and it's special in a whole new way but the funny thing is that even now when I look under the tree I find a video game and a box of Swedish fish. Thanks, mom and dad.
By Stephen O'Blenis