It’s funny, as the more I think of my Generation Pong memories, the more I remember ones involved around the Game Boy games.
Nintendo’s Game Boy was such a big part of my childhood… back then, I lived in a one bedroom apartment with my mom and my grandma. There was only one TV in the house, so as much as my mom let me play, I still had to “share” it. Between that and all the times I was out and about, the Game Boy provided countless hours of entertainment. From Super Mario Land, to Tetris, to Metroid: Return of Samus (which has it’s own story you can read over here), to one of my favorite toy/cartoon/movie heroes of all time, Teenage Mutent Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan.
The year is 1991, a year or so after the game released in the States. I’m about 12 and living in Greece (hence the one year delay until I got the game). During the summers, we would go to my uncle’s who lived in Koroni, a tiny village on one of the southern most points of Greece, its shore facing the Mediterranean Sea. Its a beautiful little place – so much so that there was a saying in the country… “I have an Uncle in Koroni” it would go, referencing when someone “knew” people (as in, had connections). Well, I actually did, lol.
Anyway, sometimes we would go for a month or more, sometime we would split it up into smaller trips (back then it was about a 6 hours drive from Athens). During this summer we were going to go for about a week at that time, and my parents let me invite my two closest friends (Mike and T). It was great… we spent the entire week hanging out on the beach, hiking, playing Dungeons & Dragons, playing video games, and… well all the things a bunch of 12 year olds do. Needless to say one of the games I was playing was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan. This game was awesome… for it’s time, it had some of the better graphics the Game Boy could have, and considering my love for TMNT – it was just amazing to kick some Foot Clan butt and hunt Shredder down. But the memory around this game, as with all Generation Pong stories, is not about the game itself, but a moment involving playing it.
We’re on the drive back to Athens… possibly an hour or so in. My parents are in front (my father driving, my mother in the passenger seat), and Mike, T and myself sitting in the back. Mike was sitting by the left window, T by the right, and I was in the middle. We had started the drive off, each playing with our Game Boys, but Mike and T started feeling a little car sick and put theirs away. I was feeling fine, so I laughed at their weak equilibrium and continued playing… for about 1/2 hour. Then it hit me too… hard.
I pressed pause and looked forward as cold sweat started to perspire on my skin. Mike and T realized I had finally gotten car sick too and mocked me, not realizing how bad it already was. My mom turned back to look at me and her eyes went wide at how pale I had turned. She asked if I was ok. I answered no (with difficulty I might add… I was that nauseous). She told my dad to pull over, but I don’t think he realized how sick i was feeling. I had tuned out at that point, but I remember his saying something like if I can make myself feel better or stop feeling nauseous (really?). Meanwhile my mom is now yelling at him to pull the F over… I was getting paler by the second. She started handing my tons of napkins that she happened to have in a bag up front. And I’m talking tons… I was building up a little pile on my lap. She continued telling my dad to pull over, while continuously piling more napkins on me. And though my father eventually started slowing down, it was too late; I couldn’t hold it in anymore.
But unlike other times you’re sick and can go to the toilet or somewhere, I was just sitting in the middle. I panicked. For some reason I didn’t think of vomiting in the napkins (the amount of napkins could probably have covered most of the damage at that point). Instead, I noticed that the door window to my right (by T) was about 6 inches open. And for some random reason, don’t ask me why, I thought I could make it. By make it, I mean I thought I could expel vomit in a controlled and aimed torrent, to perfectly clear through the 6 inch opening. And then everything would be ok, right?
If only… the obvious thing happened, the vomit splattered over the entire window and onto my friend T (I would guess only like 5% of the vomit actually made it out the window). The car pulls over, we all scramble out, T is like groaning and yelling (and probably trying to keep himself from throwing up from the nastiness that just occurred), I’m jumping out, still vomiting, and, well… it was a mess.
1/2 hour later, the car was cleaned (pretty much completely, thanks to all the napkins that were still clean), and my friend wiped down for the most part. The rest of the trip back was pretty somber. I tried to break the tension later by asking if anyone was up for some video games, but I don’t think that went over very well. T never let me live that one down, though he obviously didn’t hate me for it. We were the closest of friends till we were about 22 (each of us moving back to the separate parts of the states, then re-joining at the college I went to, rooming for a few year and enjoying the best times of our live). Many of my Generation Pong stories will include him, so you’ll get to see how important a friend he was. Sadly, after college, some complications came between us and we went our separate ways. I do think of him often and hope he is well. That’s life I guess… that’s why it is important to treasure the memories we have. And since so many of mine revolve around video games, Generation Pong is specifically about those.
If you’re new to this column, check out a bunch of the previous posts about games from the past… they might spark some of your own memories too. And we would love to hear some crazy stories, so feel free to send us your thought or comment below! Till next time…