I love how so many of my memories are related around video games. Sure, I’m a 35 year old man, but you know what? Video games are a part of my life. My very first memories align with some of the very first video games. The very first one actually being that of Pong (which you can read here), hence the “Generation Pong”.
One of these memories revolves around one of my all time favorite games, Nintendo’s original Metroid for the NES. In fact, almost every single game of that series has a distinct memory associated with it, but lets start with the first. I actually won the game at a Nintendo tournament, playing Super Mario Bro. Seriously, just like that movie The Wizard. It’s around 1988, I’m 9 years old, and I’m living in Greece (Europe). That memory is a story in itself though, and you could read it here if you want.
I remember not playing the game that day I came back from the tournament. I kept looking at the box and reading the back, and couldn’t wait to try it out. I don’t remember why though (probably my mom saying enough video games for the day), but I didn’t get to try it. I went to school the next day, but my mind stayed home. It was thinking of the cover of the game. It was thinking of how much I couldn’t wait to get home and play that game. Metroid. Metroid. Metroid. Metroid. Metroid. I was obsessed, and I hadn’t even played the game yet.
So, I finally make it home. My mom wasn’t back from work yet, so I dropped my backpack on the floor, ran into the room, turned on the tv and popped in Metroid. Black Screen. The Nintendo logo. And then, there it was… the main menu of the game. The title METROID against the black background of space, littered with stars; the bottom of the screen lined by this deserted looking landscape. Everything about the image was eerie, but what hit the spot was the music. It captured the creepy and desolate mood Metroid was meant to have, and even before you hit start, it set the tone perfectly. So I pressed start, and the adventure began. I remember how awesome I thought getting the “morph ball” was, which is right at the start, so needless to say, the games started off amazing.
But the highlight of the memory isn’t of the game itself, or of that first day. My mom came home a few minutes later, and I had to stop playing for some reason or another. The afternoon went by in a blur, as all I could think about was the game. I realized that there was absolutely no way I was going to make it though another day of school before I can come home and play. It was hard enough as is when I had just seen the cover, let alone having a taste of the awesomeness.
I went to bed thinking about Metroid, and the opening music.
I woke up in the morning with my mom in the other room doing her morning thing. Metroid. She yelled at me from the kitchen to get up. Metroid. There was no way I couldn’t play that game that day. My mom came into the room and I was still in bed. I told her I wasn’t feeling good. She put her hand on my forehead to see if I felt hot. She didn’t (obviously), but she told me to use the thermometer to be sure. She went into the kitchen to continue getting things ready. My mind was racing. I needed to be “warm” so she can let me stay home. (*my grandmother lived with us btw, so I wasn’t going to be left alone or anything). I turned on my desk lamp (which was right by my bed), and held the metal end of the thermometer against the lightbulb for a second. I saw the temperature going up, only to start freaking out when it began maxing out. I panicked… my mom was gonna realize I was messing with her and I would be in so much trouble. I started shaking the thermometer – it was one of those old ones where you need to shake/flip it to bring the temperature down. I heard my mom heading back. I jumped back into bed and looked at the temperature. It had gone back down (thank god), leaving me with the perfect fever 101.6 or something. I gave it to my mom as she came in (pretending I had not looked at it yet). She saw the temp, decided I was indeed sick, and told me to stay in bed that day. Inside I was jumping in joy. Outside I nodded, acting sick and out of it. Looking back, I think I was acting pretty good.
And so came the first day I ever officially “skipped” school, and me playing one of the best video games ever. I was jumping out of the bed before my mom had even completely locked the door behind her. Chair pulled in front of TV. TV on. Nintendo on. Controller in hand. “Ting… Ting…” the game began. (Check out the opening menu/music at the end of the story if you’re in the mood for a trip down awesome memory lane)
Time flied and before I new it, my mom was walking in the door. Had she come home early? No… I was stuck in front of the TV the entire time. I hand’t had lunch… I don’t even remember going to the bathroom. My mom looked at me, there on the chair in front of the TV… had I been there all day? she asked. No, of course not I said. Or at least that’s what I think I said. Inside my head, all I could think of was: Metroid… Metroid… Metroid…