As children, my brother and I had very little in common. To be honest even as adults I don't know that we do now. We share the same parents (obviously), but we have different hobbies and interests, but one thing we had was games. We loved every type we could get our hands on.
Before having a home console, we would often steal my dad's work computer when he was done for the day to boot up King's Quest or any of the other Sierra Classics. Even at one player games we became a team since I kept pointing out things to try into the text system while my brother could read. I wish I could remember those days a bit better but I just remember having such an amazing time.
Things slowly started to change though when I was just a small kid. I remember us getting our Nintendo Entertainment system for Christmas. Before that I had seen Atari but never played it, I remember playing the previously mentioned Sierra games, and also remember playing some arcade games (damn allowance eaters heh) but the Nintendo was my first home gaming experience. My brother and I quickly put in the Super Mario/Duckhunt game and we were so excited. Then got killed by a Goomba within like - say 30 seconds. We continued to play for the rest of the day. It was a - pardon the pun - game changing day.
Friday nights quickly became the night we would hop into the car with our parents and when the car parked we would run out of the car, across the parking lot, into the store right to the NES isle. Once there, we would grab every game we could, reading the back cover frantically, looking at the screenshots and debating which game we would rent and spend all weekend playing. More often than not we would end up playing a game that was beyond awful (say hello to Yo Noid! one terribly wasted weekend).
We continued this pattern, continued to play games until we ended up with a Sega Genesis and just like the NES, our lives changed. The Nintendo looked obsolete, dated, and not cool. It was still out for us to play but we spent more time with Sonic then Mario. A couple years later Christmas rolled around again. We opened our "big gift" and we had gotten a Super Nintendo. How awesome was this? It even had the word SUPER in it so it HAD to be good!
Now I will not lie to you at all. It was more than good - it was amazing. Everything that made the Genesis awesome was multiplied for me with the SNES. Its controller, its games, everything just felt amazing. And once again we hooked it up, put in the latest Mario and the rest of the day is just an amazing memory of time with my brother.
Not to long after that, for another Christmas (if you’re sensing a theme, Christmas was the time of the year we seemed to get one big gift. A pattern that both of us seem to continue doing as adults) we noticed 2 smaller boxes. When we opened them up, we now both had Gameboys. Playing games while not hooked to a TV? I thought this would revolutionize the world. Little did I know 20+ years later I was right. Mario and Tetris became our games in car rides trash talking as only kids do. Luckily we hadn't learned the "Your Mom" jokes yet or I am sure we would have not only lost our games, but been afraid of cars for life.
Years passed by and we both became different people as expected, we both had become angsty teens (well for me, a pre-teen heh), fought a lot, but we would still randomly – mostly on weekends when we had nothing better to do – sit and play the SNES or Genesis together (hell, at that point we even had a Playstation). Then for Christmas in 1996 our Grandma surprised us both. We ended up with a Nintendo 64.
I know I had been saving for it, I don't know if D had but he had shown a passing interest. She had bought us 2 games with it as well. Once again we had a Mario, but we also had Zelda. I swear we just looked at each other and went off to the TV and hooked it up as fast as we could. With little discussion, Zelda was the first game we booted up. Naturally he played first (being older and all) but we traded turns back and forth, switching whenever one of us died. I didn't notice the day pass by - this was the first game I remember noticing a day to night cycle. It was just like when I was younger, just me and him enjoying time together in a hobby we both liked.
More time passes, there are more than 151 Pokemon, GameBoys become advanced, GameCubes got released, Xbox's and PS2's changed the industry, Dreamcast failed, leaving Sega to became a shell. High School graduations, College graduations, moving to new states, settling down and making a life for ourselves, all gone by in the blink of an eye. Time has passed by but I can still be found in front of my computer or TV on my down time, playing games with my fiancé or friends, while my brother and I regularly speak (pretty much every day).
D doesn't get to play games much, being the hard worker he is. Lately we have been talking about getting the latest 3DS due to the idea of being able to play some of the classics without emulation and with wifi capabilities, even play games against each other again. We know other options are possible, I have a Steam, Xbox, Playstation, WiiU, etc. We have everything but the idea to me of playing on a variation of the GameBoy with my big brother just puts a smile on my face. I guess that's what Nintendo gave to me.
It may be nostalgia, it may be me overthinking my own memories and feelings about life. We are all getting older, the gaming world has changed, evolved, warped, become mainstream, dropped, and back again. Nintendo is still seen by many as “just for kids” but, as I said earlier, I see it different. I see it for everyone, for families. So thank you Nintendo for all the love, all the fun, every memory from the past and the future. I will preorder the NX when available. I will always be your fan.
And to my big brother...I challenge you D, when we both get them...You vs. Me – the most epic rematch in the making since 1989, in the living room. May the best brother win.