I got into gaming at an incredibly young age. I remember my father sitting in the living room in front of the TV with me. He was hooking up our first console, a Sega Genesis. I don't know if this memory is accurate. In it, I was three years old.
For a time, it was mostly him playing and me watching. I sometimes tried, too, games a three-year-old child would probably not be allowed to play today (Streets of Rage, Shinobi). The game I played the most was Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, however. I was eternally stuck in the first two levels.
It wasn't until years later that I finished my first game all on my own, sitting in my grandmother's small apartment. By then, my parents had divorced, the Sega Genesis became a Nintendo 64, and I knew how to read. It was Zelda: Ocarina of Time, still my favourite game to this date. I have a triforce tattooed on my arm, hidden in a larger design, for that reason.
I also owned a Gameboy, on which I played the first Pokémon. It was then that I decided to play all the Pokémon-generations, something I haven't stopped doing. Why I owned every Gameboy-generation ever since.
I loved this period of my life. I might not have realized it back then, but video games are how I processed my parents' divorce. The N64 was my escape. Playing Mario Kart and Goldeneye 007 with my friends was how I spend most of my days after school.
I owned my fair share of platforms since then. During my edgy teen-years, I became an Xbox-guy and owned the first one, the 360 and the One. My father was into Tomb Raider, so at his place, I had a first-gen PlayStation, hacked with a chip to play copied games. I skipped the other Sony-consoles until the PS4 Slim was a thing. As mentioned, I owned every Gameboy-generation, but I also got the Sony PSP and the PS Vita. The next Nintendo-console after the N64 was the Wii. It was then that I replayed Ocarina of Time after a long hiatus. I got into PC-gaming, too. But despite my "blessed upbringing"1, I longed for the simpler days of my N64-youth — that magical feeling of booting up Star Fox 64, Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie or Ocarina of Time.
It took years for it to reappear. I came close with the PS Vita, especially as I got heavily into indie-games and the Vita was the defacto-platform for a lot of them. But it was the Nintendo Switch, a device I was standing in line for on March 3, 2017, that brought back this nostalgia.
Today the Switch is the only console hooked up to my TV. The other two, the Xbox One and the PS4, are resting in their respective boxes in the attic. The PC is the only other platform I play on.
It doesn't matter how often I pick this thing up, turning it on again and again, seeing the home screen with all my games. It never gets boring.
It reminds me of back then, 27 years ago, when I watched in awe how my father was playing through Shinobi or Streets of Rage 3.
Today, it's me playing through Streets of Rage 4 and finishing it on my own. No help needed.
Divorced parents that wanted to compensate for their lack of time? ↩