How My Grandparents Turned Me Into A Gamer

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In 1988 I received my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) for my birthday.  This was a difficult summer for me because my grandfather with whom I was very close slowly became sicker and sicker, and ultimately passed away less than a month prior to my birthday. 

I had always wanted a NES and I already had an Intellivision, so my parents were not interested in spending “NES money,” because the games were double that of the Intellivision.  I insisted that was all I wanted that particular year.  My parents and grandmother relented and did get me my own “Nintendo Action Set” which included “Super Mario Bros.” and “Duck Hunt.”  As an additional game, I received “Hogan’s Alley” because the zapper was “so cool.”

Time travel to 2019 –

It has been thirty years since my grandfather died and to this day, I have tied my fond memories of my NES to the horrible two years that I watched a very strong man slowly wither away from cancer.  He would have been 97 years old if he were alive today.

When people were selling their NES consoles to buy Genesis’ and Super Nintendo systems, I kept mine; largely in the same condition.  I could modify (mod) the system to handle HDMI naturally, but this console is special.  It is a memento of a time that my life changed dramatically.  My family has always been tight-knit as I am with my children.  My grandfather’s dying wish was that his only daughter, my mother move in with my grandmother, which we did.  Ironically, he casually mentioned moving the family from our home into his house while he was alive.  We used the same space and my sister and I went to a new school putting me on a new path in life. 

In another ironic twist, my grandmother was the first gaming buddy I ever had.  She and my grandfather had their own Intellivision console (what was that Atari thing anyway???) and we often played “Shark Shark” and “Burgertime” together.  She showed me tips and tricks in the games at a young age; things that I would use later in life, on my other games. 

I was in my Junior year of high school when she had her first stroke.  I still had my NES out, along with the Genesis and Super NES.  I tried to play Burgertime with her but she was no longer capable.  She passed in 2007.  Fortunately, she did get to meet my “fiancé” who is now my wife.  My grandmother even quipped, “she’s better than the first one.”  (I was engaged once before.). Today my grandmother would have been 101 years old. 

And here is the NES, just as she was thirty years ago. 

I removed the Nintendo Power stickers that I foolishly placed on the console when I was a small child and cleaned the cartridge contacts so she would work again.  The only modification that she has today is this 8bitdo wireless receiver so I can play my original NES with an old NES controller converted using the 8bitdo DIY kit.  This console will never be modified as I see it as a testament to my grandparents and ultimately parents who sacrificed so much for me as a child.  What can show appreciation for a gift more than keeping it in great condition 30 years, a wife and two kids later?

What kind of memories have games and consoles brought for you?

UPDATE: Finally released the video.

JPrime signing off!


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