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I found a bunch of old game boxes! (w/ pictures)
Posted: Posted June 22nd
Edited June 22nd by Famov
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There is a lesson in this story.





I've been collecting games for my entire life. I was under the age of 10 when I was already trying to hold on to boxes and related materials because I enjoyed looking through them. When neighbor kids were playing outside I used to flip through game manuals and try to read the contents despite not yet being in school or of an age to have been formally taught how to read. I thought that if I could just stare at the letters long enough that a pattern would emerge, or whatever it meant to be able to read... That probably says entirely too much about what kind of person I am, but nevertheless it meant that, unlike most kids my age, I was unusually gentle with and protective of my possessions.

My dad, in contrast, was (and is) a far more practical man. He did not understand my age-inappropriate sentimentality, and thought that colorful cardboard depicting Japanese cartoon turtles was hardly worth the paper it was printed on, and least of all while it took up space in his house! Basically this means that he was always on me to throw out my game boxes. As I was approaching my double digits I got canny enough to take this stuff up to my room to keep it out of sight and prolong its lifespan. Eventually this collection had become large and obvious enough that he gave me a choice: I couldn't keep it all. I could pick a few favorites, but the rest had to go. Someday I was going to have a house of my own, you see, and did I really want it to look like my maternal grandfather's, with a garage and an attic and various cupboards filled to the brim with useless clutter? Of course not! This was how he tried to reason with me. I agreed to this choice, because it wasn't really all that much of a choice. Pick my favorites, and lose the rest.

And so I did. Or so I remembered. What I apparently did instead, though I had no memory of this as of a week ago, was take the boxes I was throwing away, pictured above, tossed them in a garbage bag, and then hid them in the attic. It was just this week while my parents were clearing out the attic (I've been moved out for a few years now) that they found the boxes and sent the text asking if I still wanted them. It was a facetious question, of course. They know how I am, and I now have a well maintained "game room" with shelves of gaming paraphernalia in my own house. Setting aside this one room, it can be said that I do in fact not live beneath mountains of kitschy commercial refuse. I keep a clean, reasonably orderly house. Most of it is actually pretty spartan, with tasteful art on the walls (Leo Kuschel; Good man, and able to instill a wonderful sense of place into his work. I knew him!) and on a large piece of property that I take pride in and care for. I like to believe that I learned most of the lessons that my father tried to teach me, but without losing my appreciation for this lifelong hobby that I've cultivated. I mean, it's just games, but I also actually care about it?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. A year or two after I'd made this deal with my father, my mother went through my room and absentmindedly tossed the boxes that I'd decided to keep! I was, for a while, really not happy about this. We'd made a deal, but they didn't hold up their end of the bargain! Feel free to continue reading this paragraph while listening to a Linkin Park song of your choosing. I was indeed mad at my parents, and in a way that only a dorky pre-teen could be, but it was just this week that I've realized that this indignation was absolutely based on a farce. As I'm sure you already realize, I entered the agreement on false pretenses. I was positively duplicitous, in fact, for I took those boxes that I promised to throw away and instead him them from view, hoping to instead get them back later.

And then I did!

This ploy reveals a weakness in my character. No matter how young I was, it was still wrong. Man or woman, boy or girl, you're only really ever as good as your word. Not only did I deserve to lose my precious Wario Land II box, but I really did deserve to lose all the rest of it as well. Except I didn't. Sometimes we don't get what we deserve, and in the case of a karmic surplus like this we can only count our blessings and strive to be the people that do deserve good fortune.

With that out of the way:

I played a lot of Pokemon as a kid. I bought Red version just so I wouldn't have to delete my save file in Blue, and this was before Yellow came out. I very sincerely believe that Pokemon Blue and Red are among the best RPGs ever made. Yellow, in contrast, plays a bit like an inferior romhack. It enjoys mostly superficial similarities with the anime, but often at the cost of game balance. Jesse and James are fine, but almost every change to the gym leaders is for the worse. Sabrina's Abra is free experience, for instance, because the game doesn't work like the show. In addition to this, I never fought against another Yellow team that didn't include exactly four of the same Pokemon: Pikachu, Blastoise, Venusaur and Charizard. Having all three traditional starters available was really too tempting for kids from 1999 to ignore, and of course everyone had to use that infernal mouse. Raichu is cooler. Change my mind.

Silver was my only game from the second generation, but the 24 hour day/night cycle really appealed to me. I always had anxiety at the passage of time on Ocarina of Time, but there was a certain connection to reality to be playing Pokemon in the evening and for it to be dark "outside" in the game world. Beyond that, the journey back to Kanto was, I thought at the time, the coolest thing that ever happened in a video game, though it only barely edged out the encounter with red Gyarados. I would eventually use gameshark to discover that every Pokemon had an additional color scheme, and got up to all sorts of craziness with the power of cheats.

Wario Land III is not as good as I, II, or even IV, at least by my reckoning. It is mostly iterative on II, and perhaps less memorable for it. Incidentally, looking at the box for for Wario Land III I've come to the realization that the series doesn't usually number itself with Roman numerals. That is exclusive to the box and promotional materials for II, but I've always reflexively numbered them this way for that reason.



Lastly we have The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. The Oracle games are primarily Capcom creations, and any avid Zelda fan will be able to detect the foreign influence at work here. Despite looking and sounding very much like Link's Awakening, it clearly isn't. And while I'd hesitate to say much of anything exceeds the quality of Link's Awakening, Oracle of Ages (and Seasons) is still a very good game and absolutely worth playing.

Anyway, that's a brief glimpse into the morality play that was my childhood. I shouldn't be this thrilled to discover that these things still exist, but I really am. This rambling nonsense comes courtesy of beer and that terminal illness called nostalgia. The beer (Bell's Two-Hearted Ale) I can recommend, the perverse attachment to worldly possessions, not so much. But here I am anyway. Thanks for reading.

“There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse.” - John Locke
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I enjoyed this Ted Talk.

Posted June 22nd by S.O.H.
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S.O.H.
 

The thing about alcohol is that no amount of it will ever improve a person's writing, or really anything else that they do. And yet somehow if I am at just the right point (two strong beers) then it puts me in a zone where I can knock out one thousand words of a vaguely coherent train of thought in an hour or so. I don't know if that's actually considered good by any real standard, but it's good for me.

I've since decided to give these boxes the love they deserve and put them in protective display sleeves. The vendor I use for that is Retroprotection (you can be assured that my inane backwater forum posts are not sponsored by them), and in my limited experience they have the best (and most) options for that kind of thing.

Edited June 25th by Famov
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