It was Christmas of 1991.
I don’t remember it too well, but I do remember wondering what was in the large present stuffed in the corner at the back of the tree. “Is it for me”, I thought. I’d already gotten everything I had asked for, so this would be an added surprise.
Sure enough, when it was time for the last gift to be unwrapped, it was handed to me. When I tore off the paper I was utterly shocked; It was a Nintendo Entertainment System! I never imagined I would own my very own Nintendo. It was like I was living in a dream.
Growing up, we did not have a lot of money. We had everything we needed, but I always assumed that a Nintendo was a luxury that was out of reach for our family. But here it was. My very own Nintendo.
Over the next couple years I played Nintendo, collected games and generally enjoyed my console like a normal kid.
All that changed one spring day in 1993…
Sorry, you’re going to need to give me a minute…it still hurts to talk about it.
Okay, I think I can continue.
So it was a normal day in 1993. My neighbour came over after school and we were playing Nintendo. Star Tropics to be exact. My neighbour was younger than me by about 2 years and she was a little spun. As she was taking her turn, she got a little too excited about something and she accidentally yanked the controller, pulling my Nintendo off the top of the TV and it came crashing to the floor.
It never worked again.
No more Star Tropics.
No more Mario.
No more Wayne Gretzky’s Ice Hockey.
Understandably, I was pretty upset about this. I grew up in a very rural part of northern BC and we only had 2 TV channels. That Nintendo was one of my main sources of entertainment during the cold winter months.
Eventually, I was able to heal from the emotional devastation of that loss. I was never able to replace the Nintendo, so I was forced to move on.
Over the years, new consoles were introduced and better games hit the market. Many of my friends got them, but I was never able to. By the time I had my own job and money I had other priorities and I never bought a gaming console for myself. As a result, video games never really became a prominent part of my teen or young adult years.
Fast forward to this past fall. Our family was invited to an event put on by Xbox. Although I didn’t play a lot of video games, I still always thought they were a fun way to pass the time and I was pretty excited to go. My kids have never really played a lot of video games either. They’ve played some games on their tablets but that’s about it. They too were really excited to try an Xbox for the first time. The event was pretty great and everybody had a fantastic time. At one point I was able to share my tragic Nintendo story with one of the people who were hosting the event. By the time we left, my kids were convinced that Minecraft had to be the coolest thing in the whole world.
About two weeks after the event, we were again contacted by Xbox, but this time it wasn’t to attend an event. They wanted to send our family a brand new Xbox One S. WOW! I was shocked, confused, excited and a little bit giddy…then I reminded myself that it was probably more for the kids than it was for me.
Since it was late fall, we decided that the Xbox would make a great Christmas present. Well, let me tell you, those kids were pretty shocked when they unwrapped that Xbox. Along with the console, we also received the Minecraft Limited Edition Bundle and three extra controllers, with a number of additional games. The kids minds (and mine) were blown.
Since then, we have had tons of fun playing video games. We’ve spent the majority of our time playing Cars and Minecraft. At first I wasn’t sure that the kids would really enjoy Minecraft, but it has quickly become their favourite game. I love it as well. I’ll often play with the kids as we all work together to build houses, cabins, rollercoasters, underground lairs and luxury lakefront mansions.
One of my fears was that the kids would become addicted to playing video games, so we’ve made sure to create clear guidelines. One guideline that has proven to be very effective is that after school there are no video games until ALL homework is done and done well! They know what’s expected of them and they get straight to their homework so that they can earn some video game time.
So far, the Xbox One S has been a fun and exciting addition to our home entertainment options. We have found a game that is fun, co-operative and highly creative. And with clear rules and boundaries I think that an Xbox could fit nicely into any family’s leisure time.