Back in the early days of my gaming awakening, I had the most fun with my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Now, I indeed already had gaming experiences prior to Christmas 1985, but there was something different about it this time around.
Yes, I had Combat and Space Invaders. Yes, I played Pac-Man and Missle Command. Yes, I enjoyed Mario Bros. (yep, the first time I’d heard of them) and Pole Position! But there still was just something about that system and the chance to play a real version of an arcade game AT HOME! I vividly remember carrying that Service Merchandise catalog around with me everywhere I went telling any/everybody I came in contact with (whether they would listen or not) all about what I would be getting for Christmas. I will admit, I had no idea what R.O.B. would do for my gaming future, but I knew how I’d use that Zapper. There was such an amazing-ness about that time for me, as I saw so much potential in the level of games that I would be able to play regardless of how many quarters/tokens I had.
Another great thing that came about after the NES took off, was it seemed as if everyone had one, so a lot of conversations centered around the games that we played. It didn’t matter what you played, or if you liked games that others didn’t, in the end, it was just nice to see others play games too. There were, of course, some games that most everyone had, but there were also those games that were up to individual taste. The fervor for gaming within my circle of acquaintances was huge, and we weren’t the only ones. That was evidenced by the program that Nintendo started called The Nintendo Fun Club.
The Fun Club was a free subscription program that afforded members access to the periodic Nintendo Fun Club News that continually kept us informed about popular games, as well as upcoming releases. The newsletter offered tips, tricks, video game news as well as comics for our enjoyment. I was fortunate enough to receive all of the issues as well as the first FREE issue of Nintendo Power magazine that was sent to all of the Fun Club members. For me, it was more than just the content of the newsletters, though. As a young 10 or 11 year old kid, receiving something in the mail that had my name on it was exciting in itself! Simple enough, right?
Later when Nintendo Power began shipping, it grew to be even more exciting to get a full-fledged magazine (with my name on it) that also included full-sized posters that I hung in my room like Robocop and Final Fantasy, guides that assisted me in beating games like Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and on and on. Everything about gaming for me growing up was fun, and Nintendo was the main catalyst for that FUN!! Many times I come across people in the gaming community (mostly online) and there are all these “rules and regulations” to gaming now. I often wonder what happened to the fun factor. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people out here doing it the right way, but there is a very vocal minority that feel it’s their duty to dictate to others how they should enjoy this thing we call gaming. I’m all for people having fun in gaming, but when it loses that fundamental pillar is when it becomes an issue. I’ve always held the belief that I like what I like, and that’s not up for debate. I would never try to dissuade someone else from liking what they like, and if that does not appeal to me, then I just let them have at it…just without me. Have fun is what we did, and absolutely what I intend to continue to do!
As always, gaming is for fun, so keep on gaming!