Did a bit of exploring over the weekend. I went out to the Russian district, pet market, and flea market district. It was an interesting afternoon of sampling Russian fare, getting depressed at the sight of animals sold by the bulk, and getting lost in nostalgia at the site of people’s wares (and also wondering “who the heck buys these things?”). One thing in particular brought back memories of 1992.
Brick game, a Gameboy rip-off that played Tertris and other versions of the puzzle game, as well as the earliest version of the “snake” mobile game. I remember borrowing these from my friends because my parents thought it was a waste of time and would hurt our studies, so they never bought us one. I played enough Nintendo at home as it is; I didn’t need a video game to carry around. This was what everyone played if their parents didn’t want to spend $200 to get them a proper Gameboy. It was also the cheap game that crossed boundaries the same way the Nintendo Wii did. I remember my grandmother had one of these and was obsessed with matching falling bricks.
Luckily, my uncle gave us Gameboy as the Tetris-craze died down, just in time for Mario, etc. Pokémon became popular around 1994, but by that time, I was too old for the cutesy game.
Growing up, we didn’t have too many video games. We either borrowed games from friends or just lived without it. There was always an arcade nearby, but I didn’t waste money in them. I could already hear my mother tell me how foolish it would be to waste money on a game that I’m not even good at. My parent’s bought us the first NES. They didn’t get us the SNES. I had to scrimp and save before I could buy a Sega Genesis. They got us the first Playstation, and we had a PC that was capable of playing popular games at the time, but everything else I remember I had to get myself. I bought a Dreamcast from a pawn shop, traded in games, skipped on some that I simply couldn’t afford, etc.
I guess it’s this love of games and the early experience of having-but-not-really-having, that makes it interesting to me now even as a grown man. That, plus it offers a more immersive experience that just simply watching the television. I count myself lucky that I managed to find a wonderful wife who shares the same love for video games as well. She also shares the same experience of growing up and not owning one of these brick games.
It took me a couple of minutes before I could walk away and not make a very foolish purchase.