When I first saw that the Super Nintendo was turning 25-years old, I was a little caught off guard. I hadn’t realized just how old the console was nor did I realize how old that made me sound (I’m 30 and feel every bit of it).
Now, you might think that my story is like everyone else’s. “I got it for Christmas! Best gift, EVER!” But that wasn’t the case. I wouldn’t say that I grew up poor. We always had food on the table, new clothes to wear, and even having some video games in the house is a privilege. But, when it came to obtaining a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, I knew that it was surely going to be a struggle to get that new console.
That time in my life was full of busyness. I wasn’t aware of the struggle my parents had been going through. My adolescent brain simply couldn’t digest the gravity of my father seeing good health post-Leukemia, or my mother doing what she could financially. At the time, we were living with my grandmother, a strong, mentholatum loving Mexican woman. This was just the circumstance at the time, yet, I couldn’t help but marvel at the technology happening around me.
It felt like everyone around me had a SNES. My cousins enjoyed the blood of Mortal Kombat, other cousins dawned Mario’s towel cape in Super Mario World, and my brother and I were still renting Indiana Jones for the NES from our local video store. We just wanted to play the new video games that everyone was playing.
If you look at gaming consoles now, the amount of bundles are seemingly endless. You can get the remastered version of The Last of Us with a PlayStation 4, Super Mario Bros. U with a Wii U, and Black Ops III with the Xbox One. There are variations of each console, coming with more storage and game options that you could care to count. But, I knew, that the only way for us, being my brother and I, but really ME, could get a Super Nintendo, was to go the cheapest route: Super Nintendo with one controller and no games.
I would stare at the ads for Toys R’ Us, circle KB Toys flyers, and beg, beg, beg, and then beg some more, just to drag my mom to the store to get a console we couldn’t afford. Until one day, things changed. My mom had returned to pick up her rambunctious kids from a short-lived break, and geared us up to go home. We jumped into the truck only to have our socks blown off by the sight. GOT ONE. Game-less, but we got one. The SNES was ours.
I always think back to the day that my mom surprised us. I’m sure she pulled together what income my folks had at the time, probably robbing Peter to pay Paul, just to get her boys to stop yappin’ for a minute about this Nintendo. Of course, we had to get a game now.
Over the next couple of weeks my brother and I mowed lawns, washed cars, and begged our grandparents to assist in funding to our cause. We chose the cheapest game possible at the time. We marched down to our local Target store and bought Battletoads/Double Dragon. I guess you could say that was the first game that I ever bought. It doesn’t bother me that much that Super Mario World wasn’t the first game for the system. What mattered was that we now had a console and a game to play on it.
As I write this, I’m staring out at the shelf full of games that I’ve acquired over my adult years. My SNES sits atop my TV stand, Super Mario RPG cocked and ready to go. I have a storage tote full of games, Turtles in Time, Street Fighter, and various others. I have other consoles and games that also share shelf space. But, looking at the Super Nintendo brought back memories of meticulously cleaning my console, wrapping up controllers, and stacking the games in my collection.
I guess, for me, the best part about celebrating the Super Nintendo’s anniversary is celebrating how far we’ve come. I often have enough discretionary income to buy consoles and games at will. I’ve purchased my last few Nintendo consoles at launch, and surprisingly, Nintendo consoles are the only ones I buy on release date.
I’ve always admired Nintendo for its ability to garner interest from gamers of all ages. With the Super Nintendo turning 25, and me on the verge of 31, the console and company still musters up nostalgia and fond childhood memories when I look over at that gray box with purple accents. And, looking over at the Wii U sitting right below it, it shows how much we’ve grown.