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Christmas Chains…

Christmas may be a time for giving, or even better, taking, but it is also a time that stirs up ghosts of gaming past like a sixpence in a séance’s  Christmas pudding.  Phantoms of more innocent times start to stir, times when you had to wait until the end of the year for those gaming goodies rather than just break out your credit card on the spot as it becomes so easy to do now.  Having no independent income forced a wait as a child, that in many ways was part of the whole experience of gaming and Christmas – two things that I suddenly realised hadn’t been linked for many years and I never even noticed the connection fade.

gameboybox

I may be excited now to buy a new release or console, but there is something a little soulless about it.  As a child, savouring the wait, watching time slowly eat the calendar, and smoothing the wrapping paper for a hint of what lay beneath were all part of it – they all counted towards the moment when you got to play the game or fire up the console (after your dad had rigged it all up).  It was like powering up a special move before unleashing it.  Now, I’m just mashing buttons and hoping something happens.
 super-mario-land
Game purchases were neither common or cheap back then, meaning there were less of them, so they had to be good to make it count.  Strict instructions were issued months in advance, catalogues left open at the requisite pages with the chosen things heavily ringed in case my parents had suddenly developed myopia, and studying the game in the shop whenever one of them was looking were all vital.  Looking back, it was all fuel for the slow burn up to the frenzy of Christmas Day.

As an adult, part of me still yearns for the euphoric delight that Christmas used to mean for my hobby.  When I’m standing browsing the shelves or importing an overpriced limited DS, the thought of what I am doing and what I no longer have, gives me pause.  I may be better off than a ten year old, with the freedom to buy what I want, when I want, but I feel that it has come a price.  That may be non-existent to others and most of the time I can even ignore it, but as the months creep on and I look through my dusty collection of consoles past, I feel a twinge of sadness for the way it is now.

Having everything on demand as much as my creaking credit cards will allow, has robbed the build up until all that is left is a brief burst of pleasure followed by a metaphorical cigarette as you put it aside to go and make dinner or bicker over the last strawberry Quality Street.  The foreplay of anticipation is all but gone, and I suppose no one is to blame but me.  If I didn’t have to get myself everything because it is out now, if I just waited, let it build toe curlingly slowly, perhaps that old lightning could be re-captured in a small way.  Perhaps then, the sad clanking chains of that Original Game Boy among others, wouldn’t make sigh rather than smile when I switch the tree lights on this year.

Christmas time...

Christmas time...

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  1. MarkuzR says:

    The beauty of being an adult is that we can appreciate the games on another level. Certain aspects which may have been lost to us as children now become apparent – in jokes, innuendo, nods to movies or other games… all these treats are available only to adults and are lost on kids.

    I have a whole new appreciation for games, but now the anticipation is more for the release dates being forever moved back rather than to see it suddenly appear under shiny wrapping paper :)

  2. Darach says:

    I don’t mind maxing out your credit cards on stuff for my house. That would restore your sense of anticipation rightly. I mean I know I’d be doing you a favour, but you could pay me back somehow :)

    *starts filling basket on amazon* :)

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