I lived a lonely, depressing childhood on most accounts. Oh, I had friends, I had had awesome friends, but without a car, and with mommy and daddy unable to drive me places all the time, I was stuck in the home. No kids my age lived on my street, just crack dealers and a home for the mentally insane. (You probably think I'm kidding. I'm not.) So I mostly just played with my toys. That’s all there was. Going outside was dangerous and involved physical exertion, so there was no way I would take that route. I was a lazy kid. By age 5, I was done with toys, I would wake up and watch nickelodeon until I slept. My mom eventually made me do little league soccer, but that is a tale for another time.
Finally, I reached the ripened age of six years. My brother, who didn’t live with me, decided it was time to give me his old Sega Genesis. Oh how wonderful it was! I no longer had to watch tv day after day, watching as characters made decisions I wouldn’t make, cheated on the test when I knew they could easily have studied, or studying when I thought they should just cheat. I was finally in control. I was Sonic The Hedgehog, and it was MY responsibility to make sure he survived his journey past lava, through tunnels, and over flamethrowers. As time went on, I too acquired and played more games. I had no friends close by, I didn’t play or care about sports. (I played little league soccer for a LONG time, but it wasn’t until I got decent that I actually cared. And by the time I got decent we had 2 Bosnians on our team. I did jack while the Bosnians went and won every game. Dang Bosnians.)
So, there were no kids nearby to play with. Ristar and Sonic were my companions. I can still remember the emotional experience playing Ristar was for me. I’d spend a whole day getting to the last boss, only to be humiliatingly killed and forced to start from the beginning. (Even though I knew the password for level select, it’s I LOVE U, duh.) I even asked my dad to help me with this stupid part in the third level, where you are briefly shown a pattern and then have to kill the enemies in the order you are shown. Every failure, every death, was MY fault. I cried over Ristar. I’m not ashamed to admit it. That game was an emotional roller coaster that has never been equaled in today’s world of Hi-tech 3d intense action games. That is truly beautiful. That Genesis taught me leadership and responsibility for each and every failure I made. But more importantly, it was my friend when I had none. While the Mentally insane people stole our newspaper every morning because the wrapper was orange, I was inside; safe, and learning life lessons while blowing up robots. And that is wonderful.
Many years later, kids moved in across the street, and I finally had kids to play outside with. And I did, so don’t think that I'm pathetic or anything. But nothing comes close to the years I spent sitting on the floor in my parents bedroom, playing genesis by myself. And sadly, nothing ever will.(P.S. I own ristar on every system it’s been released on since. And I can beat the last boss without being hit. Just an FYI.)