While being slightly ashamed of this fact I’ve also tried to make it clear that I didn’t start gaming like most everyone else that I know. It wasn’t until my parents bought an Atari 2600 in the early to mid-90s, by which time the SNES was already in full control of the market, that video games had any place in my life. Needless to say I’ve spent the rest of my life playing catch up. There was, however, one console I owned that was still fairly relevant while I owned it, and that was the Nintendo Game Boy.
I don’t remember exactly which packaging my original Game Boy came with but I do remember getting it for Christmas with a copy of Kirby’s Dream Land. My birthday, being three months later, brought me a Doc’s Rechargeable battery pack with a wall adapter that did double duty of recharging the battery and running the system. From there I would go on to acquire F-1 Race, Metroid II, Micro Machines, NBA Jam, Super Mario Land and a few other games from kids in school and around the neighborhood who undoubtedly thought I was insane for wanting their old Game Boy games. I didn’t care, I still loved that plastic brick.
In fact, one year after Christmas break I remember returning to school and hearing a kid complaining loudly to his friends that his mother bought him NBA Jam T.E. for the Game Boy and not for the console he wanted. I remember being angry at his arrogance because I still truly loved the Game Boy. No matter how most kids my age looked down upon the grey block I still adored it and still do to this day. That was until I couldn’t pass a level on a certain game, that game’s name escapes me now. I gave in to childhood stupidity and bashed the screen of the Game Boy into the corner of a table over and over again, until the green of the screen turned to a thick, black mass. It only took a few seconds for my stupidity to settle in. I had ruined my favorite console, no longer could I play the games I adored so much. I had sunk into a selfish mentality myself and ruined the best thing in my childhood.
After concocting a story so horrible, like only a child’s mind could, about how the dog scared me with a bark and the Game Boy leapt out of my hands and landed perfectly onto the corner of the table and the screen shattered beyond any of my control, I was immediately punished. I wasn’t punished physically or verbally, no, I had to live without my Nintendo Game Boy. I called the 1-800 number on the back of the Game Boy and got the number to a repair center that was 45 minutes away from my house. My parents refused to drive me there, I had screwed up that badly. Such was my punishment.
For what felt like forever I sat through a whole summer without having my Game Boy by my side. The games sat dormant as the console lay silent, broken and in my mind dead. Days ached on as I tried my best to enjoy the summer. At some point life returned to a normal pace, as it does when you’re a kid, and my mind focused on Christmas once more. The Game Boy was the furthest thing from my mind, I wanted something better, I wanted a dirt bike! When I woke up on Christmas and didn’t see anything even remotely shaped like a dirt bike, I continued to open my presents, but noticed Mom had a few set off to the side. After the shirts, socks, underwear and other normal Christmas presents you have to smile and bear were opened my Mom handed me the other gifts. Inside was a Game Boy fanny pack, my excitement was quickly quelled as I remembered my Game Boy was dead. The next was a game, again I can’t remember the name, but the biggest was saved for last — it was a brand new black Play it Loud Game Boy in the clear plastic case!
I think my mother had watched me suffer through most of the summer and knew I had learned my lesson, and indeed I had. Nothing bad was going to happen to this Game Boy. The following summer I purchased myself a copy of Pokemon Red and absolutely loved every minute of it. A few friends and I wanted to hold a Pokemon tournament, but we never did. By this time I had learned to keep all the packaging for my video games so I had a beautiful CIB copy of Pokemon Red. My girlfriend at the time must have become jealous of all the time I was spending with Pokemon Red and asked to borrow it. Me being a teenager in love, I allowed her. Another lesson learned because I never saw it again!
Without my favorite Game Boy game to play the system fell into disuse. By now I had quite a few consoles to choose from and I was choosing them far more than my Game Boy. Eventually the years went by and that Game Boy stayed with me, even though I never used it. A time came in my life when guitars in pawn stores became far more important than some old games I hadn’t played in years, so the sacrifice was made. My Game Boy was listed on ebay and shipped out, never to be seen again. I still miss it to this day, as I haven’t seen another black Game Boy for a price I’m comfortable with. I just can’t justify paying what they sell for just to own one for pure nostalgia.
Today I own many Game Boys in varying states of functionality, a Super Game Boy, many Game Boy Colors, a few Game Boy Advances and even a Game Boy Macro, you know the bottom half of a DS modified to be a backlit GBA. Regardless of how many I own today I still miss the Play it Loud that I let slip away all those years ago, and even more so the Game Boy I needlessly destroyed in a moment of stupidity and frustration. Sure the frontlit and backlit consoles are pretty cool and all, but in my childhood mind that grey building block will always be the best.