Childhood Gaming Obsessions
"Tano!" my mum would scream at me from the garage. "Turn that rubbish off and get in the car!" Such were the mornings during my primary school days when I somehow managed to fit in boss beating battles in the ten or so minutes I had to spare between post-breakfast teeth brushing and the daunting car ride to school. The year that was 1995 would begin my five or six year obsession with video games, an obsession that lasted into the Dreamcast era and somewhat diminished deep into my high school years.
I'll never forget the day and date I received my first ever gaming console: a SNES Donkey Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest bundle for my 9th birthday on Tuesday, April 18th, 1995. To say I became obsessed with this game is a massive understatement; I dreamed about it, had withdrawal symptoms, and often got into fights with schoolmates as to whether Dixie Kong was a good character (I argued she was better overall to handle when compared to Diddy, whilst my macho 9-year-old mates hated her, simply because she was a female. Ah, to be a kid again!).
My obsession didn't end with DKC 2, though. Shortly after receiving my SNES I received Super Metroid, a game that would initiate my gamer rage that I still have to this do (ask Ben). Its difficulty fueled by obsession, much in the same way DKC 2 did, and whilst both games turned me away from a simple kick of the footy in the backyard, I have absolutely no regrets; how many people here can really say they completed Super Metroid?
Reenactment of me writing this article
I look back at my fondest of gaming memories and many come from my earliest days as a gamer. Most also have some sort of obsessive nature associated with them, but I most definitely don't see that as an issue. One hundred years ago a child would have been obsessed with a ball-in-a-cup toy, and that could never have dictated the same amount of commitment and dedication -- or dictate the same level of problem solving -- as a video game can.
The most frustrating thing when I look back on my childhood gaming memories is the ignorance (or stubbornness) of my parents and other older people around me as they criticised and queried my seemingly never-ending gaming sessions on my SNES. What harm has come out of me spending five hours playing Donkey Kong Country 2 as a kid? Hell, I even played the crap out of the so-called morally-challenging and super-violent Mortal Kombat, and yet I didn't turn out to be an obese, unemployed, uneducated, violent dumbo that doesn't know when enough is enough.
Everyone has a fond childhood memory, and I love (and am proud of) the fact that playing Donkey Kong Country 2 so obsessively as a child is embedded in my memory. I hope I never forget those memories, because my obsession was fueled by enjoyment, pleasure and peacefulness, things that can be rather rare in an adult world fueled by money and obligation.
When I ask my dad of his fondest childhood memories, his response is most certainly fitting of a man his age (early 60s); most were moments with his friends out in the streets, causing havoc and just being boys. But times change, and whilst I have similar memories as my dad did, my personal achievements as a gamer are plastered just as high up in my mind as any first kiss, playground moment of greatness and fun out in the streets. I was an obsessive gamer kid, and I'll remember that for the rest of my life.
By Gaetano Prestia
What games were you obsessed with as a kid?