The turning of the leaves, the cooling of the air, and the Frank Sinatra Christmas album that every mall in America plays have a strange effect on me. They always motivate me to switch on my video game console.
Flashback to my highschool days:At this point in the year, football season is over because my team rarely makes the playoffs, let alone reaching the state championship. School slows down in preparation for exams and winter break. I’m one of the few black people at my school who sucks at basketball, so I prefer to watch the games from the stands. But even those events are few and far between because I don’t like traveling across the city (or out to the boondocks) to see another school beat the crap out of my team.
Christmas hits soon, and hopefully, my family will bless me with the lengthy list of video games I requested. My mom still puts “From: Santa” on some of the boxes. She acts like she doesn’t recognize that I’m a 16-year-old equipped with the knowledge that my man Saint Nick is not bringing his fat ass down our chimney. We don’t even have a damn chimney. Sometimes my mom will even disguise games by putting them in a box that looks like it has clothes in it.
Christmas day is all about smiles, good food, and family. My friend Patrick heads over and joins me in marathon sessions of Madden, Mario Kart, and the latest Mario platformer. But eventually, when everyone else is off doing his own thing, I get some time to myself to dive into my favorite genre: role-playing games. As a consummate extrovert, this is my one, secret, introverted activity. It’s just me and my virtual team against world-devouring evil.
The cold air has something about it that always brings me back to gaming. Even now with work and school, when free time is at a premium, I always find a moment to fire up my console.
I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that developers always bombard this season with their best titles, but I think it has to be something more than that. In the summer, the adventures happen outside. We play street ball or go to the local mall to scope out the ladies.
Now it’s cold. Going outside just isn’t in the cards for a young man in D.C. when temperatures drop to 16 degrees Fahrenheit. What else is there to do besides crank the heat, turn on the console, and find adventure without having to leave the house?
Soon the snow will fall. It will remind me of the joy of playing Shenmue during a snowstorm. I’ll remember the winter break when I got a Super Nintendo and Super Mario World for my birthday and played it nonstop. Or maybe I’ll think of the two-week-long “snow day” that my main man Patrick and I had many Februarys ago; we played Mario Kart and Rock N’ Roll Racing for six hours every day.
Regardless of what form the nostalgia takes this season, I can guarantee you that it’ll have something to do with gaming. What memories does the holiday conjure up for you?