The One That Started It All

My memory is sparse, but I faintly remember getting this for Christmas of 1998. I might be wrong, but nevertheless this little (well, back then) device was the catalyst to a lifelong fascination. Despite recent games being lost to me with their many controls and three-dimensional movements, I still am pulled towards them, moth-like.

I haven't seen this in ages… but now I need batteries…

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Now the Game Boy Color in the photo is not my original Christmas gift. The original met a grim fate when it unceremoniously slipped from my young grasp as I slipped out of our Grand Cherokee. The screen was left with a large black stripe running diagonally across it. And this was quite soon after I had gotten it. This means that this one is essentially as old as my original, but back then it meant that I had to work really hard to prove I deserved what was, in essence, a  doubly expensive Game Boy.

But this, most certainly, was well worth the cost. Well…I find it easily justifiable, but it would have been preferred to cost only what it was, nothing more. But this little gaming system proved its worth. It has traveled up and down the country, slept soundly next to me in many car rides, and hid beneath the blankets many times with a flashlight.

As for that little cartridge, that was all I had and all I needed for a long time. I was wholly content to wander the little pixel child hither and thither across a fantastical land. My unyielding patience was more than likely honed in some part by this game. For that I am eternally grateful. Of course, at the time it was nothing more than harmless fun. Collecting creatures, training with them, dooming them to a digital eternity inside a computer inside the game, but I never traded during this period. No one else I knew had a Game Boy. Everyone else had consoles, but the single television we had was not for me, and so the handheld was my only option.

When Gold and Silver game out I was able to get both by asking for one and saving up for the other. It was immeasurably exciting, but I never put away the old monochromatic first. I found myself playing it to compare the two games. There were the advertised changes from generation one to two, but there were other changes as well. Some of the Pokemon, I did not recognize their sprite, but I did their name. Maybe it was my faulty childhood memory aiding the mistake.

I could not see it then, but this little teal device truly did shape how I am today. Not just a lifelong interest in gaming and game, but in personality as well. Of course, this was in no way involuntary. I did not become patient nor analytical from this game alone. It was my interest that allowed it to happen. I was already set to play the game, and its design just so happened to require patience which I had to externally learn.