How my Mom saved Christmas

This is a repost from a story I wrote a long time ago and has been featured a number of times, hope you like it.

In the age of online shopping and overnight delivery, the hunt to get the game or game system we want is less of a hassle than it used to be in the past. Sure, we can camp out for special deals and sometimes miss out on getting something on day one, but overall we have it easy. Regardless, for many of us gamers we had parents who struggled to make us happy on Christmas morning and it is important to remember what they did for us especially during the holidays.

NES Controll Deck

This is a story about my mother going on a hunt with me for my NES.

It was about a week before Christmas and the Nintendo Entertainment System was on every kid’s wish list. I had made bargains and promises and finally my mother agreed to get it for me. She was old school in that she did not keep up on anything technical and didn’t really even know where to go get it, so I was tasked to find out where to get it and she would go and pay for it.

It was Friday night and I was at home searching the phone book to call stores asking if they had the NES. Many of the stores were sold out and the smile on my face that I had when I started had quickly faded. Then I got a stoke of good luck. A Toys-R-Us had one, but the store was thirty miles away. To me that was nothing and when my mother walked in the door I had the address and directions to the store ready to go. I was bouncing around with all the energy of a child not taking notice of my mom’s condition. I doubt I even gave her a moment to rest before I was dragging her back out to the car.

Chicago

 

Now I grew up in Chicago, so in December it was bitter cold and snowing. There was ice on the ground and tons of people going home from work, out for the night or shopping as we were. The traffic was horrible, but all I could think about was my new NES and how I’d soon be playing Mario Bros.

We get to Toys-R-Us and I fly inside not waiting for my mother. In seconds I was at the electronics section. By the time my mother got there I was almost in tears. They had sold the last one just ten minutes ago. I had no back-up plan, no other store directions or addresses. I just wanted to die. My mom suggested we try a few stores on the way home which temporality lifted my spirits.

toys-r-us-nes-retro-ad

Seven stores later with no NES in sight I just wanted to go home and quit. I felt Christmas was ruined and didn’t even want to celebrate it anymore. Nothing my mom said or did make me feel any better. I had laid down in the backseat of the car when it came to a stop. I knew we couldn’t have arrived home yet.

I looked out the window to see another store. Now for the life of me I can’t remember the store name, but what I can tell you was it was not known for any toys or electronics for the matter. It was what I would call an “old ladies” store. My mom had dragged me there many times for clothes or home appliances and stuff.

I was actually upset that my mom had brought me to a store like this that had no chance to have my NES. However, I was pretty well behaved thanks to my mom’s firm hand so I did not put up a fuss. We entered the store and my mom headed for the electronics section. Then I caught a glimpse of it. My eyes widened, my heart began to race. It was a display of Nintendo’s behind a glass counter. There were at least ten of them. I couldn’t believe it and I guess that was the point. The store normally would not have carried NES’s, but since it was such a hot item and it was the holidays they did. I guess kids and parents alike did not think to go there to look for a NES so they had them in stock.

I was in heaven until my mom pulled out her checkbook. The lady behind the counter said they no longer accepted checks, only cash or charge. As I said my mom was old school and did not have a credit card and surely did not have the cash on her. I was ready to die again until the lady looked at my mother’s check number.

Now some of you might not know this but the number to the right of the check not only tells you how many checks you wrote but, at least back then, was an indicator of your credit status. Think of it like a credit score, the more checks you wrote the better your credit was. My mother had written over eight thousand checks which showed she could be trusted. The sales lady spoke to the manager and he agreed to sell my mom the NES. It truly felt like Christmas morning. I had my NES and all was right in the world. I was energized all the way home dying to play it.

Even though I was really excited I did take a moment to thank my mom and that was when I saw it. She was tired, like the tired you would have after working ungodly hours as a nurse. My mother was an LPN (licensed practice nurse) and she worked 12 to 16 hours shifts all the time. In fact many times she would work back to back and even overnights. As a kid with no responsibility, I did not fully understand the strength it took to come home after working that hard and having to drive me all over town for some game.

She could have ended our trek after the first store or told me to wait until the next day to go. I understood a bit more that day what it took to raise me and my sister as a single parent, but it took years for me to fully understand all her sacrifices. I made sure to think of that night whenever I got mad over something stupid. Sometimes I forgot and acted like she had never done anything for me, but then I quickly remembered that night and many other things she did for me.

That was not the first or last time that my mother and I went off on an adventure for something gaming related. Perhaps one day I will tell you about our hunt for Texas Instruments software. For now, think about your own parents and what they did for you and if you can, tell them thanks.

Ads From The Past: Retro Rewind

Street Fighter 2010 NES ad
When Street Fighter 2 was taking over the world Capcom took the opportunity to try to sell a crappy game with its name. Street Fighter 2010 -The Final Fight- was the result. The game is quite difficult and can be very tedious especially if you don’t have any patience. 

 

Classic video game ads
I gotta say I rather enjoy the ads where they showcase a lot more games in just one page especially if they aren’t that good to begin with.
Ninja Spirit ad
Ninja Spirit for the Turbo Grafx is well kinda of bland. I just don’t understand why the Turbo Grafx ads were so unappealing. They deliver a message but why does the background of every ad I have seen so far for a Turbo Grafx game the color white. Where these guys trying to save on ink? I sure hope not….
Nightmare on Elrm Street ad
For such an awesome movie this was such a horrible game. Leave it up to LJN to screw things up over and over again. Enter Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES. The game is at least somewhat playable and beatable if you have the patience for it. I dare you to play through this one!

Konami Handhelds ad

Konami sure took advantage of the handheld craze back in the day. They released many handhelds from their favorite titles. I was lucky enough to find a TMNT handheld to add to my collection but I’ll surely be looking out for these ones.
Toys r us ad
Here we have a nice ad from Toys R Us. They carried everything back in the day. I remember how they used to have their consoles for you to play the latest games on….Those were the days….
Starship Hector NES ad
This one is based on the game Starship Hector for the NES. The game was released by Hudson Soft so you can expect it to be something above average. Hudson Soft always delivered great games you know.

Phelios & Burning Force Genesis ads

Continuing with the Sega trend, we have yet another ad from it. The ad is very simple and has a nice look. The Pac-Man dude helps with giving the ad some attention. As good as the cover art may look, I’m sure these games are just your average Sega titles but I could be wrong.
Pictionary NES ad
Making crappy games interesting was a huge part of video gaming back in the late 80s and 90s and this is just one of the bunch. I’m not saying the game is horrible but it’s not something I would play on a daily basis or in a session of retro gaming goodness. The ad itself portrays it as a game that anyone can pick up and play although if you were smart enough to not buy into the ad, you’ll be good. For the rest of you, run for your lives!
SNK Video Games Ad It mainly shows off some of the good titles from SNK before they dumped Nintendo and decided to go up against them. There is one title on this ad that I think should be in anyone’s list, care to guess? The answer is Crystalis!

Yu-gi-oh Collecting Continued

Finally, another Yu-gi-oh! find! This time around I found a folder filled with the cards for five dollars. There were a few holograms from the old packs and the usual lame cards from such packs as Legend of Blue Eyes.

 

Yu-Gi-Oh-Cards-6

The folder was a more than good excuse to buy this.

Yu Gi Oh Cards 7

As you can see some holograms came with this like the classic Blue Eyes White Dragon and Dark Magician. There is also a Salamandra! Power up those fire monsters!

Yu Gi Oh Cards 8

Probably the best card in this find is the card Solemm Judgment which comes in handy in any deck which is why it’s only limited to one per deck.

That’s about it for this card haul. There will be more in the future! I’m sure of it! Until next time….

Yu Gi Oh Card Collecting

Yu-Gi-Oh-Cards-Collecting

So I have been getting back to one of my old hobbies once more. Back years and years ago I used to play the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game at the local card shoppe and had a blast each weekend. Then finally the fun ran out as I spent a lot of money on the cards(probably more than a grand altogether) and decided to step down. Now, I decided to start playing again but with more precaution. Anyways, I picked up a three pack with random variant card to start off and decided to post photos of the package opening.

Yu Gi Oh Cards 3
Yu Gi Oh Cards 1

Yu Gi Oh Cards 1

Toys R’ Us are over charging bastards!

Yu Gi Oh Cards 4
Yu Gi Oh Cards 5

At the end I only ended up getting one super rare card and no other shiny ones. I didn’t know what to expect and don’t know if I got any good ones or not. Anyways, wish me luck in my next unpacking!