Christmas time and video games practically go hand in hand. New consoles are launched around November aiming to be the top spot on people’s lists, games go on sale and a few new ones are released, it truly is a wonderful time of year for gamers. Now this can also be the biggest headache of the year for parents and grandparents who are trying their hardest to find that one game or system their loved one wants. Most of the time they pull through, but sometimes things get lost in translation and they end up getting the wrong kind of present. I can imagine that most of these mix ups happen when the parent/grandparent doesn’t know what system or games their kid has so they either get a game for a different system or they buy the same game that the loved one already has. It’s truly an honest mistake, especially back in the 90’s and early 80’s. With so many different consoles and games out there who wouldn’t get confused. Well one year my parent’s got confused, and it turned out to be one the best things they ever gave me.
So this took place in the early 2000’s, my brother and I just got our first PlayStation and the video game bug bit us hard. We were constantly going to used game stores, renting games from Blockbuster, doing whatever we could to play new games even if we couldn’t buy them outright. Eventually being a one console household wasn’t sitting well with my brother and I. We wanted more and would go to our parents to ask them about getting another game console. Be it the Genesis or the Super Nintendo, just something else to play. Of course they shot us down, saying that our PlayStation was more than enough, but sometimes they would answer back with the, “Well maybe if you’re good Santa will get you a new one for Christmas,” line. So the day came when my Dad asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I responded with “The Super Nintendo.” “Really? What’s that?” he asked. I told him and he said that we’ll wait and see.
Fast forward to Christmas morning of that year. I was up in Montana visiting my Mom’s side of the family. We were all crammed into my grandparents house and it looked just like a scene in a Christmas movie with all the family gathered around with snow falling outside the window. We all opened our presents and Dad made sure I’d go last. It was tradition in my house to open the big present from Mom and Dad last, since it was normally the BIG thing we wanted on our Christmas list. I was so excited, thinking I was getting my Super Nintendo that when I opened it up I was shocked. It wasn’t a Super Nintendo, but a NES instead. The first thing that went through my mind was, “Oh no.” Now to give some context, my grandparents, especially my dearly departed Grandfather, won’t take ANY whining during Christmas time. A year or so prior to this Christmas I had a bit of a meltdown over some trading cards (in my own home with my immediate family and not my extended thankfully) that I still cringe about to this day. So I knew that if I made any sort of scene, I would not only get my present taken away, but I would probably be outside doing chores while everyone else enjoyed Christmas dinner. My parents took notice of my lack of joy and asked if it was what I wanted and I frantically said yes. It wasn’t until they kept pressing my for answers that I told them it was the wrong console. Apparently when I said Super Nintendo all those weeks ago, my Dad heard “Nintendo” and went to his sister to ask about her old NES. He didn’t know the difference between a NES or a SNES, it was a version of the joke of “All parents think video games are Nintendo”. Luckily my aunt wasn’t using it so she gave it to Dad to give to me, along with all her games which had some doubles of Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Super Mario Bros. 3.
Even though I was taken aback a bit by the mix up, I soon forgot all about it when Dad and Grandpa hooked up the NES to the TV. Soon the NES became the biggest hit of the holiday, with family members taking turns playing Duck Hunt, trying to get the farthest in Super Mario, and even having little tournaments with Ice Hockey. Even after dinner we kept on playing games well into the night, and would bring the system with us to other relative’s houses so we can play there as well. Even when I took the system back home my brother and I would keep playing the games in all of their 8-bit glory. I still have it to this day and I plan on turning it into a museum piece to preserve it. Unfortunately I didn’t keep all of the games that came with it when I got it, I sold some off to make space but kept certain titles. Either way it was a parental mix up that eventually became a literal treasure in my collection that I would never give up. So the next time someone mixes up the game or type of game you wanted for the holidays, hold on to it for a while. You never know how you’ll feel about it down the line.