Getting presents nowadays isn’t what it used to be. Mostly because a lot of us retro gamers are now older. Some have families, jobs, responsibilities that take us away from our favorite pastime. Of course with jobs comes the money to buy games we always wanted sooner rather than later. Gone are the days where we would have to wait for the holidays or a birthday to get a game we really wanted. Yet with many gamers, that also means gone are the days we would get games as gifts. It’s a bittersweet pill to swallow.
The question has been circling the internet this whole holiday season. Was getting games as a present better then or now? The YouTuber Retro Bird made a video about this very topic and makes a good point. When we were kids we didn’t have the resources (money) necessary to go buy games on our own. If we wanted a new game we either had to find odd jobs to get the cash, or wait until a birthday or holiday. Of course what game we got didn’t really matter. We were just happy to get a brand new video game and play it. Now that most of us are adults, we don’t have to worry about waiting to get a new game as a present. However I’d argue that getting a game as a gift now means more than getting one as a kid.
With the world as it is today, and with many suffering with bad financial luck, getting a new game as a gift can mean the world to gamers. They can come home from work and play the game their friend/spouse/family member got them and unwind. They can forget about the news for a few precious moments and level up characters, or call up a friend for some multiplayer. It may not be like it was when you were a kid, but the magic of getting a game for the holidays is still there. Plus the sheer happiness of getting a game from someone can’t be beat. Yet some gamers may not WANT games for the holidays. They may have a large backlog and they want to get through a chunk before they get any more games. That doesn’t mean you can’t get them something gameing related. It could be a gaming collectible, art book, or even something they could wear. This year I received Nintendo socks from my lovely girlfriend and I couldn’t be happier. Some gamers may just be happy with getting something game related than getting an actual game. Sometimes they might like the gaming related gift MORE than the game itself. Point is, is that they’ll be happy, and that’s all we want to be.
Of course we may never experience the magic of getting games as a kid every year, but the year it DOES happen it will be a holiday to remember. Quick story time. In 2019 I wanted a SEGA Genesis Mini for my birthday or Christmas. I kept mentioning it to my girlfriend and dropped hints wherever I could to tell her that’s what I wanted. My birthday is in November, and it past with no Genesis Mini. So I thought I would be getting one for Christmas. Well Christmas morning came and no SEGA, so I resigned to the idea that I would just have to buy one. I had the money but it just wasn’t the same. However that night we had plans to visit one of my best friends to celebrate Christmas at his house with his family. Looking at the presents under the tree I see mine and instantly sized it up. I held the box at Target quite a few times, tempted to just buy it right then and there, only to have my girlfriend talk me out of it. It looked like the exact same size as a Genesis Mini box. Sure enough when it was my turn to open my present, I got my Genesis Mini and was overjoyed. I yelled the classic SEGA chant and gave my best friend the biggest bear hug to date. Turns out he got me my SEGA near the day it came out and told my girlfriend not to get it for me other wise she would’ve.
The magic was there, a 29 year old man felt like a kid opening up a SEGA Genesis back in 1992. It’s still possible to feel that way again. Granted it may be few and far between but it can happen. Sure the anticipation may not be there like it was back in the day, but the feeling of being thankful to those who DO give gamers games or game related items for the holidays, or any occasion, can’t be overstated.