In 2001 I left home with a group of friends, leaving the flat plains of Illinois for the mountain vistas of Colorado, boldly venturing forth with the assurance that I’d be able to find “a job” and somehow “get by” without doing to much research or planning. You see, I was in my twenties and that’s what Xellenials did in our twenties… leaving behind our families and video games for the great unknown.
It’s what I did, anyway, not knowing that I was in for a terrifying decade of scarcity and uncertainty, broken friendships, betrayals, adventure, mayhem, and all the other shit I had to go through to have emotional experiences to write about in my thirties.
What I did not have a lot of was video games. I’ve always loved them, games, from the Atari 2600 an uncle handed down when I was in grade school, to the TRS-80, Atari 400, and Sinclair microcomputers hooked up to black and white TVs a bit later – I loved playing them, I loved making them. We were never wealthy so I’d grab what I could at garage sales, and somehow managed to just keep up with the tale end of each generation’s offerings – I had the Atari, I had a Colecovision, I had a NES, I had a Genesis, I had a SNES, I had a PS1 and even a PS2. And of course, the computers, the C64, and my rusty ol’ 486. I couldn’t always afford all the games, but I had a lot of friends, and we’d pass them around. That’s what you did back in the days of physical media.
That, or rent them at Blockbuster.
Of course, all that changed when I moved out of the house. Ended up selling my PS2 after it took too long for everybody to find work. I don’t think I owned another console until I settled again in my 30s… until then, at best I made due with a series of laptops I could keep in the suitcase I was living out of, drifting the country like a vagabond, flitting from state to state.
Anyway, point is I missed out on a lot of cool videogames and I’m going to blog a series where I go ahead and play them. This isn’t going to be exactly a Let’s Play, and it’s not going to be reviews… more of a trip report. I’m going to try and convey the experience of playing these games… titles I’ve been exposed through via marketing and the cultural consciousness of the last twenty years, seeing how that tilts my expectations.
Starting with 2001’s Paper Mario.