It lived in a box unused for over 21 years; I knew I would never use it again, and yet I still held on to it–it was time to let it go.
It was mid-1994, and I was 11 years old. I was visiting my cousins one weekend, and they had just purchased a Nintendo. I had never played with a Nintendo before so I was eager to give it a go. My cousin inserted the video game cartridge into the console, turned the power on, handed me the control, and we started playing Super Mario. The moment my hands touched the control and my eyes hit the screen, I knew I wanted a Nintendo. There was, however, one problem: I didn’t have the money to buy one; I needed to save for it. And that is what I did; I got a big tin cylinder money box, the kind that can only be opened with a can opener, and placed every dollar and every cent I could get into it. By early December, the money box was full, and I opened it and counted the money. I was confident that I had saved money enough to buy a Nintendo.
A couple of days later, I was off to Target with my dad to buy my Nintendo. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. We arrived at Target and headed to the electronics department where we discovered that a new Super Nintendo was on the market; I had to have it. Excitement, however, quickly turned to disappointment when I realised that I hadn’t saved enough money to buy it. I was heartbroken. But then the unexpected happened: my dad gave me the extra money I needed to buy the Super Nintendo as my Christmas present. It was the happiest day of my life: I had my own Super Nintendo. The moment we got home, we connected the Super Nintendo to the television, and I started playing Super Mario; I didn’t even have to wait until Christmas. For an 11-year-old boy, life was great.
A couple of weeks passed, and my love for my Super Nintendo was still strong when, on December 18, 1994, the unexpected happened: my dad suffered a major heart attack and passed away. The Super Nintendo would be the last Christmas present I would receive from him.
A couple of years passed, and it was time to say goodbye to Mario and his friends and go on a new adventure with Lara Croft: I (my brother) got a PlayStation. The PlayStation had better graphics, better sound, and overall was a better gaming experience than the Super Nintendo, and yet I couldn’t let it go. At 13 years old, I felt I needed to hold on to the Super Nintendo because it was the last gift my dad gave me. I am not sure why I felt this way; maybe letting go of the Super Nintendo would be like letting go of my dad and his memory. All I knew is I needed to keep it, so I placed the Super Nintendo in a box where it would remain for over 21 years.
It’s 2017, I opened that box, and there is the Super Nintendo still looking as good as new. I pick it up, and I realise that it no longer brings me joy or adds value to my life. I am no longer the boy who likes to play video games. The Super Nintendo had a role in my life, but it doesn’t now: it was time to let it go. That obligation I had as a 13-year-old to keep the Super Nintendo is gone because I have realised my dad is not a possession. He was not the pieces of plastic and screws that make up a video game console; he was a person… he was my dad. I will always remember how he helped me purchase the Super Nintendo, knowing how desperately I wanted it. It’s this memory and many others that are important, not the Super Nintendo itself. All of these memories live within me and not in the Super Nintendo or any other possession.
On 17 December 2017, almost 23 years after my dad’s death, I sold the Super Nintendo to someone who plans to collect and display vintage video games. The buyer will get more value out of the Super Nintendo than I would keeping it in a box.
While the Super Nintendo did trigger memories of my dad and our trip to Target, I no longer need to keep it to spark these memories. Taking a photo of the Super Nintendo and writing this blog now act as the prompts to my memories, but more importantly, sharing this story with you has done more to keep my dad’s memory alive than a Super Nintendo stored in a box.