231: Are You Happy Now?

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Are You Happy Now?

Christmas can be a bittersweet time of year for a PC gamer. If your hardware is up to snuff, you have a feast of games to choose from. But what if your system clocks in just below the requirements for the hottest new game? Rob Zacny takes us back to 1997, when a new computer stood between him and Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.

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That is such a sweet tale. Its really cool how it all worked out, even despite that tirade which had ensued. A true Christmas!

I am glad it worked out in the end! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Wow man. Some heavy stuff there. Caused some serious introspection.

Great article!

What a lovely story, I could almost start to tear up.

Aw, that's great. Such a good Christmas story. I'm sure most of us have felt like that once or twice.
I've learnt though, that as you get older, it's much more about the giving, about creating the situations that you described. Watching my niece open up her presents on Christmas morning a few years ago was magical, I can only hope that I get to see the same results from my God-son this year.

Great story. Sounds like me with my dialup internet.

That is a great story, I've had similar in my family, just kinda hits close to home.

*wipes a single tear*

Most excellent. I can identify! Christmas was pretty much the only time I got a game each year when I was a kid, so I had to choose carefully.

The year I picked Prince of Persia, only to realize it didn't work (very well) with our computer setup was devastating. I freaked right the fuck out. "Christmas is ruined," and a wide assortment of bitter hyperbole. Eventually I realized that I was sounding a bit obsessed and accepted my fate, and a few months later a new computron appeared. Presto!

At the time, I was convinced that the lesson learned was that you should act like nothing bothers you, and your level-headed indifference will be rewarded when the problem is magically fixed by Forces On High.

That was a great story.
It reminds me that we often get better than we deserve, while the opposite is true for many others.
We ought to try to be better deserving of what we have, and to be more giving than other people deserve.

This was such an excellent story.

I really love that about The Escapist, that I can get thoughts and opinions on gaming in addition to wonderful tales about it. :)

Good article. I think we can relate to doing dumb things as a kid. I once got really upset over a couple of presents under the tree. I only had two gifts but the number wasn't the issue. The issue was the 'shape' of the gift. They were shaped like clothes boxes. You know the ones I'm talking about. The large rectangular one that was sure to contain the green and red sweater you're only going to wear once.

All I wanted that year was the Splinter action figure from the Ninja Turtle series. I overreacted towards my parents and made a complete jackass out of myself. Upon opening the gift not only was Splinter in there, but there beside him were April O'Neil and Shredder. Needless to say I felt like a douche.

I think as kids we're spoiled by being born into a place with readily available food and shelter. (not everyone in this world can say that) Having these two things handed to us so easily puts our focus on thing that are ultimately trivial. I feel like it's only later in life that we start to realize what really matters.

This was spectacular beyond words, I just wish he had scanned that picture =D

I remember when I got my first PC (on Christmas too). Before I'd been confined to only playing on Saturday's when I went to my Dad's.

I don't think I'd even asked for one (expecting a "no" and nothing more if I'd of asked I think, or maybe it was just too fantastic an idea to even consider having one of my own. I remember when I was opening it I was so sure of what it was, but (being filmed) I was hesitant to even say that it was a computer when my Dad kept asking me.

He then hinted that I'd be able to unplug his and put mine in when I came over so that I could use it when I was at his (but not when I was at my Mum's for the rest of the week) because they didn't have another monitor. Only for him to say that if I could find one "laying around" then perhaps I could use that.

Of course, there was one wrapped up in the cupboard.

I never had a thing like this with a comp, my dad was head of the computer department at ut for awhile so for the most part we always had a decent machine. But I did have something kinda like this with the original gameboy.

I was so sure I wasnt getting that since I thought I failed my report card, I didnt think that very long since it was pointed out to my by my mom that this wasnt the case but for some reason that stuck, my folks told me they wouldnt get it for me unless I passed but even after it being pointed out that I had, I still thought I wouldnt get it and during xmas morning that seemed to be the case. They did the same thing as the parents in the story, kept it for last, had it hidden behind things and in packaging that I wouldnt notice so I was stunned when I got it. I cant say I did the whole yelling at them thing about it, I might have but if I did I dont remember it. Still that was an awsome xmas.

Kids are supposed to be spoiled, they are supposed to want everything, its a part of being younge, thats what xmas is really about these days, spoiling the kids and suprising them. Im not suprised that he remembers throwing the tantrum (which is still an important part of growing up) but Ill bet the main thing his parents remember is him opening the gift.

My first real gaming present after the Mega Drive was made a little bit less of a surprise by my mum telling me she couldn't remember what I wanted, so she gave me the cash and made me go out and buy it. That's pretty much been the tradition since then, though :P

That story was oddly beautiful, and I can certainly relate to it. I remember spending large ammounts of my pocket money on gaming magazines so I could just look at pictures of games I could never have, I remember saving up for a whole year to buy a Game Gear, hell, I remember buying strategy guides for games that I couldn't hope to own, just to know more about them.

Christ, thank God for Wikipedia...

Excellent article. I specially liked when your father, acknowledging this is your hobby, tells you how you should enjo it even when you can't participate on that, or else it's not really your hobby. I liked this because nowadays I probably feel like you did at that time, I read and watch about all games I would love to play, but don't, not because of an obsolete piece of hardware or not enough money to buy another one, but because of lack of time. But I felt like that when I was a teenager and had a crappy computer, too, so I can imagine your hapiness when you got that gift. A brief moment when you have the illusion that you'll play all those games you were salivating upon... that's a magic moment, for sure.

Was the person that received the gift the same as the one who asked about it.

I sort of had a similar experience, except the other way around.

I had a burning wish for my own computer for my confirmation. And on the gift table, I see this desktop computer-sized gift, and I was just so happy!

It turns out to be a basket for clothes. Imagine my disappointment. I was really in a bad mood for some time. It was a cruel thing to do against someone that age!

And they did it on purpose, too. Evil, I say!

Great story, lovely ending, + 1 to your parents.

I wish my parents were supportive of my gaming, at least they're tolerant. My dad will still watch me sometimes and talk about his Commadore 64. Oh, how things have advanced.

Wonderful story, if it were my parents, I wouldn't have been allowed any electronics for the rest of the year.

Obrien Xp:
if it were my parents, I wouldn't have been allowed any electronics for the rest of the year.

Well, it was in december, so not that much year left...

Sweet that you got your computer then, I had to share the family computer until I left the house, I remember saving up a lot of money for a voodoo card for the home computer when I was 16 or something.
I loved being 18 and finally leaving the house and getting my own money and my own computer, I never want to have to share a computer anymore, if I get kids, they'll get a computer as soon as they show interest.

[quote="Obrien Xp" post="6.160174.4052156"]if it were my parents, I wouldn't have been allowed any electronics for the rest of the year.

Well, it was in december, so not that much year left...

Allow me to re-phrase, until the next christmas.

Yea, we all do stupid things we regret as kids, there to torture us for our entire lives, living down the embarrasment and regret.

That's quite a nice story.

I didn't have a good enough pc to play Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, so I played it round a friend's house and it was truly a great game for the time. I suppose I've resigned myself to being later on the gaming scene than everyone else because of money issues (my parents never bought me a console or ever really updated the PC on my account), I got a PS2 fairly late on and I only got an Xbox360 a few months ago. I'm definitely not one of these people who can't resist waiting a month for a game's price to drop.

I remember a number of stories from my own life like that, although they didn't involve any sort of argument to get them. The first of these was the Christmas after my ninth or tenth birthday. I already had a computer at this stage - my own personal computer as well, which was a big deal back in 1998 or 1999, but it was rather incapable for gaming. Along comes Christmas morning, and there's a brand new Pentium MMX sitting in the dining room. Certainly one of the best presents I've ever received.

That said, there's a story that tops that. It was Christmas morning in 2004, and I was opening my presents along with the rest of the family. Soon, we all came to a certain package, I being the first to open - to reveal a Nintendo DS, several months before its release in Europe. To say that I was surprised would be an understatement - I was absolutely elated and shocked at the same time. I think that my reaction to the DS would beat out just about anyone's here - just absolute speechlessness conveyed by excited grunting and an expression of pure joy. The DS is still going strong today, a reminder of that Christmas when everything just went right.

Rob - you never said if the game was as good as you thought it would be... although I think I know the answer.

My parents had this wierd little thing they did every Christmas. Every Christmas I would beg for THE toy, the ONE thing I wanted in order to be happy. They would never buy it for me for Christmas. I would be disappointed but inevitably would enjoy whatever present I had received.

Some time later, when Christmas was a hazy memory they would give me a surprise present. Inside would be that one thing that I wanted. You know what? I would invariably look at it and go "Huh. I wonder why I wanted that?"

Their side of this was interesting. They didn't want to deny me anything, but they didn't want me to think I could get things by begging and whining.

My experience was rather more formative. Whatever I really thought I wanted, the most important thing every Christmas was that I had my parents.

Although there was this one time I wanted Subbuteo for Christmas and, when I finally got it MAN, was it ever sweet!

I've not had tirades about christmas gifts, but I had a few on some other occasions... Unfortunately it's a rite of passage for kids to be greedy, unappreciative assholes, but the most important thing is that we realise what jerks we've been in the past so we can be better people in the future... and then put up with snot nosed brats of our own!

However I did beg for a 3D0 the year it came out because I was impressed with a game I played in a demo, but thank god they didn't get it for me!

This article makes me want to give my parents a hug and apologize for getting angry when Knights of the Old Republic wouldn't run on our old Dell.

*starts slow clap*

Great article!

I remember a similar thing happening when the ps2 was released and my ps one was destroyed. My Dad had recently been retrenched and I was suprised to be getting one after being sat down and talked to about a little fit i had over not being able to play Gran Turismo 3.

Jon Etheridge:

I think as kids we're spoiled by being born into a place with readily available food and shelter. (not everyone in this world can say that) Having these two things handed to us so easily puts our focus on thing that are ultimately trivial. I feel like it's only later in life that we start to realize what really matters.

Completely agree.

Thank you for sharing this!

such a great, and for many of us gamers, a familiar story. i can so relate to this, up to the point where you actually get the upgraded computer, whereas i, never did :/

kind of felt bad for your parents at one point while reading, hope they're doing well. seems like a good bunch :)

That was beautiful, and a reflection of how I feel every Christmas, or whenever I ask for something.
Plus I was listening to a Smiths song, so you damn near made me cry.

That was a really well told story! Despite the truth to it. Are we ever going to see the picture of you looking a dumb-founded 14-year old?

This article really touched me. Not tears running down the face touched me but I can relate to it in a way I cant really explain. I think most children have some memories like this one.

Anyways wonderful writing and thanks!

Everyone together now: D'AAAAAAAAW.

Cute story. I find it funny that I, on the other hand, now spend more time playing old games I get from Good Old Games. Although maybe I should upgrade my computer, since it doesn't run Braid.

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