My brother and I were allowed to open one present, each, on Christmas Eve, a little while before going to our Grandparents’ house for family festivities. At first, we were just excited to open a package, any package. As a result, I often went for the biggest one with my name on it and my brother usually went for the one with the paper that said, “Open Me” printed all over it in green.
But this was in our young, and naïve years. We hadn’t yet learned that the big packages usually contain clothes, which are not exciting Christmas presents until the teen years, if even then. Also, we hadn’t yet realized the “Open Me” paper was a not-so-subliminal message to open the new scarf and gloves set because it’s rapidly becoming cold outside and we don’t want the fingers to freeze, now do we?
And then, in the late ’80s, it all came together. On Christmas Eve, in the afternoon, my brother and I sat by the tree, pondering our packages, trying to decide which one to open, and I saw it. It was not unusually shaped; it was a box, wrapped neatly in green paper, addressed to both my brother and me. But, I had studied the box of the NES’ most amazing controller, The Advantage, in the store so frequently, I was certain this was it.
Naturally, this is the one I chose to open. I had to lobby hard for this one with my brother, as we’d both have to agree to open just this one, but in the end, he, too, saw that this had to be The Advantage. Hours later, my parents had to pull us away from Track and Field II because, with The Advantage, the hammer throw was now possible and archery was a breeze.
The holidays are a time of barely contained excitement, with all kinds of new product releases, hoping to capitalize on the gift giving. And I know some mothers are like mine was, reading gaming magazines to find the Best New Thing for the season and then standing in line at 6 a.m. to be sure to have them in time for the holidays. It’s because of this excitement that we often have some of our clearest and most beloved gaming memories.
And that’s what this issue, Season’s Gaming, is all about. Our writers tell of stories and share thoughts about the holidays and games. Pat Miller shares a touching tale of the home he found in gaming and Michael Zenke takes us through a lifetime of Christmases, both his own and others’ in this week’s Tuesday-only publish of The Escapist.