This year, as the season turns, I catch myself thinking back to a specific holiday break. It was 1996, and I was on my 7th grade holiday break. Man, what a good time that turned into. Travel back with me, to a time when a young Sarge was all wide eyed and bushy tailed...
I had made a couple of friends in the year and a half that we lived in Columbus, but I was also starting to slip into a more comfortable routine of playing video games and writing. My 3 year old SNES was due for a marathon session, since I hadn't really been able to play after school started, and I was given a chance to rent a single game for the whole holiday break.
The family and I took the Sentra down the road to the local Blockbuster, where the wall of games had caught my eye earlier in the year. I used to stare at the box art through the window while waiting for my mom to finish the grocery shopping, deciding which game I wanted to rent the most. It always came down to two titles, Final Fantasy 3 (which was almost never in stock) and Lufia and the Fortress of Doom. The time had finally come to make a choice, and, predictably, Final Fantasy 3 was out of stock. I rushed up the aisle and snatched up Lufia as quick as I could, intent on getting the other game on my must play list.
We went next door to the Winn-Dixie to get whatever snacks we wanted to have over the break, and I was thinking the whole time about what I would name my character. Mike was the obvious choice, but I also was considering Frost, Sable and Blade. I know, I wasn't very imaginative.
Once we got home, I ran back to my room and put the cartridge in the system, firing up the TV and settling in for a great afternoon of gaming. I hit the power switch and after a few seconds, that iconic music kicked in, sending a chill down my spine. It was the best game music I had ever heard, and set the mood nicely for what was to follow.
I spent the next three days playing almost non-stop, slowly unfurling the legend of the Sinistrals, traveling the world to put a stop to their evil machinations, and gathering a party of heroes for an epic confrontation that would decide the fate of not only my home town, but the whole world.
Man, what a great game. I remember pleading with my mom to let me buy it outright, to no avail. I must have convinced her of something though, as she let me rent it over and over again through out my two week holiday break. Those were good times, and I still smile thinking about them. The smell of cinnamon in the air, the hot cocoa I would sip on, and the feeling of the vent kicking on to blast the house with warm air while I digitally traveled the land. I remember kicking on a tabletop fan when I got the airship for the first time, thanks to my brother suggesting it, and the sense of immersion I felt as I flew across the screen.
What games do you remember from your childhood? Any fond holiday video game memories to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments down below. Thanks for reading guys, I hope this made you think of the fun times you had when you were young, and maybe inspired you to create some new memories this year. See ya next time!