If you’ve followed this website for the past few years, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m one of nine children, and I grew up in a city in Washington State that’s right next door to Redmond. My oldest brother, the one I compared to Will Smith in his level of coolness, recently did an interview with the Ghetto Gamer in which he shares some of his experiences from the 1990s working as a video-game columnist for a newspaper, attending press events at Nintendo of America headquarters in Redmond, and working at Nintendo Power. It’s a really interesting read. I was lucky enough to tag along for a few of those events at NOA, and I remember them fondly. I’d like to share a few memories from my childhood about what it was like to be connected to such an amazing family.
Beloved Role-Playing Games
I don’t know how it all came about exactly, but my three brothers and I were invited to visit a Squaresoft office in the summer of 1994 for two weeks and just play Final Fantasy III (now better known as Final Fantasy VI) all day while eating and drinking nothing but fast food and pop. It was heaven to a 12-year-old. I managed to get the second airship by the end of my time there, which probably doesn’t mean much to someone unfamiliar with the game, but it was a big deal to me back then. That wasn’t the only RPG I loved at first sight. We received a copy of EarthBound along with its jaw-droppingly in-depth guidebook in 1995, and I played the heck out of that game. It remains one of my favorite games of all time, and everything about it speaks directly to the child in me. I think I was the only one of my brothers who really got into it.
Nintendo 64 and More
We also got to play Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64, and Wave Race during the summer of 1996, before the Nintendo 64 debuted in the U.S. We got Japanese versions of those games, so that made it quite a challenge to figure out the instructions, which were incomprehensible to us. As a result, my younger brother was the first ever to call a Nintendo game counselor with a question about Super Mario 64. We got to visit NOA’s testing center many times to play new games and give our feedback on them. Plus, a couple of times I got to go with one of my older brothers (on separate occasions) to play some amazing games with gaming journalists at NOA and then eat dinner, make candles, and try to solve a murder mystery at some swanky Seattle restaurants.
Writing About Video Games
My oldest brother rented a variety of games for the NES, SNES, Genesis, etc. over the years, so I was immersed in fun video games as a kid. They were part of his preparations for writing a book reviewing video games (The Good, the Bad, and the Bogus) and eventually writing a weekly newspaper column, which my second-oldest brother took over for a few years after my oldest brother graduated from high school. I knew my writing wasn’t up to snuff at the time, so I wasn’t any help to them in that area, and I knew I didn’t have it in me to maintain the column once they both moved on. It’s interesting how things change because I’ve managed to write an article each week as the Deja Reviewer for the past nine years.
One final thing I’ll share for your listening pleasure is this fun 30-day video game music challenge my brothers and I completed during June. It’s like a trip down memory lane as we all got to relive some of our favorite musical pieces from games we’ve loved and some that came as surprises. Even if you’re not a fan of video games, you might just find some of these musical pieces shockingly poignant and beautiful. Despite being aimed primarily at kids, video games often speak to something in all of us that we can relate to, no matter what age we’ve reached.
My oldest brother created the following chart based on our choices to show the average release year of the games we selected music from. As you can see, I’m definitely a retro gamer. I love me some classic games from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
It’s interesting to see how each of my brothers and I compare. I enjoy the classic sounds of games I grew up with, even though I recognize the many positive aspects of modern games. I guess I’m just a sucker for trailblazers when it comes to any form of entertainment, be it video games or movies. I’m grateful to my brothers for putting up with me when we were kids and for all the fun we had along the way. I’m also glad I have this website as a means of sharing my experiences with you, too.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
The music and videos are the copyright of their respective owners.
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