8-bit Memories

Memory is a funny thing; there are so many things that we remember that are so worthless yet things we forget that are far more important. You can try to cram worthwhile information into your brain such as what the details are of a major project at work, but so many times it just leaks out. Yet something like Willie McGee’s batting average from 1985 is etched in your hippocampus (btw it was .353).

This holds true with my, and apparently many others, video gaming experience as a kid.

I am a child of the Nintendo generation. From Capcom to Konami to Nintendo made games, this is the bulk of my video game experience. I remember the best birthday/Christmas combo I ever had, when I received Legend of Zelda, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, Pro Wrestling, and Double Dribble. Wow, I loved those games. I will still debate that the first Zelda is the greatest game for it’s time…..EVER!!! I remember when I finally beat, there was another quest. Another quest?? That’s like two games in one!!!

I remember writing down those ridiculous passwords for games like Metroid and Metal Gear. I mean they were 24 characters, using all the alphabet (case-sensitive), numbers, and misc. characters. There are literally over 60^24 combinations. WTF?!?! I was only 12 and I was supposed to write this shit down every time I died or else I started from the beginning? C’mon. And that ‘l’ sometimes looked like a ‘1’, or the ‘0’ looked like an ‘O’, and you would miswrite it: 3 hours of work down the tubes. That is a hell of a responsibility for someone who wasn’t even of age to see Gorillas in the Mist in the theater without an adult.

I remember my greatest accomplish in video games (and maybe in life) was timing out at 1:12 on the hardest track in Excitebike. The records page of Nintendo Power would have to be completely rewritten, that is if I took a picture of it with my father’s $500 Minolta and get the picture developed. And trust me, my dad actually cared less than zero that I achieved this feat of skill.

The funny thing is when I relay these triumphs and tribulations from my youth to others, they can relate much more than I thought they would. I have a friend who beat Sonic the Hedgehog with only one man AND got all the Chaos Emeralds. This may be one of the greatest video game conquests ever!!! We are all hoping the documentary commemorating this success will supersede King of Kongs.

I have another friend who recited to me the entire Strider password to get him to the final stage. I have another friend who has the Metal Gear final boss passcode in his mind at a moment’s notice. And of course we all know:

These are all the things we all remember; fun, inane, stupid, but happy events from our past.Sure, maybe these memories are not functional at your 9-5 job and probably won’t help you picking up women at the bar, but they make us smile and takes us back to a simpler time when controllers only had 2 buttons and the bit was only 8. Maybe these memories aren’t so worthless after all.