Everyone seems to be getting into the Holiday spirit. It seems as though various bloggers are having various events that allow us to share ideas, as well as stories, which can give us a better glimpse into the lives of these writers.

I’m all for it because I’m pretty curious by nature…

I don’t know you people, you maybe murderers for all I know.

Then again….you don’t know me….
I digress,

Kim over at Later Levels has a series of questions that she wants answered throughout the month of December, and I am willing to oblige her.

The question for December 20 is…

You’re wrapping presents while listening to cheesy festive tunes, and start to reminisce about holidays past. What’s your favourite Christmas gaming memory?

Now all of us have some type of holiday story. Whether it’s spending the day in the kitchen with parents and grandparents, swapping stories and learning about checkered pasts, sitting on the couch with out of town relatives while watching whatever sporting event that you pretend to enjoy, or trying your best to walk over the verbal landmine that is politics at family gatherings, everyone has a tradition that seems to be forever embedded in every holiday gathering.

My favorite Christmas memory was the time that a new tradition was born. It was the time that my parents bought me a Nintendo 64.

It was Christmas 1996 and all of us were beginning to arrive at my grandparents house. They use to live in Ventura, California, right on the side of a mountain that overlooked the water. Now as a kid that grew up in California, this never meant much to me. We lived so close to the water, and most of the houses in Ventura were backed up into the sides of mountains. The picturesque views were lost on me and I wouldn’t notice until I returned some seven years later.

I was close to most of my immediate family, but some were “holiday relatives”. I would see my cousins, aunts, and uncles maybe 2 or 3 times a year, depending upon the holiday or circumstance.

Every year it was the same thing; we would meet up around the same time, hug each other, say the usual greetings (ie. It’s been forever! Look how big you are! Merry Christmas!), there would be a couple seconds of conversation delay, then everyone would break off into their respective groups.

The mothers would go to the dining room for the same ritual of, “How can I help?”

“Oh no, everything is done now.”

“Let me do something.”

“No. Sit down, I insist.”

“You have been on your feet all morning! You sit down.”

…so on and so forth…you have seen movies or have had similar experiences.

I would make my way to the back yard where my cousins would try and play either Baseball, which we barely had enough room for two bases, or football, which would result in a mad search for a football only to realize that we forget to bring one every year.

This Christmas however, after attempting a game of softball football, we were allowed to open one gift before breakfast.

We all huddled under the tree and analyzed our targets. This was not only the first gift, this was the present that would define the day. My cousins would attack the biggest one without thought. I guess they wanted the biggest gift because it was the best.

Not me.

I went for the one the made sense, weight wise, in respect to the size. Boxes from J.C. Pennies usually look big, but will have disastrous results for a kid.

My tactic proved to be the right one since everyone got either cloths or an action figure….and I got a Nintendo 64!

I was the embodiment of the child from the N64 commercial. So excited for all the games that I would play, and I was loving the dirty looks from my now well dressed cousins.

The breakfast made by the over worked and tired hands of my grandmother went completely unnoticed by myself and my cousins. We sped through our food as fast as we could, choking a few times, in the hopes to get to my prize.

After sitting at the table, waiting for everyone to finish their breakfast (a time that felt like days), we had to go back to the tree in order to open the rest of the gifts.

I had the N64 on my lap, much like a lion protecting his kill. Family members began spreading the presents around and I was just fixed on my system. It was later that I realized a terrible truth….what is this system without a game?

I slowly realized my predicament. I had a system that can not function. I grab the few gifts around me and opened them in the hopes that my parents thought ahead. Cloths….action figure….comic book…where is the game?

The last of the presents were opened and there wasn’t a game in site. Fear creeped in that I would stare at this system for some time, and all it could do is stare right back. The chest holding The Holy Grail, and yet I have no key.

All was lost, until my brother opened his last gift. Inside was Mario Kart 64, and he was excited at the prospect of him getting a Nintendo 64 as well. I honestly helped him look around the tree because it never dawned on me that my parents would make me share my precious.


I’m aware that I was a terrible child. I have gotten better and I have seen through my awful ways. I know when I have a child that karma will not be good to me. 

My mom had to tell me that they got us the system and the game so that we could play together. My dad went to the car and gave us the extra controller that I can only assume was hastily bought.

Reluctantly, and without seeing another option, I agreed to let my brother use my system to play the game.

All of the drama and anxiety went away as we started up the game. We raced for the rest of the day. We chose our favorite driver, had a favorite course, and even learned some new words when my dad decided that he wanted to try it out.

It created a new Christmas tradition. I’m in my late 20s, I’m married, my brother is married and recently had his first baby, our family moved around and the Christmas breakfast got a little smaller, but we still play Mario Kart every year in between cooking and cleaning.

So there you go. This is my favorite gaming memory. I want to thank Kim at Later Levels for posing the question and letting me walk down memory lane. If you have a story to tell, then post it to your site and link it to Later Levels


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