October Reader Mail: ’90s Nostalgia

One of the nicer things about not paying to promote my blog is that I have been able to slowly grow and maintain a more personal and intimate group of readers over time. On the flip side, I’ll see articles about certain bloggers and YouTube content creators making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars doing what they do, and I’ll think to myself, “I need to do that!”

Whether that’s a healthy thought or not, I received this email earlier this month that not only made me smile, but gave me some assurance that I’m not wasting my time:

Hey Mike!

I was listening to the latest IGN Game Scoop! podcast today, and they were celebrating their 18th anniversary, as well as the Nintendo 64’s release day too (September 29, 1996). It really reminded me of your blog postings.

I have never really been a big Nintendo fan, but listening to the show gave me a deeper appreciation for Nintendo.

18 years ago, I was competing in local Doom LAN contests on PC and playing console games on the original PlayStation. Since I didn’t have an N64, I basically missed out on Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time & Majora’s Mask, Super Smash Bros, GoldenEye 007, and many others.

I think the only games I played extensively were (a) Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, which was one of my friend’s favorite games at the time, and (b) Conker’s Bad Fur Day, which another friend of mine did speedruns on. For some reason, when Conker would curse or torture the other animals, it would crack her up to no end.

And now that I think about all of that, it’s very strange to me. The N64 almost feels like it never existed in my world. I played a bunch of Super Nintendo (in particular, Street Fighter II), the GameCube (Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, etc.), and the Wii, but other than the funky-looking controllers, I can barely recall what the actual console looked like.

Maybe it was because the N64 was slotted between my PS1 and PS2 purchases, or the fact that I was more active back then. Who knows, but I do know that I like your blog a lot. It makes me feel nostalgic for the days of going to Electronics Boutique, Kay Bee Toys, etc., when I would just eyeball all of the clamshell cases on display. Just really super carefree times. Keep up the awesome work!


Thanks so much for that, Brian! I’m really happy to hear that you enjoy the blog. I totally hear what you’re saying on missing out on consoles almost entirely. I wrote early on about never owning an NES, and even though I played a lot of games on it back in the day, it wasn’t the same as having it in our home, playing it whenever I wanted, and spending the time to truly master its games.

I do have to take a step back and be thankful, though, that I have been fortunate enough over the years to have either bought or been gifted most consoles and gaming platforms. While systems like the 3DO and Neo Geo were cost-prohibitive at the time, I owned many of the other major systems for each generation. I even had a Neo Geo Pocket Color at one point, albeit rather briefly.

Much of what you said about the N64 mirrors what I’m going through right now. We’re 1-2 years into the current generation of consoles, and the only one I own outside of handhelds and PC is a Wii U. I’ve historically been an early adopter, but dropping what would be close to a grand or more on two more consoles and a small handful of games isn’t something I’m ready to do yet, even though I really do want to play games like Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, and Infamous: Second Son.

By the same token, it’s also alarming how behind I am when it comes to games. There’s no conceivable way I could ever play all the titles I want to in my lifetime, many of which are still waiting for me from the 8-bit and 16-bit generations. My personality is such that it’s difficult to just say “Oh well, forget it!” and move on. Easier said than done. So, I try to make it about the quality of my gaming time vs. quantity. While I might not be able to play everything out there, I want to play the best of everything out there. Again, easier said than done, right?

I also like what you had to say about checking things out in retail stores. As much as I love the convenience of ordering things online, I do miss that unmistakable feeling of walking into a store, heading into the game aisle, and looking at all of the game boxes. The Sega Master System sections were so small!

I can close my eyes and still remember precisely where the games were at the Toys R Us in Huntington Beach, CA. You had to take the slip of paper for the game you wanted, pay for it at the register, and then head over to their big, locked cage at the front where they would fetch it for you. I always liked that slightly delayed sense of gratification, and I’d always worry that they wouldn’t be able to find the game in question. I guess it was the modern equivalent of an online order not arriving on your doorstep when it’s supposed to.

Anyway, thanks again for the kind comments, and for giving me another chance to walk down memory lane. As I begin my fifth decade of existence, I can’t wait to see what the future holds, as well as acquainting myself with the many classics that I missed.


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