The lounge room smells like a strange mix of pudding and prawns. A thick layer of sugar-induced anticipation lingers around the room as two young girls wait for their dad to find his santa hat and signal the start of present time.
Finally the moment comes and a heavy square parcel is handed over. In a quick flash, the wrapping paper is torn apart and tossed to the side. Limbs are flying everywhere, sound-tracked by squeals so loud the neighbours probably thought someone had burnt the Chrissie snags. The clouds disappear and a beacon of light shines through the window upon their gift. The girls proudly look down on what will become the most influential game of their childhood, dare I say it, of theirlife. The box glistens with a silvery logo sporting the words Nintendo 64.
Oh Nintendo, my Nintendo. You graced our sunburnt country in the late nineties and I was too young to fully comprehend your beauty and magnificence until years later. You were just a simple gaming console, black with hideous silver and red controllers, but you had character. You challenged us with your questionable three-pronged controller but we made it work regardless. You housed some of the most loved games of our time, from Super Mario and Zelda to Banjo Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing, with reckless disregard for any of this hi-def-virtual-reality-transcending-space-and-time nonsense.
For that you will always be remembered.
You taught us about teamwork and encouragement as we worked together to defeat hard levels. Although there was no greater satisfaction than using Boo to steal coins in Mario Party or watching another player sink as the water rose in that infamous Bomberman pyramid level, we still laughed at the end of the day. You brought colour and joy into the lives of children who previously underestimated what the average princess/toadstool/gorilla/Italian man/dinosaur could do.
We also suffered for you.
We spent too many hours fighting over who got to play as Yoshi. The angst of travelling around the board in Mario Party only to have some little punk switch Toad to Bowser; it still hurts to think about. We have nightmares about driving over banana peels and rampantly flying off the track. And don’t even get me started on those games that involved rapidly moving the control stick in circles until our palms were raw and burning.
But we’re not the real victims here.
My heart aches for those poor Gen Z-er’s who will never experience the satisfaction of a game only working after you’ve blown into it multiple times. Like the great ancestors before us, we had to work hard for our bread and butter. There’s something so humble and beautiful about thick cartridges over those pathetic streamline things called “compact discs.” And something equally beautiful in the way Mr. Nintendo crafted those bricks with complete lack of thought into how difficult the production would be, ultimately leading to no developer support. It doesn’t matter. We loved you anyway, flaws and all.
On this day, 20 years after your Australian arrival, I’m still so thankful I can squeeze the occasional Pokemon Snap game out before you randomly freeze and shut down. There’s no doubting your time is almost up but we’ve come to terms with it. All good things must come to an end, right? And when you finally rise to technicolour heaven, I’ll continue to treasure memories of you through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Nintendo soundtrack-inspired PC music. It’s the least I can do.
Debbie would like to credit all her past and future successes in life to cheap wine and good albums. She has an overpriced journalism degree which she uses to mainly write about music but also everyday life and general smut. You can send her your favourite bands and brunch spots here @debbieecarr.