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Friday, March 3, 2017

Retro reflections: On my history with Nintendo handheld consoles

Retro reflections by Matt S.

With the latest Nintendo handheld, the Nintendo Switch, now on the market (yes, I know it streams to home televisions too, but it’s totally a handheld), I thought for this week’s retro reflections I’d take a bit of a personal look back at my history with Nintendo handhelds.

Unlike home consoles, where I only got started late into the SNES’ lifespan, I’ve owned every single main entry of Nintendo’s handheld hardware (minor stuff like Virtual Boy and Game Boy Micro aside). It all started when I was able to wear my parents down and finally convince them to get me the original Game Boy grey brick. In hindsight, given where I’ve ended up, their reluctance was probably justified, but yes, one year I opened my Christmas gifts, and there it was; the original model Game Boy, complete with three games; the pack-in Tetris, Super Mario Land, and Shanghai Mahjong (I’ve been right into my puzzle games over the years, and my parents rightfully guessed that I’d get a kick out of Mahjong too.

The console proved to be a blessing and a curse for my parents. It was a blessing because it made buying gifts for me for my birthday or Christmas, or rewards for doing well at school or chores ridiculously easy; I’d just get a new game. It also helped encourage me to learn how to save, as I would dutifully put away my pocket money each week towards buying games. I would then pour over the gaming catalogues (back before the Internet was a really big thing this was how people learned about what games were available when they weren’t prepared to spend precious pocket money on magazines), and then give my money to my father with a list of different games that he could pick up for me while at work (he worked in the city, where just about every game could be found).

Retro reflections: On my history with Nintendo handheld consoles
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