Oak Lawn, IL, 1989. I had just turned four. The golden year.
One fateful evening, my parents took me to my beloved Aunt Carol’s house for a routine pizza dinner and some idle chit-chat between the family. After I delicately scraped off the melted block of cheese from my pizza and scarfed down the sauce saturated crust, I politely asked my Aunt for an ice cream sandwich as my dessert. My splattered in sauce self didn’t miss a beat as I flashed her the Bambi eyes, and she caved. As usual.
As we went downstairs, my four year old mind racing with the thoughts of ice cream sandwiches (Maybe she’d let me have TWO! ), I noticed something different. Hrm. There was a boxy thing in the corner, on my Aunt’s desk. What is that thing? Looks like a TV! Sweet!
“Can we watch cartoons?” I tugged on my Aunt’s shirt and pointed to the monitor. She smirked and told me, “That isn’t a television, sweetheart. It’s a computer. We can play games on it.”
Something snapped in my four year old brain at that precise moment. It as probably something important, which explains my current on-going psychosis in the present time, but back then, it was pure excitement. Games? I like games. I like winning. Games! Winning! I can win all the games?!?!?
My Aunt Carol sat me down, and we played King’s Quest 3. You should have seen how excited I would get just by getting 1 out of 250 points in the game. That game was my introduction to PC gaming, and from there, I developed a deep love for it. My aunt bought me many computer games for my birthday, and even supplied my very first computer. As I got older, I wanted more and more games that were age appropriate. Sorry EA Kids, but I really shouldn’t be playing Eagle Eye Mysteries at age 12.
The only problem was that my parents didn’t make a lot of money. So I couldn’t afford computer games. I had to save up for years to buy King’s Quest 7, which was 50 dollars when it came out. 50 dollars! Only to buy it on GOG.com years later at a significantly lower price. *PLUG*
Being a reclusive goth teenager angsty type, I spent a lot of time in my room. My dark, dank room. With my lonely, lonely being. And in my dungeon, I would spend many hours on the internet, researching games. Because I couldn’t afford games, I would go through any means necessary to play them. This included finding games on…some less reputable sites, borrowing games from my friends, saving up money for years, whoring myself. …Okay, not the latter. But I may as well have. My parents did their best, though. Instead of buying the individual games, they bought me less expensive game collections that game out. For example, I obtained the King’s Quest, Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry games all on a few CDs.
No matter how I came to playing the games, I was a complete info junkie, and needed to know everything about them. So I’ve played, and know more about computer games than your average person, but I don’t have any tangible boxes to show for it. My digital collection is insane, but deep down, I long for boxes. So. Many. Boxes.
I started collecting rare PC game boxes just a few years ago, because I really didn’t have any. I adore them. The Neverhood box is maybe one of my most coveted, since it’s a more rare game.
So if you see me squeeing over a boxed game, even if it’s considered a mediocre boxed game, it’s because I could never afford to collect. When somebody gives me a PC game as a gift, I nearly flip a shit; it’s like Christmas all over again, sans weird drunk uncle!
Maybe someday, when I am rich from…doing…something that will ultimately make me rich, I’ll buy all of the boxes for my digital games. And then…I can take over the world! Or at least build a fort with my boxes. A sweet, sweet fort. A dark, dank fort. For my gothy, angsty being.