“Guess what I just found in the back of the basement! Your Nintendo.” my mom said to me yesterday.

“I want it!”

I was 9 years old in 1985, the year a small arcade game company launched the entertainment system aimed at bringing the arcade experience into the home. I had heard that my friend down the street, Jason, got one and I was insanely jealous. I remember specifically that he had Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt, and we played endlessly. Actually I shouldn’t say that “we” played, he played and most of us watched, is pretty much how it went. All of the neighborhood kids would be over there, so expecting to get any time actually playing was a pipe dream. And when I did get on it, I hadn’t played anything before, so a quick death always meant you were done for at least 2 hours. “Your turn is up.” Childhood can be a cruel bitch.

It was all that I asked for at christmas time. I knew I had a fair shot at it, and I remember wanting it more than anything. When I opened it, I was ecstatic, and there’s a picture floating around to go along with the memory. I loved it and I played it endlessly. I have really great memories of playing with my family and in different places. It was an amazing day when I figured out how to hook it up to a small portable black and white tv (5" screen) so I was no longer beholden to the screen time of others in order to play.

So it was exciting when I went to the Toy Box in Clarkston and they walked me through how to refurbish it. They said with the proper parts there would be no more blowing on the games, no more pushing them to the left, they’ll work better than they ever have. And they seem to be right. It’s pretty amazing to be playing Tyson’s Punch Out again, bringing back old memories.

I swept through the first two title bouts without a loss but the second Piston Honda took me down. That game is incredibly insensitive, both culturally and racially. But it’s still fun.