New consoles always come packaged in boxes and dreams, promises of games to come. I can remember my first days with every console. As an adult, I’ve favored computers, so consoles have always been gifts from my parents, evidence of their love for me. I spent my 11th birthday alone in our California apartment. That day, my mother had to take her final licensing examination in order to work as a dentist in the United States, while my dad drove her to UCLA, where the exam was held, and remained there, in case she needed anything. Neither of them had a job. She was studying day and night while he occupied himself with daily chores and taking care of me. He was also a dentist but had not yet begun the licensing process. So, we were living off our savings, accumulated in Spain and Argentina. And our savings were running out.

In that context, which I was vaguely aware of at the time, receiving a Nintendo 64 seemed like an unlikely miracle. I remember how, the night before, I went to sleep fantasizing about one of those crappy handhelds that came programmed with 100 or 200 cheap games, half of them different versions of Tetris. I had seen an advertisement for it on television and secretly hoped it would be my birthday present. Why I hoped this, I scarcely know, considering I had never informed my parents. What I really wanted, of course, was a Nintendo 64. But back then, our dinners usually consisted of beans, because there was not much money to go around, and the prospects of being given an expensive console were dim. I could hold out hope, however, for a handheld with 100 versions of Tetris and 100 versions of something else, probably random racers and platformers. Imagine my shock when come morning light, my parents revealed to me a Nintendo 64. It came with Star Fox 64, a game I had admired at a local Circuit City. A month prior, walking home from school with my mom, I had explained to her in detail the internal workings of it. “Your wing mates react to your actions!” “You can roll and shoot bombs!” Apparently, my enthusiasm had made an impression on her.

N64 ad

At any rate, I sat down for breakfast, pretending to be mature about it all, holding off my unwrapping of the Nintendo 64. First, I decreed, was breakfast. Civilized gulping down of milk and cereals, frantic dipping of toasted bread, absent nodding as mom and dad discussed the day’s schedule. Yes, I was not a child. I could have patience. I would not disrupt the completion of my daily habits. I would simply complete those daily habits faster so I could get to my Nintendo 64. Which I did. My parents helped me connect the console to my television and, after hugs, kisses, and smiles, they left for UCLA. Before parting, my dad pointed out to me that, when he bought the console, he made a reservation for an upcoming release, Zelda: Ocarina of Time. “What’s that?” “I don’t know,” he said, “this guy with a sword and pointy ears. It’s probably going to be popular and you’ll probably want it. So I reserved it.” I thanked him, with some uncertainty, and there I was. A whole day to myself, with my Nintendo 64. The hours whizzed by. At some point, I probably made a trip to the kitchen, where my mom had left food for me to eat. Every now and then, I would stop playing and turn off the Nintendo 64. “I don’t want the console to get overheated. I need to be mature about it.” My breaks never lasted longer than twenty minutes. This being Star Fox 64, every session started out again from the opening level, but I was so mesmerized by the experience that I did not care. And, besides, there were multiple paths to take. There were stormy suns and tumultuous, melancholy seas. There were massive, stippled dogfights. There were ruined crafts and debris dancing in forgotten space. There were dreamlike, psychedelic wormholes. There were three-dimensional characters and voice acting. A quantum leap from my Super Nintendo. That afternoon, my parents returned and we celebrated my birthday in the traditional, familiar manner. But my mind was elsewhere, flying around the Lylat system. No first day with a console ever compared to that one.


Guido Pellegrini was born in Spain. At the age of three, he decided that Europe would not be the only continent to endure him. He traveled to Argentina and spent his childhood there, confusing his classmates with his strange Spanish accent. Several years later, just when he was getting the hang of Argentinean, he set his sights on California, where he would annoy a host of new classmates with his awkward English. In particular, his classmates were stumped on Argentina’s actual location, and estimates ranged from Europe to Asia and even Africa. Almost never, however, South America. As Guido became older, he finally began to master the English language, until he became nostalgic for emigration, of all things, and moved again, now back to Argentina, where Guido has continued to confuse and annoy his classmates and acquaintances, who now struggle with his Spanish-Argentine-American hybrid accent and word usage. At any rate, he’s technically a journalist with an English major. You know, the worst.

Leave a comment below.

Latest Posts

AMC has released the official key art for the highly anticipated eighth season of The Walking Dead, which returns Sunday, October 22 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, with its 100th episode. The art features Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group...
light fall

‘Light Fall’ Coming to Nintendo Switch

Light fall has been announced for the Nintendo Switch, having previously been announced for Windows, Mac, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Final Fantasy IX

‘Final Fantasy IX’ is an Often Overlooked Classic

It seems like Final Fantasy IX was destined to be overlooked right from the outset. The game was released for the original PlayStation after the PlayStation 2 was out and selling like warm buns, and the high fantasy setting was in stark contrast to the popular cyber-punk and more realistic settings of FFVII and VIII (two of the best selling entries in the whole series).

Sordid Cinema Podcast #531: Darren Aronofsky’s ‘mother!’

This week on the Sordid Cinema podcast we discuss Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, a thought-provoking, albeit disturbing vision that may be too unwieldy for mainstream tastes.

Game Boys, Ep. 76: Ghaul, Guardians, and Ghosts Galore!

Eyes up, Guardians, Destiny 2 is here.  Well, this is a podcast, so ears up?  Anyway, here's the Game Boys initial review of one of the biggest sequels of the year.  Listen in as they cover everything from campaign to Crucible, inventory to endgame, and, of course, the raid.  So, join us, it is your destiny!

Top 10 Games with Writer, Brent Middleton

Get to know our writers on a more personal level with their Top 10 Games lists. This time, writer Brent Middleton gushes about his faves.

‘mother!’ Doesn’t Love You; Can You Love It?

Wearing its passionate, bloody heart on its sleeve, mother! is the gift of all gifts for those who love movies: a fountain of cinematic and philosophical conversation wrapped up in skillfully bold genre filmmaking.

Demo Dive – ‘Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth’

WIth less than a month till release, let's take a look at the Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth demo currently available on the 3DS E-Shop.

‘Doom’, ‘Wolfenstein ll’, and What This Means for the Switch

What does Doom and Wolfenstein II mean for third-party support for the Nintendo Switch?