My First Launch System

May 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm (video games)

I was listening to this week’s RebelFM podcast [which reminds me – I need to do a post about podcasts] wherein they  discussed their first launch system; the first video game console they purchased day and date it was released. Surprisingly, the first launch system purchased by a few of them was the Nintendo Wii. For another guest it was the Sega Dreamcast. This got me thinking about my first launch system.

It was a cold Sunday morning on September 29, 1996 (I actually have no idea what the temperature was like at the time. “Cold Sunday morning” just seemed to fit.). Goodness, I was what, fourteen at the time? It seems like I was much younger when I recall it from memory. I got my father to drive me down to the local Toys ‘R’ Us before it opened. My father waited in the car while I promptly waited in line with about a dozen other people. One of those in line just so happened to be a friend of mine. He was a couple people ahead of me and were both surprised to see each other. We both waited excitedly for those glass doors to slide open.

Mario 64 Face

The hours of entertainment I derived from deforming his face...

At this point things gets a little fuzzy. I can’t remember if they passed out tickets or if we made a mad dash for the video game aisle. Either way, we both got our consoles and games. He picked up Mario 64 and Pilot Wings while I got just Mario 64. We gave him a ride home since I don’t think he had a ride home. I have no idea how he got there or how he was planning on getting home. I want to say I went over to his house to play video games after but I can’t say for sure if we did that.

Y’know, thinking back on it, how the heck did I get the money for something in September? I mean, the console itself was $199.99 and I don’t even know what the game cost. Games back then were ridiculously expensive because they came on cartridges, as opposed to today’s DVDs and Blu-ray discs. I must’ve begged for Christmas money early as well as money from my grandparents in Japan.

I’m not even sure how I got the money to pay for a Sega Saturn, a machine that cost $400 back in 1995. That’s gotta be like a bajillion dollars today. And I don’t think I even picked it up for Christmas. I sure was spoiled as a kid.

I don’t know how many times I watched the above promo before I got my system. It got me super hyped for the Sega Saturn. Good graphics!

Sega Saturn… I still have the console but only a couple of the games still work. The little battery inside that allowed for games to be saved has long since been dead. Man, I really wish I hadn’t sold off so many of my Saturn games. I had super rare games like Panzer Dragoon Saga, a game that launched with only 6,000 copies in its initial release (another 24,000 copies would be pressed later).

Panzer Dragoon Saga1

Yeah, it doesn't look like much by today's standards but it was an amazing game back then

Another thing I regret getting rid of is my NES and SNES. I had gotten to a point in life where I thought I was over video games. They no longer caught my attention and I felt I wasn’t going to continue purchasing any more. At that point the NES and SNES were long past their prime so they were just sitting in a closet collecting dust. I think I may have even donated the Famicom, Japan’s version of the NES, at this time as well. Yes, that’s right, I Goodwilled them.

Now I’ve thoroughly depressed myself. Good going.


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