In, I guess 1983, a wave of small handheld computer games called Nintendo Game & Watch were unleashed upon us wee brats. Mesmerising little things, that would fit into your pocket (more like stuff it), and your could take it anywhere and play it anywhere – at least until you’d annoy the crap out of any adult around you as the game sound could not be controlled.
All my mates got one. Yet I didn’t. But I desperately wanted one. Most of all the green one. Donkey Kong Jr. It was the coolest. My best friend had one, he also had the luxurious multi screen Donkey Kong.
Back then (and still today) I didn’t get numbers. Mathematics were more like mathemystics to me. I frequently failed math tests at school (not that I was an honour student in any of the other subjects). As an incentive my parents told me if I did well on my first term finals in maths there there would be a Donkey Kong Jr. under the Christmas Tree with my name on it. At least that is how I interpreted that.
I worked harder (read, struggled even more). And I did improve my maths grade substantially although, even though my life depended on it, I cannot relate to numbers at all.
Come Christmas morning, and the obligatory feeling up the presents before you’re allowed to open. There is a present, with my name on it, in the exact shape and size as the Donkey Kong Jr. The rewards for my hard work was there in a 15x9cm package. I envisioned endless hours in my own cosmos, safely guiding that little monkey through the perilous world of crocodiles and high voltage fences, on a quest for the key to extra life and endless bonus rounds.
After hours of torment, it’s unwrapping hour. I don’t think I have ever been more excited in my life, the suspense and anticipation. Electrifying. The attached card reads something like: we know you worked really hard to get better at maths so we wanted to get you something to inspire you to work even harder. Card flies under the tree, it’s time to get that monkey under control. Ferocious unwrapping reveals a Sharp logo – and as the outer edges of the universe close in on me I’m looking at a fucking calculator. A fucking calculator.
This injustice has stood for 30 years to the day. Enter the most awesome Christmas present in the universe. My brother in law got me, ta-dah: Nintendo Donkey Kong II. I may have taken 30 years, but I finally gained some street cred.
Cheers Neil, you rawk!