Vooks’ Christmas Nintendo Memories

Holiday gaming has to start somewhere

This day each year, children all around the world wake up and find that Santa has delivered to them, their very first video game console. It is a special moment, because not only did you most likely get the thing you were after, but it is your first entry into a whole new world. Taking a moment from our own busy holiday plans, some of the Vooks staff, have decided to share, their own holiday memories, where we can recall getting our very first gaming console.

As a kid, I certainly got a few different consoles for Christmas. The majority being older second-hand sega systems. Not that it really mattered to me and my brothers. We enjoyed all video games, even if we were, and still are, Nintendo Fanboys. I’m pretty sure my older brother got a brand-spankin’ new NES one year but I don’t really remember if that was from the jolly fat man or not. And you know who I mean when I say jolly fat man. That’s right, my Dad.

It wasn’t until 1997 that I was personally on the receiving end of a shiny new machine for the pagan celebration and worship of trees and food. The big day was approaching and we were having a discussion with our mother about presents and what we might like this year. She told us, “Well you’re going to have to choose between a PlayStation and a Nintendo 64.” We were all like “NINTENDO SIXTY FOOOOOOOOUR!”

Christmas day arrived and we unwrapped out N64 bundle — the one with the extra clear purple controller. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford a game to go with it, but we didn’t mind too much having to wait until the video store opened the next day to hire one. After all, we had a feast to get to.

Still, we wanted to play a game that morning and later that night. Suddenly we had a quick memory flash! The local deli, handily positioned at the end of our street, hired out N64 games! Could they… Would they possibly be open on this holiday? A day when even chicken treat closed at midday? It was an old guy who owned the deli. We didn’t really talk to him much, after all, he was an old guy. To us, he was just the provider of sugary treats and one dollar bottles of Schweppes cola.

I can’t remember if all three of us walked down there or if it was just me and my younger brother, but to our absolute joy, Belgrade Road Delicatessen was open for business! We looked at the array of games available for hire. Yoshi’s Story it was! The old guy wrote our name down in his little book and he told us he plays games too. I don’t think we questioned him on this but it was a bit o a surprise to hear.

We got back home and set up the N64. We plugged the RF cable, which my parents had to purchase so we could hook it up to our old TV, into the antenna socket on the back. I was pretty excited. I’d played Yoshi’s Story before at Kmart on the N64 kiosk, but this was going to be on our very own N64!

Throughout the time we spent living nearby that deli we hired many games and talked about Ocarina of Time with the old timer who owned the place. He would make sure we weren’t going in blind the first time we played, guiding us to the fact that we had to find the sword before we could leave our forresty dwelling. He would tell us about how he finally got the boomerang and eventually how he beat Ganon. We dubbed this man “The Deli-llama”. I like to think to this day he works Christmas miracle by providing children with the ability to hire out video games on public holidays.



The Nintendo 64, we got one of those “dual controller packs” with the clear purple controller. Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazoie and I think Automobili Lamborghini as well. Setting it up then was a bit weird, the first thing we’d ever plugged in really and I remember hearing the Banjo title screen playing before seeing it as we plugged in the RCA cables. It was like, I can hear it, I can hear it! I don’t remember much after that, the N64 was just a rush for me.


I’d always had Nintendo consoles in my house, for as long as I can remember. I played Donkey Kong Country 2 with my mum and sister for hours on end every single weekend. But it was a family console, it was for everybody, and my parents wanted to get me something of my own. Enter Christmas 2002.
As I sat down to open my presents with the family, I was presented with two gifts. Two small boxes and a fairly large one. In years past, I always saved the big presents for last, knowing they’d be the biggest and the most exciting. So naturally, I went to open the small ones first. “No, you can’t, you have to open the big one first,” my mum said. I was annoyed, angry that I couldn’t leave the best for last. I may have even cried — I was only 7 after all. But after much huffing and puffing, I agreed to open the large present first.
And to my joy, it was a Game Boy Advance. The original, non-lit screen, ugly transparent plastic GBA. And I was overjoyed. After years of playing Nintendo games with my family, I could finally play them on my own, whenever I wanted.
I opened up the two smaller boxes to find two games — it suddenly made sense why I had to open the big one first. The first was Tweety and the Magic Gems, a strange Mario Party-like game featuring all the Looney Tunes characters you know and love. The second was Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, a terrible 2D collectathon platformer based on a film I very much liked at the time. Neither were particularly great games, but I poured hours upon hours into each one; it was rare to see me without my GBA. I still have that console, and the games, sitting on my bedside table. I’ve had bigger and better Christmases since then, but none have ever brought the feeling of freedom like that Christmas in 2002. I hope that in 15 years time, the kids of today will have the same feeling when they unwrap their Nintendo Switch consoles this Christmas.
I recall the first time that I ever got a video game anything and it was Christmas, what made it memorable is on Christmas Eve, I was with my mothers side of the family and from my Aunt and Uncle I was gifted with two Game Boy games, Metroid II The Return of Samus and Ninja Gaiden Shadow, the only problem was I did not own a Game Boy.
The next morning, I work up, still a little put out about my gifts, because I was told I had to share the games with my older brother, who did have a Game Boy at the time, only to find a very large box underneath the Christmas tree, with my name and that of my brothers, I was shocked, I knew it was not a Game Boy, it was way to large, turns out it was and then some. I don’t know if anyone else ever remembers this, but that Christmas, I was given a Super Nintendo, along with Super Mario World and packed into the box, was a Game Boy and that was my very own.
Not only did I get a Super Nintendo, which I still have, but I also got my very own Game Boy, again still have, I could not decide what to do first, in the end, my Game Boy won out, my brother and sister started to play Super Mario World, but I was already trying to line up the sunlight, so I could explore the planet of SR-388, it was a great day and the first of many Christmas gifts around gaming.
Categories: General
Tags: Christmas
Luke Henderson :So, I have been gaming since controllers only had two buttons and because I wanted to, I started my own site. Now of course, you can find me writing for Vooks as well