What was your first video game memory? Was someone else a part of that memory? Was there a specific game? For Michael, my partner, it was playing Link’s Awakening with his mother on their Game Boy.
They weren’t a well-off family growing up in a remote part of Colorado, so the Game Boy was a luxury item for them. Eventually, games like Pokemon Blue and Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters would become favorite games, but nothing compared to the two of them teaming up to tackle the mysteries of Koholint Island.
He remembers trading off with Jeanie, his mom, which helped keep either from being frustrated by some of the more difficult puzzles and fights.
One particular memory was of the Angler Tunnel. While they were able to make their way through most of the dungeon, they did hit a snag with a puzzle they simply could not figure out. Having found the key item, they were able to move forward in the game, getting all the way through every other dungeon up through Turtle Rock. Finally, one day while Michael was at school, his mother managed to figure out the solution! Having solved the problem, she was excited to finally awaken the Wind Fish and complete the game. When Michael arrived home from school, she told him of her discovery, but would only reveal the solution after he finished his homework for the night.
That was the start of Michael’s journey into video games and remains one of his favorite memories of growing up.
Jeanie Riley passed away this year at the age of 50. She had been helping her husband, Wayne Riley, through his fight with cancer until his passing in January. It took a toll on her; in a few short months, she left us to be with her husband once more.
While we were at their home in Colorado we found the original Game Boy that Michael and Jeanie played on together. It was definitely the original, still carved with Michael’s initials in the front. Sadly, we weren’t able to locate Link’s Awakening, but all aforementioned games were still there. It was a bittersweet find to be certain.
A lot of people have differing, and often valid opinions on Mother’s Day as a “thing.” However you feel, it is important to remember those you love. It doesn’t have to be today with everyone else, or even just your mother. A gesture of love now and again is always appreciated. If it’s just an unprompted phone call or spending some time together, it can help build a beautiful bond like Mike and Jeanie’s.
I asked Michael if he wanted to say anything to you, the readers, in this article.
“Mom’s are cool,” he said. “Take care of yours.”