I don’t know if everyone is like this, but the first moments I turn on a brand new console after I finish hooking it up is always a wonderful experience. Sure, it might just be dealing with the settings, but it’s the thoughts of all the new and exciting games I’m going to play and adventures I’ll get to go on. This was no doubt the case with the Wii when it released, what with the then-novel motion controls. I say “this was” because there was one small problem with my acquisition of a Wii.
I wasn’t actually there when I got my Wii, and I wasn’t the first one to get to play it.
When I was growing up, I would visit my dad at his house on the weekend while my mom would have me for the actual school week. Dad would come and pick me up Friday afternoon and I’d stay with him and my stepmom until Sunday evening where he’d drop me off. This happened for practically my entire childhood, and I have a lot of memories at both parents’ homes for a variety of different things. In the instance of this particular case, it was a Saturday and the Wii had only just recently come out. I remember hearing all those stories of how they were flying off the shelves, some of which were quite scary. Typically, I would only get new consoles during Christmas, so I knew I still had a bit of a wait for me until I hopefully got one, but I wasn’t terribly hopeful for one.
My memory is a bit hazy with this one, but knowing me I was likely playing a game I rented while my dad was working on whatever construction project he had for the house at the time. I heard the phone ring and paid no mind to it until I heard the phone say my mother’s name. It was unusual for her to call in the middle of the weekend, so I answered it. She seemed unusually giddy, and she told me she had gotten me a present. I was both very confused and very excited at this point, and I heard some noise going on in the background on her end. I recognized those voices as my two high school best friends. By this point, my curiosity couldn’t handle it and I asked, “What the heck did you get me!?”
I heard one of my friends yell in the background, “Zack, your mom got you a Wii!”
I was ecstatic. At this time, this was the last thing I expected for a variety of reasons. Never mind that it was unlikely she could find one in any store due to the high demand, but she also had some financial troubles at the time. Not to mention my mother wasn’t the kind of parent to just buy things like this unless it was Christmas, and you can see why this blindsided me. But after a few seconds I had a realization: All of my friends are at my house playing my new Wii and I’m stuck here at my dad’s house and I probably won’t get to go home until tomorrow! Being the younger teenager that I was, I had no sense of patience at that age either. I thought to myself that maybe I could wait just a day. Surely she didn’t also get me a game as well, right?
“Oh yes, I forgot to mention! I also bought you Twilight Princess to go with it!”
This was an immediate code red in my mind. I had to get home right that second! She bought me the newest Zelda title that I’d only seen previews of in magazines as well?! I immediately stopped what I was doing and ran through the house frantically searching for my dad. There was no time to waste! I was missing out on both my new Wii and the newest Zelda game! I found him downstairs and I couldn’t hold back.
“Dad, listen! I need to go back home to mom’s right now!” He was naturally confused as usually I never asked him of this, and he asked why. “Mom bought me a brand new Wii and Twilight Princess and my friends are there and I’m not there to play it and I wanna play it so badly!”
He seemed, rightfully so, a bit upset that I was interrupting his work so that he could take me home so I could play a new video game, but he gave in to my whining and went to get ready. I was still a bit upset at not getting to play it first, but thankfully this mood subsided once I got into my house and began to play Wii Sports with my friends.
Thinking back on it now, this is a bit of an embarrassing memory what with how spoiled I was. That’s how I was feeling when I was remembering it, but as I was writing it, it reminded me not only of the simpler times but of times when I was really happy and times spent with good friends. As an adult, these sorts of things are lost on me now and it’s really easy to become cynical, or for new material objects to no longer hold any value. Even though this is a very simple memory about me being a bit spoiled and not being as grateful as I should be to my parents for what they did, it’s nice to remember the times when you could just smile and be in good company. Putting it into perspective like that, the embarrassment is a small price to pay for a memory of smiles.