Last week, I rescued my old Super Nintendo from my parents' closet.
Technically, it belongs to me and my sister, but she's off learning how to save lives and go into debt in New Orleans, so I think her schedule is full.
Playing these old games has been a blast, and not just because they're awesome.
I was never a huge video gamer. I owned an N64, but only own 6 games for the system. In college I played pirated copies of Knights of the Old Republic and Counterstrike. I even tried World of Warcraft. Nothing really stuck. I never stopped playing Magic, but video games never called out to me the same way the cardboard did and does.
But Super Nintendo, they were doing things right. I put in Donkey Kong Country 2 (compressed air cleans these cartridges out so much better than lung power) and I am in awe of how great the game is. More than that, I am still impressed with the quality of the graphics and the music, and the timeless quality of the game. I remember everything- it's the ultimate sense memory. I am transported to my parents basement, the same place that has become my dad's office/Frankenstein guitar center, sitting in Ikea chairs playing this game with my friends for way too long. It's the same way I feel when I open a pack of Magic cards- the smell takes me back to opening starter decks in the car.
Today I found out Tony Sly of No Use For A Name died. I was never a huge fan of NUFAN, but I enjoyed the music when it came on and they are contemporaries of the bands that got me into punk. Hearing this news, it made me realize that same part of my past that I visit whenever I slide the power switch on the gray box, is gone. I felt the same way I did when Gary Carter passed- I have no memories of watching him play, but he is part of my cultural history as a Mets fan.
I guess that's part of why I still play the SNES... it reminds me that the past might be gone, but it isn't dead. It's still there, in 16-bit graphics, the smell of cards, the music, the memories. It can never really go away, but then again, it is never quite here.