Growing up, having a new-ish video game console was a luxury. Of course, a gaming hobby in and of itself is a luxury, but as a child, I only had a vague concept of relative wealth. It took me quite some time to realize how much of a financial strain it must have been on my parents to get me a Nintendo 64 even two years after it was released. I’ve come a long way, though, and today I can now recognize the day-to-day dread of not having enough money to get by.
While I may only have had a vague idea of my family’s financial hardships, I did have something that likely helped my parents out: a passive aggressive way of learning to trash the things I couldn’t have. PlayStation? I wouldn’t even have liked any of the games on that thing! They’re all dark and clunky and too violent!
But while consoles were a luxury, at least you could pick one and be relatively secure in your decision – especially back in the day, each console’s quality tended to be pretty solid. The more dangerous luxuries were the games themselves. In a time when game reviews were mostly relegated to magazines you had to pay subscription fees for, and were therefore another luxury, and what little was on the internet of the time was still only accessible by those with a computer and an internet connection, it was all too easy to buy a game and find out that it just wasn’t very good.
Of course one thing I did have growing up was a nearby video rental store. They carried video games, so I was able to play a bunch of stuff without my parents having to run that particular gamble. If it was bad, then I only had to endure it for a few days. While trying before buying isn’t impossible these days, it certainly is something that seems to have gone by the wayside. But I suppose the trade-off is having highly accessible reviews and opinions all over the internet. Of course, sifting through the fan rants and sour grapes is another story…
I really am grateful for the sacrifices my parents made to provide me such a luxury in a time when we were pushing electric bills as far as we could without getting it shut off. (Wouldn’t that have been ironic?) Of course, everything I got was used, but in retrospect I really didn’t care about that. Although when I look at what games with boxes and manuals sell for online, I do wish we had been a little more affluent.
-All images sourced from Wikipedia.org