Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ben's Gaming Memories - June 19th and Custom Robo

June 19th. I can't believe another year has gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Rasher was giving me a birthday cake; which I then screen capped for use in my then upcoming review. A lot has happened to me over the past year, and it feels like my life is almost completely different from what it was. Still, I can't help but dream about the "good old days" from time to time, especially now.

In my last gaming memories article I told you guys the story of how I got my PSP as sort of a tribute to the PSP's life. A lot of memories were made that day, but it isn't the only birthday I have such fond memories of. So, for today, I'd like to go back to yet another birthday of mine, but this time to one that directly contributed to the creation of Netto's Game Room.

When I was 12 years old something happened I had waited almost my whole life for; my parents let me subscribe to Nintendo Power. Now as strange as it may sound, it was something I had really wanted to be a part of. Maybe it was because I had a friend at school who received them, or because I saw the kids in the Nintendo Power advertisements, but either way it was just something I really wanted. I wanted to be one of the kids who got inside Nintendo news before anyone else, I wanted to find out gaming secrets, and above all, I just wanted to be more involved with Nintendo. They were my favorite game company (although I did have a PlayStation), and when my parents finally said they'd order me Nintendo Power, I... Was excited, to say the least. I still remember getting my first issue, which was Pokemon Coliseum, and I still remember sitting there reading it for hours. I never liked reading in school, but I loved that magazine so much.

About a month or so later, the school year was coming to an end (7th grade), and the Nintendo Power issue about Custom Robo came out. The moment I saw it I liked the characters, and when I saw it was about robots (which I love), it instantly became one of them games I had to have. It's just, I wasn't sure how I would get it.

The very next day I went to school, and my friend who also had Nintendo Power began to talk to me about it. I don't know how he learned so much about the game at the time, but he went on to explain to me just about everything about the series. How it was on the N64, how a 2D GBA game had come out in Japan, and so on. He made me interested in the game even more, but once again I wasn't sure how I would go about getting it. My parents only bought me a game every so often (mostly during special days or holidays), and I guess a part of me wasn't sure if they would even approve of the game. It was T rated, and although they let me play games like 007 when I was even younger, a part of me just figured it wouldn't be a game I'd be getting. Then, school let out.

After school was over the summer began, and another friend of mine (Ryan, the one who went with me to buy the PSP) got the game, and he began telling me about it. By that time I had given up on getting Custom Robo, but the way he talked about it just sort of re-flipped a switch. Once again I became excited for it, and when he finally brought it over to my house to play, I was hooked. The game was even better than I imagined. He let me start a new save file on my own memory card, and after playing the story for an hour or two, I had a hard time stopping when his mom came to pick him up. I decided then that it would be the game I'd ask for in a week when I turned 13. Although, it didn't quite happen like that.

Instead of waiting a week for my birthday, I somehow convinced my parents to buy me the game as an early present. We went to Walmart, I picked it out, and when I got home I played the heck out of it. I continued where I left off, and after a day or so I actually beat the main story. Although, I still wasn't done with it. The game was loaded with extras, and I was determined to do everything; a goal which would end up taking all summer for me to complete with my friend.

For my birthday party, Custom Robo once again took center stage. At the time my uncle worked for another bakery, and he was able to make me a Custom Robo cake. Sure the image quality on the cake was rather poor, but I didn't care. It was a cake with Ray 01 on top, and I loved it; even if no one else knew what it was. As for the party itself, I decided to have a small one that year. Rather than inviting most of my friends and family over for a pool party, I decided to invite one friend and my two cousins over instead so we could play games, eat pizza, and watch movies. Sure we ended up playing Custom Robo's versus mode more than anything, but it was a lot of fun. On top of that my friend bought me some pet hermit crabs, and my cousins bought me some collectible Mega Man figures (which I still have hanging up unopened) so it was a pretty great party all in all. Still, that was only the beginning.

Now that I was 13, I was finally old enough to sign up for Nintendo's official Nsider forums myself. I chose the name "ROBOCOMANDER2," and jumped right in. It was the second official forum I had ever signed up for (the first being Sonic Team's Chao BBS), and I was excited to finally be a full member of Nintendo's community. I had the "I subscribe to Nintendo Power" tag on my profile, the forums had a special Custom Robo theme for me to use, and it had a post rank up system which I just flat out loved. (Yes, the very same one we use here at NGR.) This is where I first really branched out online, and it is where I got my start as a game reviewer as well. Back then I started writing reviews just so I had a chance at gaining "Sage" status, but the more I wrote, the more I realized I liked it. Sadly everything I wrote back then is long gone, but a part of me feels like it is a good thing. I have changed a lot since I first started writing, and I know seeing some of my older work would make me cry, but now I can only imagine just how bad it really was. Even so, if it wasn't for Nsider, I may have never started writing reviews at all. Sure I had Cyber Net where I wrote about Mega Man games, and I had TCH for Sonic, but they were quite a bit different. I never actually thought of reviewing games for them. They were information sites with the RPG forums taking center stage.

Really, its funny how just one small event can cause a massive chain of events to follow. I'm pretty sure I would have joined Nsider with our without Custom Robo, but I know it wouldn't have happened in the way it did. On top of that I also made my first online friend thanks to the game, and that's something that couldn't have happened any other way. I guess I should also thank Sonic Team for abandoning their forums and giving it to the trolls as well. If the Chao BBS hadn't become a full on spam site, I'm pretty sure discussing Custom Robo there would have gotten me banned, and then we would have never met.

Overall, Custom Robo is still a game I love, and I will never forget any of the events it created in my life. It may sound stupid to say, but I actually owe that game a lot.

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