Ben's 12 Days of Christmas Memories - Day 3: The Game Boy Color

As a kid there was one game console I really wanted, but though I had no chance of getting. I had a NES thanks to my cousin, a SNES thanks to my Grandpa, got a N64 for my 6th Birthday, and then a PlayStation the Christmas after. My family was by no means rich, and although I didn't fully understand it back then, I knew how much of a struggle such gifts were. My parents always did their best though, and worked their hardest to make sure every Christmas was special for me. (Actually because of our small family we tend to still go all out for each other). Even so I didn't think the Game Boy was achievable. I had mentioned to them time and time again how I wanted to play stuff like Kirby, and when the Pokemon anime series exploded here, I wanted to get a Pokemon game as well. That's the main reason I asked for one actually, but again I didn't expect it. That's why the Christmas of 1999 shocked me so much.

Parts of this Christmas are really hazy to me actually. I remember it being the year Toy Story 2 was big as well, and I remember getting the Toy Story 2 game for N64 and having to go to my mom's work to play it (I kept my N64 there at the time). Opening the Game Boy and getting Pokemon Red also stands out to me, but nearly all of my memories are of that. I remember being pretty excited as I looked at the Game Boy Color box, and I couldn't wait to start up Pokemon Red to play it. I was worried about it though, because Pokemon Red was a normal Game Boy game, and I had a GBC. Back then the concept of backwards compatibility was foreign to me (although the GBC was technically still just a GB), so I didn't expect it to work. I kept my mouth shut though, and watched as my mom opened the box for me and handed me the game. That's when I put Pokemon in for the first time, and I was hooked. The only problem was I was a dumb kid who had trouble reading, and this was an RPG!

This is something I've brought up in the past, but everything about Pokemon was new to me. I knew the characters and what not because of the show, but actually having to READ was something I didn't expect. I hated reading at the time, and actually it's because of games like Pokemon that I finally started to become a little interested. There were a lot of words I came across that I struggled with at first, but things did get easier as I continued to play. Heck I used to think "Bubblebeam" said Bubble Leam" for whatever reason. Then there was the fact I didn't understand what the "Save" option in the menu meant (which funny enough I had other friends who experienced the same problem). All in all though I still enjoyed the game, and it was something I'd keep playing for many years to come. I can still recall sitting under lamps at night so I could see, and by windows during the day. Car rides also became easier because of my GBC, and soon I found myself taking it with me everywhere. Even that night when we packed up the car and drove to my grandma's house for Christmas, I didn't mind the one hour drive because I could actually play my new game!  It was pretty great.

Besides my GB and Pokemon, that year was also when I got Rayman 2. I received it as a gift from my aunt/cousins that Christmas Eve, along with some Pokemon music CDs. Although it kinda scared me a bit, Rayman 2 would go on to become one of my favorite 3D platformers. It was a game I played constantly, and would show to all my friends. Heck I loved it so much that I didn't even mind the screen jumping up and down when I attempted to play it on the old CRT at my mom's work! Don't know how it didn't make me dizzy, but whatever. (Now that I think about it, I beat the game for the first time on that TV...) Anyway that Christmas was pretty amazing with all things considered. Multiple family members bought me games, and I finally had a GBC and Pokemon. And Toy Story 2 which is another favorite licensed game of mine. It was going to be hard to top that Christmas, that's for sure.

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