The “First Console” Experience

Jan 29, 2015

Technically the first console I got my hands on was an Atari, can’t remember which one. Playing on other peoples’ consoles just isn’t the same as that feeling you get when you finally have one of your own, though. Do you remember what it was like when you got your first one? Was it a gift, or did you save up your allowance to get one yourself? Also, has anyone noticed that “first computer” experience just isn’t the same?  I find that strange really. Anyway, I’m here to share what it’s like to be on both ends of that experience and would love to hear your tales in the comments!


It was Christmas of 93′ I believe,  and things had been pretty slim. We had a tiny fake tree sitting atop a lil table in the corner, and there wasn’t much under it. I had been begging for either a GameBoy or NES for what felt like forever, and was getting extremely frustrated with the tacky Tiger Electronic games that beeped and booped while I did the same move over and over until either the batteries died or I died of boredom. You know the ones.

Tiger Electronics Little Mermaid

I had this very one, among others.

So, imagine my shock when I unwrapped a GameBoy that was packaged with Links Awakening! Granted it was a handheld and not an actual console but the feeling was similar to when I unwrapped my SNES (my first actual console) some years later. Nothing can replace the feeling of opening that GameBoy though. I had finally made it. I was gaming for REAL now! The fact that I can still remember it like it was yesterday should say a lot. That GameBoy was my gateway into true gamerdom and I never looked back. Every cent of allowance or money I earned went towards games for it, and every Christmas and birthday request as well. Some games were total duds…

Empire Strikes Back Gameboy

Yesss…let the hate flow through you.

But most were a blast! I even bought the clip-on screen light/magnifier that managed to eat batteries faster than the handheld itself, and was later given that silly GameBoy Camera/sticker printer that never worked. It also never told you why it didn’t work, opting instead to give me nightmares and make me never want to attempt it again, lest I anger the Nintendo demons.

Gameboy Camera Error

WTF Japan!?

Well, now I’m all grown up (shut up yes I am) and have a kid of my own. Recently I learned that it’s nearly as fun being on the other side of the “first console experience”. My first attempt at this was presenting my son with his first PC, a simple HP capable of playing the games he wanted. I was giddy waiting for the big reveal, hoping he’d have that awesome experience but with a PC. Nope. He looked it up and down a moment, gave a “cool thanks”, and proceeded to freak out over some random toy instead. Talk about a let-down! This is even after telling him we bought Minecraft, his favorite game, for it. He plays on the thing constantly, using all his screen time…or he did until this past Christmas.

We finally caved and got him the Wii U he’s been asking for since it’s release. Now, granted, part of me caving was the fact that my adult friends have been having a blast with these things and I finally wanted in on it. Plus, I miss my living room multiplayer. Good grief is this thing rigged to suck money directly out of your wallet, and the stupid controller you HAVE to have in order for the console to function has a battery life worse than my ‘ol GameBoy mirror thing. These are things for a different article, however, back to Christmas. I wasn’t expecting much excitement out of him, considering the PC I mentioned earlier. But to my surprise, as he started to unwrap - there it was. That growing look of shock and excitement as he slowly started to realize what was under the wrapping paper. The gushing as he read everything he could on the box - all the specs, the games it was bundled with. And of course that “screw everything else I need to plug this in RIGHT NOW” urgency.

We did that! We made that happen! He thanked us a million times, just as I did my folks. It was just as exciting being on the giving end of the “first console experience” as it was on the receiving so many years ago. As an added bonus, he loves playing the games WITH us so we get to share in that as well. Don’t forget to share your stories in the comments below!

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