Growing up all of my friends owned PlayStations. All up and down the street I would go to their houses and play all that I could. The downside to that is that I would end up watching twice as much as playing. More than anything in the world I wanted my very own PlayStation. My brother wanted one just as much as me, so we hatched a plan. We saved every cent we possibly could. Lunch money, birthday money, everything we had, until finally we had saved enough money for our very own PS2, but everything didn't go as planned.
We proudly presented our savings to our parents, but they weren't as open to the idea as we were. They declined our money and said that they didn't want us to have a gaming console. They didn't want us to be spending all of our time in front of a screen. They already weren't too fond of our time spent playing on the computer and thought that a PlayStation 2 would just amplify that.
Dejected my brother and I went on with life without a shiny new PS2. Somehow, it made time playing with our friends' consoles even more painful. It was like looking into a picture of what could have been. We continued watching from the sidelines hoping to get a turn.
Christmas rolled around, but my brother and I didn't care too much. All we had wanted was a PlayStation and that was already out of the picture, but on Christmas morning my brother and I did what all kids do and went downstairs to see what we had been given. I picked up one present, about to open it when my dad stopped me. "Wait," he said with a smile on his face, "you and your brother open this one first." It was on small present about the size of a DVD case. Confused my brother and I opened it, only to find Kingdom Hearts for PS2. Then we opened another present and revealed another PS2 game.
"But... we don't have a PS2," I said, confused, "we weren't allowed to." My dad proceeded to open up our TV cabinet to reveal a PS2 and two controllers, all plugged in and ready to go. The real reason we weren't allowed to get one earlier was because my parents had already bought us one. We had almost blown their big surprise. With our faces in giant grins we hugged our parents and put in a game disc. The rest of the day was filled with gaming into the wee hours of the morning. There was no one to ask for a turn, no one to watch patiently from the sidelines. We had it all to ourselves.That was my surprise introduction to PlayStation, and since then I have never looked back.
My brother and I had a similar experience with the NES. We wanted one since 1987, and that Christmas we got an upgrade from our Atari 2600.... An Atari 7800. (Boooooo). We played it just the same though. We supposed it was better than nothing.
A couple of years went by, and we didn't bother to ask again. We did not think to save money like you and your brother (didn't figure that out). Then Christmas Eve of 1989, my brother and I were upstairs, cleaning up after dinner, when we heard a song coming from the basement room.
It was the Super Mario Brothers theme, in all its 8-bit glory. We rushed downstairs, and began playing right away. I honestly think my parents regretted it, because we spent the next week down in the basement. They could barely get us to eat, and certainly had a hard time getting us to go to bed.
It was a great feeling though. I understand how you must have felt. Sometimes our parents surprise us in the most delightful ways.
As for the PS2, I waited outside my local Best Buy the night before launch. I was third in line. It was a cold night, but I went prepared with my sleeping bag, and some Hot Hands. There were a lot of people there, and we all had fun. We would take turns holding spots for bathroom and coffee breaks. I can honestly say I will not do that again, and not just because there were really no games to buy for it on launch. As fun as it was, I think my restraint has grown, and I am no longer willing to risk hypothermia for a console. I usually deal with the yearnings for a few months, until the systems are readily available.
Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you don't mind me sharing my own.
Long live gaming!