Before I met Console Guy, my only gaming device was my parents’ desktop. My parents thought video games were evil but deigned to let us play on our home PC. So my first contact with handheld classics like Harvest Moon was through an emulator.
Then I met Console Guy, who owned virtually every console.
In time, he would acquaint me with all his babies, most of all with a slender white device called the Nintendo DS.
Stars and coins
Console Guy and I happened to be from the same country. But we met abroad in college, in small-town Texas. He struck me as friendly but a little odd, though in a harmless way.
I was annoyed that he worked his way into all my social circles, showed up at every party I was at, and would rush over to say hi with too much enthusiasm. But then again, it seemed like we could talk about anything for ages: games, books, movies, dogs, life.
Coming from a PC-only family, I was surprised that he played games on all major platforms, except the PC. And startled that he had lugged his consoles halfway across the world to Texas. Plus a rice cooker, to boot.
He promised to cook for me some day. So, he showed up at my dorm one Saturday morning with the rice cooker and a Wii. Rather conspicuous, as my dorm was women-only. Men were permitted to enter the lobby, but few did.
Console Guy plugged his Wii into the lobby’s giant flat-screen TV and loaded Super Mario Galaxy. He showed me the ropes. I was horrible at Mario, having spent my childhood mostly on RPGs and point-and-clicks. But no matter how often I mistimed jumps or ran the wrong direction, the Guy was patient and encouraging. “It takes practice,” he said to console me. That’s when I thought, “How nice he is.”
When I began to feel dizzy and fatigued from stars and coins, he said, “Why don’t you take a break? I’ll start the curry.” He disappeared into the dorm kitchen.
The lobby was empty but for the receptionist, a Vietnamese student. She waved me over and whispered, “I think he likes you.”
My first, my last
When we started dating, it was only natural that I began playing his games too. Of all his consoles, the DS had a natural appeal.
I was no good at real-time shooters like Resident Evil or Uncharted. But I loved taking my time with the humorous Ace Attorney. Or the cute but tactical Advance Wars. Or having a quick go at Elite Beat Agents.
I liked the DS so much that the Guy convinced me to buy one. “But you don’t have to buy your own games,” he added. “You can play mine.”
We found a used DS Lite at the only mall in town. Someone had owned it for a year or two and kept it clean. Looked new enough, considering the model was white.
I had hoped it would be white, not black. Again, I marveled at its slim, beautifully minimalist design. It would be my first handheld console, and the only one I’d ever buy for myself. I also bought myself The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
Zelda: Phantom Hourglass entertained me for hours with its clever but never-too-hard puzzles. Hack-and-slash wasn’t the kind of game I usually played, but it was a new season in life — living away from my parents, buying a console with my own cash from tutoring, having a serious relationship.
Alas, serious as it was, my relationship with the Guy came to an abrupt halt several months later.
I didn’t see myself with him or the kind of future he wanted. Japan, a country that intrigued both of us, was an appealing possibility. But going there as Mrs. Console Guy? I didn’t think so. There were various reasons, but heck, we were both barely twenty-two.
Shortly after, I graduated. With my student visa expiring, I threw a garage sale in my living room to sell as much as I could. Books, clothes. Even the DS. As I lay my earthly goods in cardboard boxes for customers to peruse, I glanced nervously at that little white game machine.
The DS was sitting in a tray with a few forlorn CDs. I picked it up and ran my fingers over its smooth case. Should I really be selling it?
Then again, I still didn’t see myself as a handheld gamer. Or buying new DS games. I’d just go back to PC gaming when I got home. Plus, the DS was in good condition and could snag me fifty bucks at least.
I returned it to the tray and slapped a sticky note on it: “$50”
But without knowing why, I lifted Zelda: Phantom Hourglass out of the tray and put it back in my bedroom.
The garage sale came and went with only one notable event. A Malagasy girl in a sports cap walked into my living room. I didn’t know her personally but knew her older brother.
“Oh, a DS!” she exclaimed with pleasure, turning the console over in her hands.
I smiled. “You play games?”
“Yeah, but… you’re selling this? WHY?” she asked incredulously, as if I were pawning off a family heirloom.
Before I could sputter a reply, she said, “I had a DS once, and I sold it. I really regretted it.”
“Really?” I answered timidly.
“Keep it,” she insisted. “Don’t sell it.”
With that, I retrieved my precious DS and took it to the bedroom for safekeeping.
Thanks for reading,
To be continued in Part 2…
I sold mine and had withdrawal symptoms. I had to go to Gamestop and purchase another. They were habit forming
I love your Love Affaire story!
Mrs. Console Guy, haha. And how a (almost) stranger can say just the right thing at the right time.. (and influence your life)
I gave away my first gameboy + mario game (and gameboy color and gameboy advance) and i regret it so much!
Curious about part 2!