21 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Child Gamer Self

  1. Spend a lot more time at arcades. They aren’t always going to be so plentiful, and a lot of your favorite games will never come to home systems (or won’t be nearly as good).
  2. Resist the urge to get too cool to play “kiddie games.” There’s no shame in playing games that aren’t all about violence and blood, and you’ll eventually get back to being a huge Nintendo fan as an adult anyway and regret all the games you’ll have to go back to as an adult that you passed up because you thought they were for babies.
  3. Play a lot more RPGs! You have all the free time in the world right now to knock out an RPG every week or so. That won’t always be the case, so take advantage of it while you can.
  4. Be a little pickier about what games you request for holidays. You don’t get a ton of new games in a given year, so you probably don’t need NBA Showtime when you already have two different versions of NBA Jam. Branch out. That’s what Blockbuster is for.
  5. Save your money for better games. I know it’s tempting to spend every $20 gift card you get as soon as possible, but save a couple of them and get something good. Trust me, California Games is only going to be fun for a couple weeks and you’ll soon be sorry you weren’t more patient.
  6. Save your NES game boxes. It seems like they’re just disposable packaging like what your other toys come in, but keep them and take care of them. You’ll be glad you did.
  7. When NES games fall out of favor, buy every 25 cent yard sale game you come across. Trust me on this one. You’ll make your money back with interest, just give it about 20 years.
  8. Appreciate the fact that you have so many people to play games with. A lot of your current gamer friends are going to “grow out of” gaming, and you’ll miss being surrounding by gaming partners. So take advantage of it while you can.
  9. Don’t have such a bad temper. Whipping your controllers across the room whenever you rage is going to make them stop working properly, and your parents aren’t going to buy you new ones because you broke them throwing a fit. Trying to play Street Fighter II when the down arrow on your d-pad sticks is no fun at all.
  10. Don’t blow into your cartridges! It’s only a quick fix; you’re slowly rusting out your consoles by doing this. A little rubbing alcohol is all you need (and if you keep your games clean, you won’t need to do this all that often anyway).
  11. Listen to your mom about not bringing your Game Gear on the school bus. You’ll never know exactly how that kid scratched your screen within 10 seconds of holding your system, but it’ll be permanent.
  12. Be very selective who you loan games to. And never trade unless you’re also going to have a game of theirs as collateral.
  13. Don’t listen to that one idiot who tells you Super Metroid sucks. It’s going to end up being one of your favorite games of all time and you’ll hate that you didn’t find that out for 10 years.
  14. Ditto for the friend who will try to convince you Ocarina of Time is overrated. Especially because your love for the game will end up way outlasting your friendship with him and won’t prove nearly as meaningful.
  15. Stick with your original choice to ask for Saturn for Christmas instead of PlayStation. You’ll end up liking PlayStation a lot more, but shortly into the PS1’s lifespan you’ll be working and will be able to buy your own system and games anyway (and be able to load up on them for cheap in a couple years). Saturn games will be much harder to come by in the future and you’ll be glad you amassed such a big library of them while they were affordable and easy to get.
  16. And one day, you’ll see bargain bins full of a Saturn game called Panzer Dragoon Saga. Buy them, all of them. And keep them unopened (except for the one you play) and in a safe place for about 10 years, until something called eBay is invented.
  17. You’ll fall in love with an arcade game called Guitar Freaks, and spend way too much time and money importing it to play it at home. Don’t. Just be patient and something a lot better–and a lot more affordable–will come along, I promise.
  18. You’re going to have a girlfriend who will try and talk you into getting rid of all of your video game magazines. Don’t do it. Things won’t work out with her anyway and you’ll have ditched them for nothing. You’ll eventually end up with your dream girl and she’ll happily indulge all of your nerdiness and won’t ever ask you to get rid of anything that you love–and that’s why you’ll never get rid of her.
  19. That ultimate gaming rig contest you’ll see in magazines for years and years is a scam. Don’t waste a single cent trying to win it.
  20. For what it’s worth, being a gamer and being a “nerd” will actually be socially acceptable one day. You’d be a proud gamer and nerd for life regardless, but it’s going to be nice to have it not be quite so stigmatized.
  21. …but you’ll never be “cool.” Just deal with it.