If you’re like us, you’re always rarin’ to play some more games– but sometimes you just don’t have the cash. Well, that’s why Delibird invented presents! Here’s a few fond memories of our best game gifts ever. And after you read ours, let us know about you! What’s the best video game-related present you’ve gotten, for anything from St. Patrick’s Day to Christmas? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be ever-so-jealous.
In 2003 I was without a game system. I had been in the working world for a few years now, and what consoles I might have played back at my parents’ home, including a Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 2, were the domain of my much younger siblings. That year, however, I spotted the Walmart Black Friday ad (or “Wal-Mart,” as it was still known in those days) and noticed that it was listing a black GameCube, including a Collector’s Edition Zelda disc and a small game carrying case, for about $80. I was home for Thanksgiving and my mom also expressed an interest in some of the other Black Friday items, and so she said she’d come along.
That year Walmart opened about 6 A.M., and my mom and I arrived around 6:15. It was a Walmart Supercenter in a moderately sized town in central Kentucky, and the parking lot was packed. The inside was even worse, with people standing in a completely paralyzed traffic jam of shopping carts throughout the store. Eschewing a cart, I briefly split up from mom and made my way through the mire of humanity and back to Electronics, where a long line had queued up to grab up the legion of Cubes stacked on wooden pallets. I waited for what seemed like an eternity, the time punctuated by a teenage girl who collapsed and had to be taken off in a stretcher.
Finally I reached the front of the line, and there was joined by my mom, who had come up empty in her quest for a $33 Eureka vacuum. As I was handed the GameCube by the associate, mom said she would pay for it. It was a very nice early Christmas present and the source of great gaming memories for the next three years.
I’ve gotten a lot of gaming gifts over the years, but I think the one I am fondest of would have to be the special Pokémon-themed Game Boy Color I received for Christmas in 1998. I had wanted some variation of the console ever since I first heard of Super Mario Land 2 (and my desire was only reinforced by the system’s prevalence on the schoolyard during recess), but for one reason or another my parents could never afford to get me one until that year. I remember it was particularly late in the holiday season when they bought it. We had yet to finish all of our Christmas shopping, so my sister and I accompanied my dad to the mall to pick up some last-minute gifts. We stopped at the K-B Toys on our way out under the pretense of shopping for my cousin, but to our surprise my dad purchased two of the special Game Boy Colors instead and let us open them right then on the ride home.
What I liked most about the system was that it came bundled with a copy of Pokémon Yellow. I had played bits of the Blue version either on my cousin’s handheld or through some more, ahem, dubious channels, but this was my first chance to experience the game in its entirety. I was amazed that a console that small could contain a setting as expansive as Kanto, and for the next several months I would lose myself in its lush forests and labyrinthine caves, searching for the perfect monsters to round out my team. It may not have been the most expensive present I ever received, but that gift will always occupy a special place in my heart because it will forever be associated with my foray into the world of Pokémon.
If truth be told, my friends and family are a bit hopeless when it comes to giving video game-themed gifts. I don’t blame them really– games themselves are quite expensive for friends with limited funds, and the UK isn’t particularly renowned for its extensive availability of awesome (and reasonably priced) video game-related merchandise. It’s a bit easier now thanks to online stores like Amazon, but in recent years it’s been much easier and simpler to give said family and friends strict instructions– or guidelines, as I like to call them– on what gifts to buy me, especially when it comes to video games. It rather takes the magic out of birthdays and Christmas, but at least it’s better than having to feign surprise and delight when everyone gets me the same thing (or several pairs of socks).
Unfortunately not among the gifts that Katharine got that year.
But one year a few of my school friends really did make an effort, even if two of them did in fact give me the same present. Back in my pre-teen years when Pokémon was all the rage, I was pleasantly surprised when one of my classmates called me over and presented me with a Christmas Pikachu plushie. My Pikachu collection was quite large at this point, but I was touched by their thoughtfulness. I wasn’t even very close friends with them at the time, and I definitely wasn’t expecting a gift from them. But given my reputation as a bit of a Pokémon fanatic, the inevitable was bound to occur– another friend in a different class had been equally thoughtful and also bought me a Christmas Pikachu. Another even went as far as to give me a huge talking Pikachu plushie, and I came home that day completely inundated with new Pikachus. But even though I was positively overrun by Pokémon gifts that year, I loved every single one of them, and it was definitley one of the more memorable years of presents I’ve had in a long time– that and the time my brother came home from a Japanese exchange trip with a blow-up Pokémon plane!
My favorite video game-related gift that I got was in 8th grade. I got Pokémon Blue, a Game Boy Pocket, and Kirby’s Dream Land 2. These three simple gifts helped change a lot of things for me in my middle school years. During this year of school, I was being bullied quite a bit because I, gasp, refused to conform and, even more gasps, wore boy’s clothing. Such shenanigans were not accepted and I was called names and assumed to be some things that I’m not. And I was oversensitive at the time, so I cried a lot. It wasn’t a fun time. One of my friends had Pokémon and talked about it nonstop so I thought that maybe I should give a shot. Thus, I asked for it for Christmas.
Kirby’s pretty lonely among all this Pokémon talk.
Things changed when I got into Pokémon. I got into more video games, I got into anime, and I found friends. In school, there’s a whole “safety in numbers” thing going on. I didn’t have any real friends at the time but through Pokémon, I grew some pretty strong ties that got me through most of high school. It was awesome. The runner-up is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but I got that one for my birthday with my very own birthday money. (My birthday is in March, by the way.)
My best video-game related gift came from the big N itself. I remember having spotted The Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition– which included the first two games of the series as well as the first two on N64– at my similarly game-minded cousin’s house. Considering he lived on another continent, it was rather out of the question to even suggest borrowing the thing.
We assume this guy became Pierre’s worst enemy (or best friend).
Having returned stateside, I somehow stumbled on a promotion of largesse from Nintendo: if one registered enough first-party game codes through their proto-Club Nintendo fan page… bingo, old-school Zelda bundle at your door. I quickly registered a handful of already-owned games and, though I could hardly believe it, Nintendo sent their love right back. Within a few days I was delving into The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for what was the first time. Thanks Nintendo.
Since my favorite gift seems to be related to everyone else’s favorite gift (it may or may not be about Pokémon), I’ll share something that is honestly the most surprising video game-related gift I’ve ever gotten. My family, like Katharine’s, is not particularly adept at giving game-related gifts, and knowing this, I’ve braced myself every year in the name of Surprise. A few years ago, my dad got me High School Musical 3: Senior Year Dance, because I expressed what I thought was clearly sarcastic interest in the overly saccharine series. To this day I don’t know if it was a joke or not, but it’s made for some pretty hilarious reactions from my friends whenever they see it, which they don’t, because now I hide it in a box far, far away from the rest of my video game collection.
Actually, uh, it’s not that bad of a game. The graphics are a little blocky, but the songs are there and the dancing is … look, I don’t have to defend myself! I mean, of course I had to play it a little for politeness and it’s not like I unlocked every single song and stage ever. That would, uh.
That would be silly.
What’s your favorite game-related present? Let us know in the comments below! Make us jealous. This is your goal.