GeekSideShowing's SDCC 2016

SDCC 2016 Recap: A Lead Up

When I got badges for SDCC 2016, after missing out on 2015, I was thrilled. I was able to get Thursday, Friday, & Sunday badges. Immediately, I got to the business of planning the ins & outs of SDCC 2016: secure lodging & flights, (slightly) obsess over waiting for the panel schedules to be released, wait for Nerd HQ info (any info, really), etc. As we neared the weeks before, it got serious with news everyday.

Where to stay:

I started with finding a place to stay that was a better distance from the Convention Center than 2014, while also enabling me the possibility to cook my own food due to my dietary restrictions. I was lucky to find the perfect place, a room with access to a kitchen, in Little Italy. This, would allow me to get back & forth from all of the SDCC happenings with much more ease. Check!

What to do:

This is the obvious biggie. The biggest factor is how can you fit all you want to do into the time you have. SDCC is when you really wish Hermione would lend you the Time-Turner. The struggle is real, & here is a glimpse at my overly ambitious schedule for SDCC 2016:

GeekSideShowing SDCC 2016 panel off-site tentative schedule

So, yeah. Not realistic, but definitely an important thing to think through because during SDCC throws you a couple curveballs. One thing that you early seriously think a whole lot about is the distance between rooms & locations. SDCC has grown to so many locations outside of the convention center that you can log in a LOT of steps & minutes just getting from place to place. It helps to have a Plan A, B, & C!

What to pack:

When preparing for SDCC, you need to consider the amount of walking & standing involved, as well as carrying merchandise & food. The first time I went, I was not as prepared as I should have been. Even though I read copious blog posts on the topic, some things can only be learned through personal experience. This time around, I wanted to make sure that I had a comfortable & supportive backpack, along with super good footwear. I bought a new backpack at NYCC 2015 & have been using every time I travel. (No, I haven’t been paid by EQ USG) It is from Equilibrium Urban Survival Gear:

SDCC 2016 backpack setup

 If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a bit of what I packed as far as clothing, including what I planned to cosplay:

SDCC 2016 packing

As you can see, I wanted to represent my love Star WarsGhostbustersStar Trek, Doctor Who, & Destiny. Not pictured was my Captain America t-shirt.


That is all for now, stay tuned for more SDCC 2016 recaps!

My Geek Side Is Showing Blog Series: Crafty Geek Corner

Crafty Geek Corner: 8-Bit DIY

In this blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday(-ish). 

Back to the blog business, after another hiatus. Eek. Work has been pretty intense, but here is another stab at consistency!

This week I have been nostalgic for all things 8-bit (man I wish I had kept my NES; check out this post for more!). This of course, what drove me to pixel all of the things!

8-Bit DIY

8-bit-crafty-geek-corner-diy

I was looking over my Crafty Geek Pinterest board & noticed that my nostalgia for all things “old school” video game era definitely had an influence. I’m obviously not alone in my nostalgia, as is shown by the vast amount of DIY geeky crafts available in Pinterest. Here are 5 of my current favorites.

Link Quilt 8-bit DIY

Link from Legend of Zelda 8-bit quilt

via imgur

How can you not fall in love all over again with 8-bit Link?! This is a quilt any Legend of Zelda fan would love to receive.  A quilt is such a great idea for 8-bit interpretation because it lends itself to the use of little blocks while creating your image.

Totoro 8-bit DIY

Totoro

Another fabulous way to interpret 8-bit geekiness is with Legos! If you are like me (& chances are, if you are checking out my site, we are), you are a sucker for anything Miyazaki. How amazing is this Totoro incarnation?! I cannot get enough of the umbrella.  Love it!

Custom Bubble Bobble perler bead DIY

8-bit NES Bubble Bobble DIY perler

via CosplayHats‘ Etsy shop

Just as Legos are a great adaptation of 8-bit, so are perler beads. Here, this featured crafty geek pin is about one of my favorite video games on my beloved NES, Bubble Booble! I was really into this game, as it was the perfect blend of a puzzler & adorable. If you missed out on the gem of a game, look into it, because it is addictive.

Custom Super Mario Bros. perler keychains DIY

Super Mario Bros. perler keychains

via FreakCreations‘ Etsy shop.

Some more Nintendo love: keychains! Keychains that are not stabby in your pocket or bag are always welcome. The fact that these are awesome shout-outs to your childhood, just makes it a bonus. These are currently not available, because FreakCreations is taking a break, but definitely keep an eye out for when it is back online actively.

Custom Boba Fett 8-bit DIY

Boba Fett 8-bit DIY

via Stickaz

I couldn’t go without having a Star Wars reference! Here is a pattern that could be used for cross-stitch or perler beads. Bobby Fett being badass Boba Fett.


Well, that is all for today! In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own 8-bit inspired DIY posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek Pinterest board!

Join me next week for a look at more crafts!  Don’t forget to check out my previous Crafty Geek Corner posts, for other great DIY pins.

Got a shout out!

I was checking my Twitter feed, when I received a notification stating the @FemHype had mentioned me.

Tweet of FemHype mentioning My Geek Side Is Showing

So I went to check it out & was thrilled to see that my blog was featured in their Sunday Loot #InternationalDayofHappiness in Gaming post! The gamer in me was simply giddy to be included.

Featured on FemHype

screenshot of My Geek Side Is Showing featured on FemHype.com

I had been meaning to get back into blogging, after my year hiatus, but hadn’t fully committed to it until this shout-out of the best kind. I’d been dabbling staying current with my FB page & Pinterest boards, but not with the blog itself. Between work & moving, it has been on the back-burner.

In preparation for the two cons I will be attending this year, SuperCon & SDCC <squee!>, I am excited to get back to sharing my geekiness! Plus, I just got a Groupon for lightsaber classes & I’ll definitely document that experience.

Well, here is to a geeky, fun-filled 2016!

My Geek Side Is Showing Blog Series: Crafty Geek Corner

Crafty Geek Corner: Easter Egg DIY

In this blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday(-ish). 

Back to the blog business, after another hiatus. Eek. Work has been pretty intense, but here is another stab at consistency!

This week I wanted to look at how to geek up Easter!

Geeky Easter Egg DIY

Crafty Geek Easter Egg DIY

I was looking over my Crafty Geek Pinterest board & realized there were some creative geek inspired options for Easter Eggs.  Why settle for pastels & tie-dyed eggs when you can  geek out?

T.A.R.D.I.S. Easter Egg DIY

TARDIS Easter Egg DIY

Item no longer available on Etsy, which it is a shame.

What makes more sense than Doctor Who themed Easter Eggs? Come to think of it, the Doctor probably would reveal that the Easter Bunny is some sort of alien. If Moffat had anything to do with it, probably an alien bent on destroying the world.  Going only based on the image, it seems these might be paper mache?  A bit confusing, but I guess painting hard-boiled eggs would work just as well.

Yoshi Easter Egg DIY

For when you are not committed to using actual eggs. Plastic egg shells + a pot painted green = Yoshi awesomeness! Our Nerd Home does a great job with the tutorial, so you should be ready to add these to your Easter Egg Hunt.

E.V.E from Wall-E Easter Egg DIY

EVE from Wall-E Easter Egg DIY

EVE from Wall-E tutorial via CoolMomPicks.com

As I was pinning for this post, I came across this great post on CoolMomPicks.com that had great geeky Easter Egg options, but the EVE one just struck me as genius. It is spot on! Wall-E is one of my favorite movies & what a great crafty geek spin on a wonderful character, EVE.  I would add the little green “eco” symbol in green Sharpie, too. You could have a few variations of EVE in Easter Egg form.

Minion Easter Egg DIY

Celebrate with the lovable Minions from the Despicable Me series. Minions are already fairly egg-shaped, so this one works well if you want to do hard-boiled eggs or plastic ones, as shown.  Either way, a Sharpie is your fired here. I love the googly eyes!

Legend of Zelda Rupee Easter Egg DIY

Why limit yourself to eggs? Why not create Legend of Zelda inspired Easter rupees, instead? This pin came from a great tutorial on Instructables.com by Eric Hart. It involves vacuum forming, but if you have access to those tools, why not include these?!


Well, that is all for today! In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own fandom-themed Easter Egg DIY posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek Pinterest board!

Join me next week for a look at more crafts!  Don’t forget to check out my previous Crafty Geek Corner posts, for other great DIY pins.

My Geek Side Is Showing Blog Series: Crafty Geek Corner

Crafty Geek Corner: Converse Chucks DIY

In this new blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday. This will hopefully accomplish two of my goals: 1) continue time management & blog consistency, & 2) share more ways to geek out over fandoms with all of you!

The summer has definitely derailed my time management! So, sorry for the huge lapse in posts. If you follow my Pinterest board in conjunction with the blog series, you would have noticed that I have still been active on there, but that is mostly due to slight insomnia & my tendency to pin in order to fall asleep [admittedly, not the best plan].

I’ve been a bit obsessed with sneaker DIY lately, which brings us to … this week’s installment is all about sneakers; more specifically the classic Converse All Star Chuck Taylor, or more commonly known as Chucks.

Converse Chucks DIY

Crafty Geek Corner Converse Chucks DIY

 

Who doesn’t love a god pair of Chucks?! Apparently a whole lot of people! They are an iconic part of Americana & super cool. The NY Times published an article on the history of Chucks & the 31 companies with various copyright infringement cases in an effort to maintain the iconic brand.  Today is all about making your pair of Chucks truly yours. The post focuses on hi-top Chucks, but I will be doing another post in the future looking at lo-top DIY.

Custom Pac-Man Chucks DIY

How neat are these?! I love these Pac-Man Chucks because they hit right in the nostalgia of my childhood, as discussed in a previous post. These are adorable, but the best part is that Candy’s Custom Paints has a great selection of custom Chucks that you need to go check out now! (No, I do not get commission, but wouldn’t mind if I did!)

Custom Wonder Woman Chucks DIY

Give it up for Wonder Woman being represented in a custom Chucks DIY. The no face is a bit creepy, but hey, at least there is a female superhero option available. The lack of more options got me thinking about making some Black Widow ones myself; you know, when I have better time management skills.D FeslegenDesign’s store on Etsy has a lot of options as well, spanning many genres including some particularly neat Doctor Who inspired ones.

Custom Doctor Who Chucks DIY

Speaking of Doctor Who! These custom Chuks feature the TARDIS on the outside & Gallifreyan on the insides of the shoes read: (left shoe) “Nice to meet you Rose Tyler” (right shoe) “now run for your life”. There is a waiting list, but the attention to detail on these is pretty intense.

Custom Harry Potter Hogwarts & Marauder’s Map Chucks DIY

Here is a little something from literature/movies: Harry Potter.  I love the duality & contrast of these shoes. A great way to celebrate the magical world of Hogwarts. The detail on these is also astonishing.

Custom Howl’s Moving Castle Chucks DIY

Custom Converse All Star Chuck Taylor Howl's Moving Castle DIY

by My Painted Shoes

Last, but not least, a great Howl’s Moving Castle option from My Painted Shoes. This site had the largest range & selection to choose from out of the ones featured in this post.  Definitely worth a shot for anyone interested in checking custom chucks out. All things Studio Ghibli are spectacular, so why not celebrate a great heroine with this pair of Chucks?


Well, that is all for today! In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own Converse Chucks DIY posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek Pinterest board!

Join me next week for a look at more crafts!  Don’t forget to check out my previous Crafty Geek Corner posts, for other great DIY pins.

My Geek Side Is Showing Blog Series: Crafty Geek Corner

Crafty Geek Corner: Super Mario Bros. (NES) DIY – Pet Edition

In this new blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday. This will hopefully accomplish two of my goals: 1) continue time management & blog consistency, & 2) share more ways to geek out over fandoms with all of you!

This week’s installment is all about classic Super Mario Bros. NES nostalgia! Retrogamers rejoice in crafts!

Super Mario Bros. (NES) DIY – Pet Edition

Nintendo NES Controller DIY Crafty Geek Corner

To continue my reminiscing all things NES Super Mario Bros. from my latest Defining My Childhood post, this week’s Crafty Corner takes me to the crafty depths of my childhood nostalgia. While preparing this post, I found myself drawn to all of the crafts related to integrating our pets into our fandoms & so the result is today’s Pet Edition post!

Super Mario Bros. Cat Condo

If you have a cat, then you know a cat must climb! Why not have you cat enjoy your childhood nostalgia along with you. This Super Mario Bros. themed cat condo add-on is genius. Check out the walk-through on TheMarySue.com.

Super Mario Bros. Themed Aquarium

What an absolutely enchanting idea: to recreate a portion of a level from Super Mario Bros. for your fishes! I guess, if it works for cats, why not fish? This picture just makes me smile. Check out more at Gizmodo.com.

Bowser Inspired Turtle Sweater DIY

Isn’t this the best & cutest idea ever for any turtle owners?! I love it, I just can’t stand the cuteness. This is the most appropriate incorporation of Super Mario Bros lore into pet living. Thank you Pets Lady for bringing this into my life!

Super Mario Bros Dog Costume DIY

This great store, Young Urban Puppy, on Etsy has these wonderful dog costumes that are simply adorable. Can you imagine having a Princess Peach & Mario pair? Adorable.


Well, that is all for today! In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own Super Mario Bros NES inspired DIY posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek Pinterest board!

Join me next week for a look at more crafts!  Don’t forget to check out my previous Crafty Geek Corner posts, for other great DIY pins.

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined My Childhood: Super Mario Bros. (NES)

Okay, so it is no secret that this game was, & still is, amazing. The graphics (for the time!), colors, & soundtrack are perfection. The gameplay was fun; stressful, but fun. I was on Pinterest recently & saw this meme depicting Mario on the very edge after landing a jump:

That is something anyone who has ever played this game experienced, & that pin just reinforced it.

This game’s soundtrack still transports me to when I was younger & playing, regardless of the context. My palms still get balmy & my heart accelerates whenever the music that meant you were running out of time/health plays, even when I am not even playing the game! I had that ringtone on my iPhone for exactly one week before I just couldn’t stand it. I would freak out whenever I’d receive a call. I kept the music from Level 1 as one of my designated ringtones (assigned to my mom) on my iPhone, which is a happy audio trigger.

This musical trigger also affected me years later while playing Super Mario Galaxy! The music is not the only thing that transports me. Whenever I would play Super Mario Galaxy, I’d obsessively collect extra lives, only to be irate when I reloaded my saved game to be back down to 3 lives! Obviously, this harks back to the pre-save conditions of the original Super Mario Bros.

This is a game I remember my mom playing, as well. Watching someone play this game is almost as fun as playing it yourself.  Jumping along with the character was a normal sight.

I would often go back to this game & replay it, years after I first played it through. On my previous JB iPhone, I had this ROM & found myself playing this & Legend of Zelda all the time.  There is a huge retrogaming community & it is very active.  This is a testament to how influential these games were to those generations.

What are your Super Mario Bros. memories?

Check out other posts in this series!

Why I like MCU’s Black Widow even more after Avengers: Age of Ultron

There are spoilers in this post pertaining to events depicted in The Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, & The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Earlier this summer, I went to see the midnight premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron with high expectations & was not disappointed. I am an avid fan of Joss Whedon & was a bit taken aback by the criticism I was finding online regarding how Black Widow was portrayed in AoU. As opposed to the many persons who were stating that Black Widow was somehow diminished in AoU because she was shaken by the hexing powers of Scarlet Witch & had a love interest, I felt the opposite. I will tackle both criticisms separately.

Let me start with the effects of Scarlet Witch’s hexing powers.  All members of the Avenger’s, aside from Hawkeye who already underwent mind altering control in Avengers, are profoundly affected by her hex. Profoundly, because each is revealed something that has been suppressed for a long time or is the worse (feared) version of his/her self:

  • Tony Stark sees the entire Chitauri empire fulfilling its attack on Earth, in what he feels is his greatest failure: not protecting the Earth with preventative measures, as reactionary measures just barely worked.  While this leads him to bring about the creation of Ultron in MCU, he is not wrong in the need for preventative measures as is later seen with the need for “Veronica” in response to the Hulk’s bewitching.
  • Bruce Banner’s deep fear of losing all control & becoming an unadulterated Hulk that indiscriminately destroys an entire city is brought to fruition. If it hadn’t been for the preventative measures of developing the “Veronica” or Hulkbuster armor in conjunction with Tony, the rampage would have been much, much worse.  But the truth is that within the MCU, Hulk has never rampaged, unless tampered with somehow.
  • Steve Rogers is confronted with his inability to leave war for a normal life with his vision of the celebration after WWII is won, he is about to get his dance with Peggy & return home with her ends with him alone in an empty ballroom.
  • Thor’s vision brings to fruition his greatest fear: that he is unworthy of ruling Asgard & everything will go to hell in a hand basket if he is ruler. But this very vision of disaster has within it the very real warning that he is not seeing the greater threat of the Infinity Gems, which will lead to Thanos & the Infinity Gauntlet.
  • Black Widow is forced to relive the weeks leading up to her “graduation” from the Red Room, in which we not only see that she attempts to fail in order to avoid graduating, but also find out that her “graduation” entailed forced sterilization. She is then confronted with the reality that she was denied the choice of becoming a mother. This is highlighted with her calling Hawkeye’s unborn baby she hoped would be her name sake, but turned out to be a boy, a traitor & her confession to Bruce that she could never be a mother because of her “graduation” & that made it easier for her to become a monster (as she defined it herself) or as I interpreted it as a killer with no possible emotional out. This idea is not new, think of what the Kill Bill series was centered on: the most talented assassin became a threat as soon as she become a mother & she would do anything in order to protect her child.

How is Black Widow being equally affected by the hex as her male counterparts a sign of her weakness, but not their’s?  Is it because it centered around her loss of agency over her body at the hands of her handlers in the Red Room & weaponization into a killer? Also, this was an amazing way of showing how truly powerful & dangerous Scarlet Witch is.  I won’t get into the House of M story line in the comics in this post, but if you haven’t read them, you should!

There are many, or at least a vocal few, that have decried the vulnerability displayed by Black Widow in AoU by stating that the Russo brothers correctly depicted her as never-endingly malleable to the situation & never revealing her true self, while Whedon took her strength away. I disagree. The only time she is emotionally vulnerable in CA:WS is when Nick Fury dies. Why is it okay for her to be distraught by the murder of her friend & mentor, but not when forced to remember the trauma of her forced sterilization during AoU, which by all accounts marked the beginning of her ledger getting all of that red on it? Why is it acceptable for Tony Stark to still be dealing with his PTSD from seeing the Kree forces on the verge of overwhelming Earth, but not for Natasha? Tony Stark is not shown as weak, but suddenly Natasha is weakened?

Secondly, let’s talk about her having a love interest. Granted, the love story of Natasha/Bruce was a bit weird, mostly because I couldn’t quite tell if it was Natasha/Bruce or Natasha/Hulk or Natasha/all of him. I’m sure the extended version or director’s cut would include more dialogue between the two & that would clear things up, but we couldn’t very well have a 3+ hour movie. But, the fact that she was given a love interest that wasn’t Hawkeye nor Cap was fine by me. It was already established that Hawkeye & Black Widow had a deep, but platonic, relationship in Avengers & that there were no romantic inclinations between her & Captian America in Winter Soldier. Natasha’s talk with Bruce about giving each other the possibility to be “normal” monsters together was profound, especially in light of the “graduation” ceremony from the Red Room in which she underwent forced sterilization. She sees him & herself as monsters, because they are each splintered versions of who they could have been had each been given the choice. Each was irreparably altered in a way that each is still dealing with in the present.  While Steve was also altered irreparably, he was looking to do so. The same cannot be said of Bruce & Natasha.

In all other instances we have been shown in the MCU in which Natasha has used a male’s idea of female frailty to manipulate men, she became the image of what that particular man thought a woman should be & used it against them: Tony needed to still feel he was the playboy while facing death (Iron Man 2), the Russian mobsters needed a helpless girl to beat up & threaten (Avengers), & Loki needed a woman doing something for love (Avengers). She even was blatant about it in the car with Steve after the whole HYDRA reveal in CA:WS by asking Steve outright which version of her he wanted her to be (CA:WS). In this last instance, I don’t believe she was trying to manipulate him, as much as put him at ease.

Black Widow Captain America Winter Soldier movie

via giphy.com

In AoU, she was not pantomiming a woman who wanted to settle down with Bruce & be “normal” together for him, because that is not what he wanted.  It was too scary a possibility for him that he decided to run away than entertain it.  So, if she wasn’t playing the part for him, it is because that is what she wanted.

The image of the emotionally impenetrable Natasha that is “cold as ice” is not the type of super heroine that I want. I want a super heroine that is an actual whole person, not a super heroine that falls neatly into the lamentable one-dimensional trope: Strong Female Character. One of the reasons I love Buffy Summers, Joss Whedon’s seminal female character, & I suspect many would agree, is that she was simultaneously a bad ass & was affected by the events in her life. She was a completely fleshed out hero, not a trope. She was not the “strong female character” that was all business & no heart. Buffy was a hero because she had flaws & felt the fear, but still did what she had to do. She goes through the Hero’s Journey, as described by Joseph Campbell, & conquers her fear, not by no longer being afraid, but by not letting her fear prevent her from the necessary action & becoming the hero she was called to be.

And so, much like Whedon’s Buffy, we are able to finally see Natasha become a full hero by being vulnerable on-screen with Bruce Banner. She is actually physically vulnerable in front of the Hulk, as well, as she is tasked with convincing Hulk to relinquish control of Bruce Banner, but the emotional vulnerability is much rawer than the physical variety. Who else has she opened up to on that level in the MCU? I assume Nick Fury, but that is never shown onscreen. Sort of Steve in CA:WS, but not like this.  I wholeheartedly welcome a MCU Black Widow that is a fully fleshed out hero, just like Captian America & Iron Man, but that also happens to be a woman.

While the Black Widow movie is still a long way away, but is maybe tentatively coming as part of Phase 4, I am pleased with more layers of Black Widow being revealed in each movie. In the meantime, here is the fan-made trailer to the Black Widow movie we all want!

Correction: I originally incorrectly stated that the Kree were the ones who invaded Earth, but it  in fact was not the blue guys, but the creepy Chitauri.  Thanks David Barker for helping me notice my mistake!

My Geek Side Is Showing Blog Series: Crafty Geek Corner

Crafty Geek Corner: Nintendo NES DIY

In this new blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday. This will hopefully accomplish two of my goals: 1) continue time management & blog consistency, & 2) share more ways to geek out over fandoms with all of you!

This week’s installment is all about Nintendo & nostalgia!


DIY NintendoNintendo NES Controller DIY Crafty Geek  Corner

To continue my reminiscing all things NES from my latest Defining My Childhood post, this week’s Crafty Corner takes me to the crafty depths of my childhood nostalgia.

NES controller wallet

As you can tell from my blog’s header, one of the things I geek out over the most is NES. In fact, that is my hand-drawn sketch of the controller that most defined my childhood. While I have a bit of a problem destroying a still functioning controller, I think this would be great to do on orphaned controllers found at garage sales, etc.

NES controller inspired Converse

I love this idea, because they are a great conversation piece. A little fabric paint, a few brushes, & a pair of hi-top black Converse Chucks & you are good to go!

NES controller rug

Nintendo NES controller DIY rug

via pinterest.com

I tried finding the source of this image, but it is somewhere in the depths of another image aggregate &, well, thank goodness for Pinterest. From this pin & the accompanying caption, it seems this could be accomplished using a latch hook.  Definitely worth a try!

NES Controller Quirky Lamp

This last one is super quirky, but would fit in perfectly in my upcoming home office/den/gaming room. If the Light Zapper’s trigger was also the on/off switch, this would be mind-blowing.


Well, that is all for today! In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own NES inspired DIY posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek Pinterest board!

Join me next week for a look at more crafts!

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined My Childhood: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

I was born in the early ‘80s, so the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a HUGE deal. It permeated American culture. There were toll numbers to call for gaming tips, which of course died off after emergence of the internet. There was the famous NES specific troubleshooting technique if your cartridge wouldn’t load: blow on the cartridge opening, insert into NES & push down, then slightly slide cartridge to the left & then right, finally turn on NES. Nintendo Entertainment System NEW controller drawingOf course, there were other tricks of the trade, such as control combinations during the loading screen. I have many memories of playing for hours on end, mostly because we didn’t have the luxury of save points. But some of my fondest memories came from swarming around a small TV with friends as we played in multiplayer co-op or against each other, or even working together as a team by taking turns to beat a single player game.

This console, much more than the ATARI, really became a thing I had in common with other kids, creating a sense of instant community. It was right up there with the latest cartoon episodes as far as go-to conversation starters. Be it in the spirit of sharing the latest cheat code or boasting that you had defeated a certain level boss, you were all of the sudden in a very intense conversation with someone who a second ago was probably a perfect stranger.nintendo heart

I LOVED my NES. I played it for hours for years, even after I got other console systems! I was lucky enough to have had a couple accessories: the NES Zapper (light gun) & the Power Pad. I discovered I am a sharp-shooter with the Zapper, as I am sure many of my generation also learned. However, the Power Pad was the precursor to the foot pad controller of games such as Dance Dance Revolution & then onto Kinect for the Xbox 360 & the Wii’s Balance Board. I’ll go into more detail regarding the game that my brother & I played obsessively using this Power Pad in a later post. The fact is that my brother, who does not like video games, loved playing with this controller is a testament to how it reached new players. It helped bring kids who would not normally want to play, into the fold. This controller didn’t convert my brother, but he still lights up whenever I remind him of the game we used to play with it. (Spoilers.)

My NES allowed me to enter new worlds & become immersed in each’s story & history. It etched sights & sounds into my being. It helped me live epic tales of heroism, while honing my eye-hand coordination & learning to cope with my dyslexia through thousands of hours of practice.  I am indebted to my mom for buying me this machine, especially since we were on a tight budget.

Radar image of Hurricane Andrew 24 August 1992

via wikimedia.org

There is another way this console system defined my childhood. I grew up in Miami, FL & so I lived through the unimaginable destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. My family & I had to evacuate our house & I could only take the essentials. I had to make the hard choice of leaving my NES behind. I can personally vouch for how amazingly well that machine was built: not only did it survive the eye of the Category 4 hurricane (which would have been the equivalent of a Category 5 today), but after I found my NES stuffed with pink insulation in the rubble under the fallen staircase of what used to be my house, my NES worked! It started right up & continued working for many years!  It may seem silly to most, but having lost everything so jarringly, this small bit of normalcy helped me cope with the unimaginable shock of the destruction and mayhem left in the wake of Andrew.

Did you have an NES growing up?  What is your fondest NES moment?

Check out other posts in this series!