Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On Memories

One of my earliest memories is waking up and walking out of my room while Mom and Dad were hosting some kind of party. I weaved through a sea of unfamiliar faces, and when I found my mother, I said, "I thought everyone would laugh at me in my diaper." It irks me that shame is one of the two things my young mind chose to record forever. The other is urinating in a plastic pencil box and waiting for my brother to find it. (If you’re reading this Ian, hope you never used the yellow plastic one with the red map of the United States on it.)

I have few childhood memories that don't somehow involve Nintendo, Sega, or PlayStation. Example: There was this really cool summer rainstorm once, and I opened my bedroom window to listen to the thunder rumble through the streets. I was in the middle of Ice Cap Zone in Sonic 3 at the time. Though unrelated, the two events have fused into a single entity in my mind, as if it was raining because I was playing Sonic. Like that’s the way it was supposed it be from the start.

In a way, video games are memories I can keep forever, but not the way you think. I can't print and file away the freedom I felt during the Summer of '95, but playing Earthbound brigs back those sunsets and chocolate bars of my youth. And I can't use a spray bottle to get the scent of a foggy April morning at my parent's house, but playing Brutal on Sega CD can bring it right back to me, fresh as the day it happened. Eternal Champions is an epic snow day; Dragon Warrior is a bee sting; Darkstalkers is fireworks on the 4th of July from mom's front stoop.

How do normal people remember things?

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