The First Memory of a Friend
I know I brought this up before but I have terrible memory when it comes to my childhood. This could be good or bad – a brain defensive mechanism I don’t even know about quite yet – but there’s nothing I can really do about that.
A vivid memory I do have is living in Greenville, Ohio – I lived in a two story apartment with my single dad as an only child, back in these days, no one was afraid of their kid being alone outside, or walking with a group of friends to go somewhere. I had just watched “Look Who’s Talking” and was deathly afraid of my toilet, and had a stuffed purple monster with an orange football helmet (Which my mom told me she got me later in my life – that I thought was dead – more on this in a later blog) I always stuffed in my closet because it scared the living crap out of me. You see, I am deathly afraid of dolls, and for those of you that know me, I don’t scare easy, I’m a pretty stalwart guy, but dolls drive me nuts.
I still remember ‘Demonic Toys’ coming on TV one night, my dad was passed out drunk upstairs (We’ll touch base on this someday) and I watched it. This and Child’s Play (We’ll talk about that someday too) instilled a sense of dread with dolls in general. But more to the point, it also created a catalyst – I love scary movies (Oxymoron right?) – I mean absolutely love them. I keep this passion locked away because I’m a dad of three kids, and my girlfriend hates scary movies, so I keep this suppressed.
Anyway, part of this memory is, I would travel a lot. I would walk places all the time, with people from school (Hey Emily McKee maybe one day you’ll read this blog!), and explore. There was a huge construction area next to my apartment complex that my friends would go to, it had a huge cement pipe in the middle, and we would travel down it and explore the water running through it, and the giant construction site – and that was the life, those days were golden! Occasionally I had this friend up the road named Brent. I would go to his house a lot, he was nearly 5 years older than me, and also I vaguely remember him kind of being a bully, but I would play Mortal Kombat with him. This is how I came to know and love “Cooperative gaming”.
Flash a little forward, I made a friend that lived behind the apartment complex. He was through the fence, and a little bit down into the woods. The memory is so vague, I don’t even recall his name. His dad was an Ice Cream truck man, and his house was full of cotton candy, ice cream, and all sorts of stuff he used with his business, and at the centerpiece of the house was a giant tabletop “Mechwarrior Game” no one was allowed to touch (That was for the grownups!!).
This friend had an SNES, and two controllers. What does that even mean to me? Well.. everything. Mortal Kombat was one thing, but we played quite possibly the most memorable retro game together I’ve ever played: Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Yes, you read that right – quite possibly the coolest game for kids ever created. We played this constantly, got pissed off constantly, and weaved in controller swapping games of Earthworm Jim and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I vaguely recall a Power Ranger game in there somewhere.) This solidified cooperative gaming to me. His dad kicked ass and gave us free treats all the time, and we gamed. Hard. But beyond all the killer dolls, zombies, werewolves – there was that damn Spider boss. As a grown-up now I look at YouTube and look back at it – and I never beat that guy. WE – never beat that guy. I am disappointed in that aspect, I hardly recall what dissolved our friendship, I must have moved away, or he did.
That small planted seed to this day has instilled the cooperative nature I have, and my thirst for awesome cooperative experiences. World of Warcraft dominates my gaming space because I love the social aspect it brings (Even though it is horrible now.), but other games like Destiny, Borderlands, etc still kindle that co-op flame. And damn I wish that flame were brighter.