Editorial: The Random Way My Brain Works

It is spring, which means a few things. I can wear my cute shoes again, the First of May is mere days away, and it is time for spring cleaning. As part of Cleaning Ginia’s Goddamn House 2010, I have spent a considerable amount of time re-assembling my scattered video game library. As I sorted through the various discs, manuals and cases, I found myself having an experience akin to flipping through a school yearbook or a photo album. Each game logo inspired flashes of memory, of people, places, seasons, foods, music. These seemingly random elements are forever bound and tied to these games for me, and I do not always know why.

I played Lufia 2 on an emulator in 1998, when I was supposed to be performing telemarketing duties from home for a local theatre company. Sorry about that, guys, but your plays really sucked. Thanks for the money. Now when I see or hear mention of Lufia 2, I immediately think about the overbearing sunshine and songs like “Summer Girls” and “All-Star” which were often playing in the background. I remember how I had my laptop setup on this hop chest, and I had to kneel down to play it, and how much that would hurt my knees after awhile. Still better than working, though.

Despite how many times I have played and re-played Final Fantasy IX, that game will forever conjure up memories of Christmas, of feeling sick, and eating M&Ms, because that is how I spent my Christmas holidays about 5 years ago. Final Fantasy Tactics, on the other hand, another game I have played often, is linked to Lusipurr’s old Caribbean blue bedroom and ramen noodles, no matter how much time I spend playing that game in my own pink and cream and definitely NOT blue room.

I played Final Fantasy X while recovering from a busted foot. That foot twinges with remembered pain as I write this. I remember that pain and the frustration and embarrassment of that injury before I think of the Sphere system, that dumb sports game, or the infamous “HA HA HA HA” scene.

Any Mario games makes me mentally flash to my mother’s old floor model tv and the ugly orange carpet I would sprawl out on while I played various SNES era Mario games.

Soul Calibur and Brendan are inextricably linked, as are Alex and Sonic games, and Michelle and LittleBigPlanet. Oh, and sushi. The first time I played LittleBigPlanet was also the first time I tasted Formosa’s sushi. Good times.

Games have always been a huge part of my life. They remain my primary hobby and therefore one of the key anchors for my memory. For others things like music, sports or food are their anchor. I could not tell you where I was in the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup back in the 90s. I forget what my graduation song was in 2000. I can tell you what I was eating when I finished Earthbound (Nerds and Fun Dip) and who was there when I finished the final stage of Super Mario Bros 3 (Anna). My only memory of the old hand-me-down TV I had when I first moved into this house is playing Final Fantasy VII on it.

I guess I just have my priorities in order.

0 comments

  1. Great post! Games make for great memories.

    It may surprise you to hear that three ir four years ago we painted my room a very pale shade of aqua green, so it is no longer a REVERBERATING Caribbean blue!

  2. whenever I play Super Mario Brothers I remember being in my big brothers room. my brother had/has a distinct smell so I can smell him whenever I think about the game. I now know that that smell wasn’t him but weed. suddenly that ass whuppin he got when we where kids makes a lot more sense.

  3. Super Mario Bros = Weed. I like it.
    Final Fantasy X reminds me of when we moved house, and I played it in a room with no furniture, just a solitary tv on the floor of a room, because it was supposed to be the master bedroom but we couldn’t fit the bed between the gap left by the beside tables, which had been nailed to the floor. But it took me so long to play the game that I had to move the TV around the house as furniture was taken away and brought in. Fun Times.
    Also, for Ginia:
    http://www.hannahmakesthings.com/p/1041853/retro-gamer-necklace.html

  4. FFVII, VIII, IX and X all evoke a strong sense of time and place. Getting older does funny things to your brain …

  5. My strongest video game memories are probably all Final Fantasy related. Even though it makes no sense, I associate FFIX with the Christmas I first played FFVII. Technically, my brother and I picked up the PC version of VII for our other brother as a cheap Christmas gift, but I ended up getting sucked in, and here I am today :D.

    I’ve also got a bunch of video game related memories from College in one way or another. I remember the first night I met my girlfriend and how 4 of us played Super Smash Brothers in a dorm common room until 3 in the morning, then proceeded to do the same thing several times a week for the next month or so (for all that SSB, you’d think I’d be better at it by now). I’d say you’ve definitely got your priorities in order, Ginia :D.

  6. Some of my video game memories associate places with the games that deeply effected me, yet oddly there are also some fairly average games that have have a strong emotional and geographical resonance with me simply because I experienced them during a formative period of my life. But then … the same also applies to music, there are songs which I deeply despised at the time, which have emotional resonance for me today because of the time and location that I associate with them.

  7. I feel the exact same way Ginia, to the T! In fact, certain places in games stir up memories for me.

    In Super Mario 64, each time I get to Snowman’s Land… memories of Eminem’s first LP, Slim Shady, rush to my mind; and I have to listen to ‘Soap Opera’ ~

    Another great game, Grandia, (specifically when you are put into prison) stirs up a time when my cousin was over, and him and I were forced to go outside and move a huge pile of wood from point A to B. Being young, we were imagining that we were Justin… doing things without thinking, and having an extremely optimistic view on everything.

    Final Fantasy IX, after my cousin finally got me to rent it from blockbuster, we were playing the beginning. We played all night, trying to get a better score on jump rope… or mastering the card game. Then, we continued and tried to master the sword fighting scene. And when we watched Garnet ‘die,’ we thought it was for real!

    The Legend of Dragoon, reminds me of when my cousin and I both had the game, had a TV, and spent a spring vacation at his place, two TVs side my side. Going through a disc a day :) And drawing the artwork from its guidebook.

    Super Mario RPG makes me reminiscent of when I brought it to his place as to which he never saw the game before… I was stuck on the final boss. First time he played it, he beat the final boss for me. (I promptly turned off the console as to not spoil anything else for him) And playing through the game after that, leaving it on all night and jumping out his window — grabbing a bit of oil from his dads racing car garage — and running around the woods, through a farmers field, to the serene creek where we would start a fire and eat the apples we took from the fridge.

    The list goes on and on ~ I totally relate to you Ginia!

  8. two TVs side by* side

    Also, Final Fantasy IX was my first FF, my favorite, and lead me into getting every single other FF (with their respective memories)

  9. Stupid wordpress ate my post! *kicks it*

    The quick re-write version is … thanks for the responses! Excellent taste in games. :D

    Next time I have to clean my house, I’ll pretend I’m Sue or Justin swabbing the deck.

    ps – Do want that necklace juju posted.

  10. Out of curiosity, does it also work the other way around for you too?

    I know for me, if its a rainy day out, the basement gets a certain chill to it and smells like the rain. The SNES hasn’t been in the basement in about ten years, and yet that smell and chill still reminds me of playing Secret of Mana. From chronic stomach bugs as a kid keeping me home from school and eating nothing but crackers, I can’t eat crackers anymore without thinking about first-gen Pokemon. Rainy days or eating crackers don’t necessarily spur me to play those games, but they’re inexplicably tied to them.

    …Also amusing is how many of you associate games with weed. God damn stoners, XD

  11. Consoles definitely have games associated with them for me. I have a million DS games, but I see my broken old original launch DS with the screen falling off and just think about how Pokemon Diamond caused it. And my PSP is attatched permanently to Dissidia, even though that UMD hasn’t been in it for almost four months now.

  12. It’s definitely music that reminds me of what was…when my memory works properly. But while music stirs my memory I do have a touch of gamer. On the computer, the only game I seem to play with regularity is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, though if I get really bored with it I can follow up with a dose of Star Trek: Bridge Commander.

    Your post reminds me of how different the two of us are…but we I hope still have common ground somewhere. I do have a DS and I am currently playing Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga if I need a light diversion. That or else pop in a ’80s arcade classic like Galaga.

    Or perhaps my gaming tastes are too behind the times for me to be relevant, just like my music tastes.