Editorial: Gaming on Vacation

I wish I was on this plane!
I wish I was on this plane!

As the summer comes to a close, many people are trying to squeeze in one last attempt at a vacation away from home. In one of these last ditch attempts what was a young boy to do when his mother wanted to go to Disneyland but he wanted to stay home and play Nintendo 64? Bring along his portable game systems of course. Having a Game Boy for the long plane rides was a blessing in many respects. Pokemon Red, Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon: Pinball were a true joy to have 30,000 feet in the air. I was never into the crappy in-flight cuts of movies, nor the shitty magazines that they provide for you, for me it was all about my Game Boy and almost eight uninterrupted hours of play.

For those of you who have not been on an airplane, the worst part of the entire experience was the painful wait for the plane to be at a “safe distance” from the ground so we could “turn on all approved electronic devices”. Come to find out even if you leave a portable game system on it really does not affect the plane in way, shape, or form. Oh, those hours were the best. Someone giving you a free Coke whenever you needed one and what seems like a lifetime supply of honey roasted peanuts.

Sadly, those hours would quickly come to an end and my mother and I would finish the day long trek from the great state of Maryland to the state of California. We would then pick up our bags, exit the airport and get in a van headed for the hotel. Once at the hotel we would do all the checking in, changing into more comfortable clothes, and then head to Disneyland, which was just across the street. For anyone who has been to a theme park you will know that everything you go to requires you to go to the back of a line. Once my mother and I had joined the back of said line, I would quickly whip out my Game Boy and pick up where I left off. If you can imagine the risible scene of myself, as a young child, walking closely behind my mother whilst playing Pokemon Red bumping into her every time the line would stop moving. At one point, my mother got so infuriated that she turned around to me and told me to stop bumping into her or she would take away my Game Boy.

Banjo Plane Schematic Promo
I don’t want to be on this plane.

Over the many years of vacations the two of us took, I started to be able to follow my mother around while still being able to play whatever game I was playing at the time. It was almost like I was using one eye to follow her around and the other eye to game, this technique came in handy during trips to the grocery store as well as visits with my father. Oddly, I know of some people who would even bring their home consoles with them on vacation, to which I ask, why?

You go on vacation to go do something you normally do not get to do everyday or relax away from the troubles of home but, to bring a home console along as well seems rather odd. Maybe that is how some people like to do their vacation, personally I like hanging out with my family. Then you might ask why bring along your Game Boy or PSP? My answer, because I need something to do when my family is not doing anything or those moments where I need to kill a minute or two.

Presently, I am writing this post whilst on vacation with my mother. I am sitting in a hotel room by myself with Kingdom Hearts: 3D paused on my 3DS. Nowadays, I do not whip out my DS every time we are in a line like I used to as a child but, I still find a couple of minutes here and there to get some play time in. I also notice that as an adult I am kind of embarrassed to be playing my 3DS in public. It is kind of childish but I feel like people will look at me and think something to the effect of “he traveled all this way, spending hundreds of dollars, just to play his Game Boy?”. This is not to say that I will no longer be taking a game with me when I go out but, I may be a little more aware of what I am doing while playing.

What of you readers? Have you brought games with you on vacation? Did you, perchance, play Final Fantasy VI? Or is the thought of playing games on vacation foreign to you? Let me know in the comments.


  1. I also notice that as an adult I am kind of embarrassed to be playing my 3DS in public. It is kind of childish but I feel like people will look at me and think something to the effect of “he traveled all this way, spending hundreds of dollars, just to play his Game Boy?”

    I know exactly how you feel. It is for this reason that I do not, for example, take my portable systems to school. There is a sense that what we are doing there requires us to be very focused and efficient, and that time should not be spent on games. Also, a sense that games are beneath us, in some way–and that academic pursuits should be what we do in our free time as well as in our working time.

    When I am out in public, there is a sense that people will look at me and think, “that is a bit childish,” or something of the sort. This is, of course, nonsense. And besides, who gives a tinker’s toot what a bunch of closed-minded, snobbish asshats think? (I mean, other than our readers. That’s why they come here, right?)

    So ultimately, I think you should forget about what others think and play games and have fun. It’ll make your thinking better. It’ll make you more relaxed. And I, for my part, intend to try and do the same from here on out. My 3DS XL is going with me everywhere from now on.

  2. Couldn’t give a stuff about what people think about my playing – but playing games in public generally holds very little interest for me.

  3. Whenever I travel I’ll bring at least three sytems with me; my DS, PSP and iPhone. Between those and books I never want for entertainment.

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