How I cheated Christmas with an NES in 1988


This story comes from the personal files. Given the Christmas season and its strong association with new video games for boys and girls the world over, here is one of my most memorable experiences as a video game enthusiast.

Though I dabbled with an Atari 2600, I was raised on the NES. I have so many fond memories of that system because I associate with it so many good times from my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, I think gaming is just as good today as it was back then, but one generally enjoys reminiscing about the past. I am no different.

The year was 1988, and Christmas was quickly approaching. My brother and I had heard really good things about this game called Tecmo Bowl, so we asked the moms to pick it up for us. Turns out, about a month before Christmas we spotted one of the first gifts under the tree that was in the shape of Nintendo cartridge box. Being the busy woman that my mother was at the time, and the fact that she had to track presents for 6 children, my brother and I couldn’t help ourselves. We unwrapped our present a little early one day after school without her noticing.

Sure enough it was the much anticipated Tecmo Bowl. We starting playing immediately. Once the first long session was over, we re-wrapped the gift and slide it back under the tree at night. Next day, rinse and repeat. Pretty soon we started having friends over to play as we we’re the first ones on the block to get the game. It got so bad in the end that my mother would come upstairs, open the door to see us all playing “some video game,” and just assume it was a title we already owned.

On Christmas day, my mom handed my brother and I a tattered, repeatedly-tapped and re-wrapped present, and with a smile asked which one of us wanted to open it. It was no use. We had all but worn out the game playing it daily for a month straight and had grown tired of it. I hope our feigned faces still had enough smile on them to show our appreciation for the great gift that was the original Tecmo Bowl. Thanks, Mom!

So as the holiday season approaches, what fond gaming memories do you have?


  1. I don’t know why – but there’s something about playing Solar Jetman at Thanksgiving that really gets my juices flowing. I received the game around that time, and I have fond memories of this being one of the few games at a holiday that drew in more than just the kids to come play it. I literally had to pull the controller away from my uncle.

    Those waiting to play, stuffed their faces with turkey and yams.

  2. Getting Secret of Mana… greatest game ever. I still replay the game!

  3. Receiving an Atari VCS from an Uncle of mine! This was an unwanted Christmas gift for one of my cousins and sent me on the video game path. Never looked back 😉

  4. I didn’t have a clue. You had already opened and worn the thing out!!?? hahaha lol

  5. I got my NES in 1987 on Christmas Day. It was from Santa, to the whole family. I’ll never forget that, as Nintendo still aims to make gaming experiences for the whole family. I used to play with my sister and my dad (even my mom at first). That’s impossible today. I can’t play Halo or Grand Theft with my family. That’s lame. It would have been cool if I was still 13, but I’m 25. It’s lame now. I’m so thankful that the Revolution is coming. Maybe I can get my sister, or even my dad, to play again.

    That Christmas in 1987 I got Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Goonies II. Goonies II was the first game I ever beat. I will always remember how much it puzzled me that morning, trying to figure it all out for the first time.

    My second favorite is the year after, when I received my favorite game of all time, The Legend of Zelda. I had spent months begging for it. I can remember telling both my Mother and by barber every little intricacy of the game. It was sold out at every store, much like trying to find a 360 today. My dad finally found one on a trip to New York City, and he paid $60. I’ve never seen $60 better spent on a video game.

  6. Moms are the BEST!!! Especially ours.

  7. I got Air Fortress for the NES for Christmas one year. Man, I still remember the stress of trying to get out of the fortresses before they blew up.

    I also remeber one year that I got a bunch of accessories for the original game boy. I got a rechargeable battery pack, a carrying case, and some sort of screen magnifier that also had lights on it to illuminate the screen.

    And that picture of Tecmo Bowl reminded me that one year I got Tecmo Super Baseball for the SNES. I played the crap out of that one. I loved the fielding perspective. Mode 7, you know. Heh.

  8. I remember one Christmas, a long time ago, I got Super Smash Bros for the N64. I actually got it kinda late, awhile after the release date. But it still was a great game, and a fond memory. More recently, though, I remember that for my birthday(which is in December) I traded my GBA for an SP. With the leftover money I had, I bought Mario and Luigi close to the release(so this was to years ago? or three..or maybe four).Anyway, to this day I still associate Christmas lights with M&L, and my new shiny GBASP…..