Christmas of ’97 (Nostalgia, Space Jam and Bandicoots)

My first console, the Playstation, Ahhh to be 7 again.

My parents were initially concerned about getting me a game console. “It’ll rot his brain.” “He’ll stop playing baseball.” “Video games are a waste of time.” All things I heard before and after they broke down and got me a Playstation for Christmas in 1997. I was in a town near Syracuse, New York at my Uncle and Aunt’s house. There was a lot of family there, something that’s become a relic of the past over the years. Waking up and looking under the massive tree made my jaw drop. Since there were so many of us, the amount of gifts was much higher than in previous years.

I remember doubting I was going to get a Playstation, due to my parents disapproval. (Although I did once catch my Dad playing Crash after I’d gone to bed…) I got a fun Space Jam toy which I loved and a badass remote control car (another first). Pretty good Christmas. Didn’t get what I really wanted, but I was content. A happy camper. Then my Dad brought in a box, all inconspicuous like, and said something like “Hey, look what I found.”

My heart accelerated. Eyes widened. Palms became sweaty. Was this real life? I unwrapped the gift with great fervor, and saw the gift that would change my life. I was ecstatic; I don’t have an old home movie documenting the morning, but it was probably kinda like this.

The games I got were Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and the old forgotten classic (not really though) 2Xtreme. My sister and I spent most of the afternoon enthralled by Crash Bandicoot. I’d played the demo at a Toy’s R’ Us and made up my mind right there that I’d be getting a PS1 despite most of my friends going the N64 route. I was so young, so innocent, such a n00b, beating a level felt like a true accomplishment. I remember rushing into the dining room and yelling, “we got 3 crystals!!” to my parents as if we’d set a world record.

Christmas of 97. One of my best childhood memories, and my entry to the gaming world. What was your first gaming console? What games did you get? Do you remember it like it was last week like I do?

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