Here in Blend Games we’re celebrating by counting down by reliving some of our favorite holiday gaming memories, in an effort to boost your Christmas spirit. There’s nothing quite like finding a new game console under the tree. So without further ado:
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Ironically enough, I first saw the commercials for what would become the greatest gaming gift at my Grandmother’s house, surrounded by family members during Thanksgiving. In just a few short weeks, we would all be together again, passing around huge bowls of wedding soup and pasta, and catching up on what happened between the holidays.
I remember it like it was yesterday: that short 30-second promo spot featured live actors dressed up in skin tight outfits, bearing prop shark teeth and breathing real fire—almost like what the 2D digitized actors would be doing on my own TV as soon as I tore the game away from the wrapping paper. New sweaters? Stockings packed with candy? Just pass me the little box in the corner shaped like an SNES cartridge.
This was a game I had wanted for months, with most of the time prior being devoted to it at the arcade at the Mill Run Movie Theatre back in Ohio. Those days taught me many things, including proper arcade etiquette by placing a quarter near the screen to call the next game. It taught me how to uppercut an opponent and promptly slide underneath them for a two-hit combo. It taught me that Mode 7 graphics could be used for something besides racing games, thank god. It taught me what the hell a ‘Babality’ was.
That game was Mortal Kombat II for the Super Nintendo.
The game that proposed the questions, do I feel like ripping my opponent’s arms off or burning them alive? Bifurcating them with a spear or with my bare hands? Or should I take the easy route and just shock the shit out of them until they blow up? Ah, the difficult problems I had to face at thirteen.
It was already set to be a great Christmas at home after visiting with our extended family (we always saved it for when we got back, as decided by my brother and I). Just hours before, I got the chance to play games with my cousins for awhile, had a ton of food and visited with folks I hadn’t seen since MKII debuted in arcades it seemed. Now it was time to head back home claim the prize.
It seemed like as soon as the garage door was clicked open, the seatbelts and gloves were off and my brother and I were in a full on, haul-ass mode for the Christmas tree. Granted, we still had to wait for the parents to come upstairs and join, but at least we could sift through the presents and check who’s getting what box and how big it is and what might be inside.
There’s something special about that span of ten or fifteen seconds after the gifts are discovered and before the parents join in. That little pocket of time devoted to checking names on the tags, lining up the order of what’s going to be unwrapped and just taking in the fact that in just a few moments you’ll be in possession of more stuff.
We didn’t just open the gifts this time though—we damn near ripped through the boxes underneath. There were Exo Squad figures, clothes, a tent (that’s actually been used only once to this day) and who knows what else—I was only looking for that small, rectangular box. But where was it?
It had been ten minutes and a dozen presents later and I was in a near panic—there was no game in sight. Where the hell was my Mortal Kombat!?
Then, as if some weird Michael Bay-inspired dramatic slow motion took over our entire household, I saw the outline of a small cardboard box against the red fuzz of the stocking.
The next few months provided one of the best gaming experiences I had since finally beating the ‘Dam’ level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES. It was a Christmas miracle…only with a lot more body parts flying around.
Read all of Cinema Blend's 12 Days of Christmas features in other sections by clicking here.