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Playing the Game
The furious pushing of buttons was music to my ears. My sister and I sat cuddling on the couch, our breath becoming one. My father was looking at the T.V. screen trying to not to blink. While my mother, at the edge of her seat, leaned over her pregnant belly. The ominous Japanese music hinted of danger.
Most nights of my childhood were like this. After my father would get home from work, I would run over to the Nintendo 64 and press the power button. The Legend of Zelda was the only game we ever played. The light flashed and the screen illuminated the dark room. We sat down as a family, beating this game together. The character on the screen would swing his sword and defeat the evil creatures haunting our world.
Click. I turned on the Nintendo 64, now covered in dust. The TV screen flashed and I sat down, controller in hand. My littlest sister looked at the screen wide eyed, some how recognizing it, even if she was never really there. The high-pitched Japanese music was the melody of our family.
“I missed you.” I whispered to the game. Clicking the button, I started replaying through the misadventures of my childhood. There stood Shigeru Miyamoto’s famous character in the green tunic. The graphics were still great quality; an amazing feat for the industry had changed so much within the ten years since it had been released.
An hour or so into it, I came across a scenario in which I was to follow a monkey into a forest maze. I was pulled back into the night where my father first played that same scenario.
It had been an awful day. I was crying and my mother was frustrated at my childish emotion.
“You can’t be so bossy, Gillian.” She looked at me from across the dinner table. My father shook his head.
“I- I just wanted to be the leader for once. Caroline is-”
“This isn’t about Caroline, this is about you being bossy,” I pushed around the food on my plate, sobbing. My Mother’s tone softened. “I love you. I just want you to be happy, and you won’t make very many friends being bossy.”
My father picked me up and left the room. We went into the family room and he clicked the power button.
“Let’s play Hink.” He referred to what I used to call the game. He followed the Monkey through the maze, getting to the prize at the end.
I snapped back to the task at hand, trying not to remember my past immaturity. I had grown so much since then, but yet in some ways I had grown so little. I still was mildly stubborn, and incredibly ambitious. Replaying the game. Never changing the past.
My family today is slightly more fractured than it was years ago, but that’s the toll growing up takes. Even so, they are the most important part of my life. My Sister’s my best friends, and my parents my heroes. I will always cherish the time we spend together.
The game influenced me in many ways. My sister and I will always have the music on our iPod’s, my family will always have the games, and I will most likely play it for years. It served as the glue in our family during the rough times. It remains to be the reminder that we can be together no matter what happens. Whether our character gets hurt, or when my mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. We have and will get through it together.