This past week my girlfriend received her acceptance letter from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She had been working towards this dream for the last year and when her acceptance letter finally came it was a moment of pure enjoyment for her.
Something that she had worked so hard for had finally come to fruition. All of her hours of studying and doing homework, all the times she had to sacrifice hanging with friends for school work had finally amounted to the one thing she had wanted all along.
This sparked my brain into thinking, what was my acceptance letter moment? Of course I could come up with my real life moments: graduating from college, getting my first job, the Steelers winning the Super Bowl. Those moments were all interesting, but my brain shifted to video gaming. What were my video game acceptance letter moments? What were the moments I was so joyful I couldn’t control myself? What were the moments my work or patience had finally paid off?
I thought back on my two decades of gaming and came up with a few moments in my video game life that I could categorize as my video game acceptance letters.
Finally Getting my Nintendo 64
It was Christmas of 1998 the N64 had been out for just over two years and on every birthday and every Christmas for those two years I had asked for nothing but an N64. I had grown tired of my Sega Genesis and had watched as all my friends had received an N64, now it was my turn to finally get one.
For the third Christmas in a row I had asked Santa and my parents for an N64. After two years of disappointment I was expecting to be greeted by another empty year.
My family and I were celebrating with our close family friends a few days before Christmas and had finally gotten to gift giving. Being a child this was the moment I had been waiting for all night. I had no expectations of receiving an N64 on that night; I was just excited to be receiving gifts. If I was going to get my N64 this year it would come from Santa, right?
My family friend Karen handed me my first present of the night, a small rectangular box. I ripped through the wrapping paper with ease to reveal Diddy Kong Racing. What was this? Did she not know I didn’t have an N64?
“Will that work on your Sega?” she asked me.
No it can’t, I thought to myself. I would have figured that trick out by now. But it was a cartridge just like the Sega Genesis games were, maybe it could work, “I think so” I responded.
“Well I don’t know if this next one will work either than”, she said as she handed me the second gift, a larger rectangular shaped box.
This time I was slower to rip the wrapping paper, dreading what would be revealed behind its beauty. As I cautiously removed the barrier between me and the present I was greeted by an N64 controller.
“I am sorry honey, I kept the receipts. I can return them.” Karen said to me in a comforting tone.
Now the joy of receiving gifts had been completely removed leaving me with nothing but a pit of despair. How could she not have known I didn’t have an N64? Why hadn’t she called me to double check?
“This last one might actually be better, I hope.” She said while trying to mask a smile.
I perked up a little; at least I was going to be getting one gift I could use that night. I looked over at her as she pulled out a large rectangular box. Wait, what was going on? The gears in my head started to turn as I began piecing the puzzle together. An N64 game, an N64 controller…could it be?
As my brother, sister and I tore through the wrapping paper like wolves devouring its prey, the one thing I had wanted more than anything else for the past two years sat there staring back at me, my very own N64.
Overcome with pure joy I couldn’t control myself, I fell straight on my back with a huge smile on my face as tears of joy started to emerge from my eyes. All I could scream over and over again was “thank you”.
The moment had finally come, I had finally achieved the dream I had been waiting on for two years. I was an official Nintendo 64 owner.
When Zelda Ocarina of Time was released in 1998 my life was forever changed. I had never experienced anything like it, the world was so in depth it felt as if I was whisked away to another place every time I turned on my N64. Just like the N64 I was late to the Zelda party. I had played at my friends’ houses, heard them talking about how to beat temples and of course heard about how Link “grew up”.
When I had finally received my copy of Zelda Ocarina of Time from my parents for my birthday I had already known that eventually Link would turn into “Adult Link”. I even knew that this occurred after beating Jabu-Jabu’s belly, but I had never seen Adult Link or knew what was in store for me after this moment.
After days of fighting through the first dungeons and finally collecting all the “Spiritual Stones” it was time for me to finally become an adult. I watched in anticipation as Ganondorf laughed revealing his evil plan and I was finally was greeted by Rauru, the sage of light.
The camera panned out from a first person view to reveal Adult Link. There he stood, tall, beautiful and grown up. To this day it is still one of the moments in gaming that has brought me the most joy. I had worked so hard to finally become adult link and the reward was so sweet.
There have been countless other moments in my gaming past that have brought forth this feeling and I am sure there will be many more to come, but I want to know what your acceptance letter moments have been.
What moments in your video game past have filled you with pure joy? What was the one thing you worked the hardest to get in a video game? Let me know in the comments below.