“Save Point(s)” are personal anecdotes where we, the hosts of Press X to Examine, share our experiences and connection to the video game or video game genre at hand.
Get to know Charlie in this bonus episode.
Big, BIG Thank You to DJ MZA for curating and editing in the music for this episode.
This Episode was produced and written by Charlie Vissesmith and Shane Rivera
Edited by Shane Rivera
Sound Mastered by DJ MZA
Music curated by DJ MZA of Soul Circle Radio (soulcircleradio.com)
I’m a bit older than the other guys… And I started playing games as far back as the first nintendo.
It all started at my sisters friends house. I don’t remember why we were there, but I just remember they had a Nintendo. They played, and I watched. My dad watched me watch. I played a little, but the other guys hogged it all, you know what mean.
So, I watched some more…And My dad …he watched me watch.
I was engrossed by what they were doing. Fascinated. The very observant person my dad was he observed that as well.
Afterwards my dad turned to me and said, “I gotta get you one of these Nintendo’s, Man!”
“OHHH HELL YEAH DAD!”
We went off to FedCo… This was around 1986 or 87, I’m not entirely sure. My dad was taking his sweet old time trying to figure out which set to get. Don’t get me wrong I was grateful, but WHY DID HE HAVE TO TAKE SOOO LONG, MAN!
Checking the price on this bundle, the step down from that, and the even cheaper set.
I thought to myself, “Ok Dad, hurry up.”
He ended up getting the Deluxe Edition. Because that’s the way I role Baby! (Laughter)
I still have the entire set. The price tag is still on it , even. $149. It was originally $200 which would be the equivalent of $475 today! That was a lot of dough back in those days! Back in my days.
I played Duck Hunt, because it came with the system. Of course I stood right in front of the TV, press the gun barrel against the screen over the ducks and fired away. Cheat Mode baby!
The beginnings of my cheat mode days.
Gyro mite was cool, because you could actually use ROB to assist you while you were playing. I only played it once. It was a crazy set-up. Man, you to do this like 40-something degree angle, or some shit…on player two and I had to sit over here and I could only get him to link up once, so I kind of gave up after that. But, when I did, that was some pretty sweet tech back in the day. But other than that that sucked. …It didn’t suck, I was just into other games…yeah…anyway let’s move on.
I only had Gyromite and Duck Hunt for awhile, but my Aunt…she had a Sugar Daddy. His name was Willy. We called him Uncle Willy. My Aunt said she was going to get me a couple of games for my birthday, and I was like, “Oh hell YEAH!”
After what was three, four, five…I don’t know, it felt like eternity man…hours shopping! For women’s clothes…I was about to drop. But you know what? I saw the light.
In the distance, there it was. I saw big, giant, R.O.B. Robot in the store! I’m like,”Wait a minute. Am I seeing things? It had Nintendo games in it! In the middle of a Macy’s?! Oh MAN!”
I grabbed my aunt. I’m like, “I want that. I want that right there.”
I still remember Uncle Willy’s face, ’cause he had to pay retail price for two Nintendo games. That probably cost like $100-some, and he gave me a death stare.
“Why the hell is this so expensive!? SHIT!” (Laughter)
So, I picked two games. I knew Super Mario Brothers was the way to go. That’s originally what I wanted to buy and play. I didn’t know what else was good, so I got Recking Crew. Which was “eh.” It had Mario in it, but it was “eh.”
I didn’t have a lot of games, so I would play games with my best friend Jose. Now he had, Super Mario Brothers 2, Super Mario Brothers 3, Ninja Turtles 3 and Captain Bucky O’Hare. Thos were some tip-top titles.
….and Dragon Warrior, but that a-whole-nother for a later.
Games were everything at this time I was ADDICTED! Shaking with excitement. Sadly I haven’t felt that kind of excitement for games in a very long time, but I did feel excited when the Wii U came out. Some people say its good some people hate the system, but thats another story I’m not going to get into that.
But that excitement, everything was brand new to me as it is to everyone at that age.
The sound had a big effect on me. Hearing those game tones, 8-bit sounds, chip tunes.
Mega Man 2 was when I really dug into Action Platformers. That had, to me what was, an EPIC sound track. Popping that in for the first time in my NES.
Starts out with a little text, a little back story of the creation of Mega Man by Dr. Light to “Stop the Evil Desires of Dr. Wily”… while a slow melody is playing. When the text is over the “Camera” starts to pan up a building and the soundtrack gets faster as the “camera” rises higher and higher.
Mega Man is standing on top of the building without his helmet, hair swished around by the wind and then the THEME KICKS IN!!!! Rockin’ it up!
Man I’m sooo PUMPED!!!
NES game music, gives me goosebumps especially that one.
Feel the same way whenever I rehear Zelda’s theme…
Love the Castlevania 3 opener, aww man…so epic…
By the time I started Junior High School I started to learn the guitar, started to become a musician…and I feel like those soundtracks I heard, previous, really helped to open up the love that I had for music. A lot of the old soundtracks they were more solo based and they had a deeper feeling than just the usual, “Beat Only” kind of music. These sounds were so melodic.
The sound tracks these days tend to be on the generic side and bland.
So, those sounds really had an impact on me musically.
I know Final Fantasy VII came out much later, but that sound track…OH DAMN!
[Charlie addresses Shane who is recording Charlie] “What’s his name Shane?”
You got Clouds Theme…
You got Tifa’s Theme…
You Aeris’ Theme…Oh I love that one.
Can’t forget the opening theme.
This brings back so many memories from playing Final Fantasy 1 US. Man…
So, like I said, I was addicted to all types of games. It didn’t start with RPG’s, though RPG’s are a major factor, even to this day.
There were all sorts of styles of games and I wanted to play as much as I could. Still young, the only way I could get games, from my parents…there was a whole lot of begging involved. Whether a new game was coming out or I just wanted a new game
We’d be at the mall and I’d see a game for $19.99, I didn’t care what it was. If it was $19.99 it was probably a crappy game,
But MAN I played everything to the MAX! No matter how crappy the game was I played it to the fullest. Because mainly as a child, you know, I didn’t have any money. So I played whatever I could get my hands on. There was no way to know whether something was good or not. There was no internet, not like you lucky Mothers have today. There were no magazines to speak of. I was so addicted to games I read the manuals front to back, over and over.
In the bathroom on the toilet I would read that shit while I’m taking a shit…
“Charlie! What’s taking so long!?”
At the dinner table, while eating dinner…
“Charlie, Eat your food.”
I would study that shit 50 times! Man If I was as dedicated to my studies as I was to reading those instruction manuals I’d be an Astrophysicist!!!! You know what I’m sayin’?
The 3rd Legend of Zelda, A link to the past…
Around that point I actually played a little bit less. I was in Junior High and I started to play the guitar a lot more. I went into music.
I played games less but I still played enough. I kept chugging along with, playing. I just had A Lot..Less…Games.
Just when the N64 came out I started to work, I was 16. Finally had enough money to buy my own games. I Still played less. But multiplayer games on the N64 were great. Multiplayer games I played, especially with my younger brother and my band-mates.
We played Mario Kart 64 a lot! So much fun and laughter, talking smack…
“Man, I just beat you with the princess!” (Laughter)
This started a new age in gaming for me. It started my multiplayer age.
Most of the games from before, they were single player games. Even when it was a 2 player game, in most cases you didn’t necessarily play together. Usually you would take turns. But Mario Kart 64, Golden Eye, you could play with 4 players at once.
I began to play with people. Either in a competitive position or a supportive role, rather than solo. And it really made it fun…We laughed a lot. Had a lot of fun together… with friends.
Some years later I got my second job at, Planet-X, a Gamestop store. That’s where I met a lot of my very close friends. Shane was one of them. He used to call me on the phone and my answering machine would be full of stuff like this!
[Answering machine recording 1]
Oh, here’s another…
[Answering machine recording 2]
Basically, he wanted to come over and play Halo.
We started having Halo parties, 4 players. Then Halo Lan parties with 8 player. 16 players.
It was crazy. Oh man, just laughing together, talking smack!
Keeping some of the same friends, we moved on to playing Gears of War online.
“I’m in the Zone Baby!!”
I’d be saying Cole Train’s lines the whole time…I was Cole Train!!! It was just soo fun. Everybody was laughing at the Cole Train thing…I can’t do it as well now…but you get the gist of it!
That love of Multiplayer games really grew. I started playing A LOT of multiplayer. It had to be multiplayer. I couldn’t play alone anymore.
First-Person shooters, Third-Person shooters, MMO’s…
With these MMO’s, massive amount of players man. They got me back to RPG’s. Classics.
Now I made mention of platforms earlier, but RPG’s…that was the way to go.
Well, let me tell you about my very first RPG.
Again there was no internet, right? No strategy guides. No magazines. But eventually, there was a newsletter. Nintendo Fun Club. This was about 1987. With a subscription to the club came a ten page pamphlet with news of upcoming games, strategies, subscriber stories. If I wasn’t reading those instruction manuals I was reading the Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter. When the second volume started there was a subscription card for something called Nintendo Power!
Now, there was a deal, “Subscribe to Nintendo Power and get a FREE game.”
Man, I am there BABY!
And so…the begging quest begins.
“look, look, it even comes with a free game!!!”
Everyday for about a week of begging, my mom finally gave in.
“Okayyyy! Ho much is it?!”
We filled the subscription card out, she wrote a check, and we mailed it out.
The card said it would take Six to Eight weeks to process…but there was something strange going on.
Several weeks later my friends got theirs. So, after school I got excited…MAN I rushed home as fast as I could and checked the mail box.
“Nothing. Maybe tomorrow.”
After School…I rush home again. Checked the box again.
And the next…
“Maybe we should send it again, mom. Maybe it got lost.”
Another week of checking…
I was crying. Balling…
My mom wouldn’t mail a new one out. All my friends got theirs and I got nothing!
It’s never coming, man!
4 months pass… 4MONTHS!!! And still nothing. I basically gave up.
But Christmas was coming so I had to get ready for that.
My whole family was over, Aunts and Uncles, Cousins from Thailand (Fact Check this).
We were all grabbing presents from under the tree and opening the ones with our names on it.
There was mine baby! Unwrapped it.
“Oh my god. Oh my…”
“Nintendo Power… 4 issues… and Dragon Warrior?! Oh man! Dragon Warrior!”
“I’ve been suffering all this time and she had them all along!?”
I started to get mad at my mom for a second. I almost screwed things up.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
but she gave me the Mom death stare, so I was like, “Ok I’d better shut-up.”
I stopped complaining. Ran over to the Nintendo and popped Dragon Warrior in.
I played for the rest of the night/day. Ignoring everyone else.
So remember kids, when you’re begging for that game don’t say, “Can I have this for Christmas?” You know what? She might actually keep it from you till Christmas.