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August 31, 2011 / jwaxo

Goldeneye 007 (Deposits and Contracts)

Still looks like a giant pencil to me.

This is gradually growing to be an archaic topic, but back in the day you weren’t just able to rent games and movies, but entire game consoles, too. We would always dream of renting these futuristic electronics, pooling our moneys for a legendary weekend or two with four of us living in the family room, playing on the brand new, radically awesome console of choice. Even as kids we knew that the cost-effectiveness of this plan was obviously stupid compared to our small allowances, but that didn’t stop us from dreaming every time we saw a display case in the local Hastings.

For my brother’s 13th birthday party my parents at last fulfilled this dream with the rental of a Nintendo 64 and Goldeneye 007, a game based off of the most excellent James Bond movie that had come out only a few years earlier and regaled us with the dashingly handsome Pierce Brosnan, still in his prime, and some of the coolest action sequences our little kid eyes had seen. PG-13 rating nonwithstanding, of course.

The rental and the game would create a suitable nightmare for all involved before it was over.

But before we get into that, I want to wax nostalgia about birthday parties some, because they are never as good as they were when we were preteens.

What happened to themed birthday parties, first of all? My mom had a big book of theme ideas for birthday parties that I’m pretty sure we followed more often than not, and we lovingly dove back into it at least three times a year for ideas on what we should do. Nowadays if you did that it would only be for irony’s sake. I want my awesome Clue party again, where everyone dressed up as the character they were playing, or maybe that awesome split birthday party between me and Best Friend which was pirate themed!

As you can see, ninjas were ready to attack us at all times.

I guess by the time you’re 13 you’re too old for these themed parties (unless you’re my sister and have 50’s poodle-skirt parties well into high school, but girls get free passes), leaving my brother to just invite all of his friends and have pizza and play video games. I was 9, meaning I got a free pass to be included in almost all of the festivities except for the requisite late-night movie watching or getting to sleep in the basement. But when news that we were renting an N64 and Goldeneye itself reached me, I became even more excited for my brother’s birthday than usual.

I mean, there’s just something exciting about watching someone else open presents, isn’t there? Especially when you know that you’ll get to play with most of them, anyway.

But now we’d get to play Goldeneye, that game we had seen all of the awesome-looking for, all of our friends had raved about, kids’ magazines were running articles on, and, in our imagination, had grown to be a massively awesome, game-changing experience.

And it actually was.

Before this, our first-person shooter experiences had been entirely on our PC and had mostly been games like Wolfenstein or Chex Quest or the demo for Quake 2 that we were very careful not to let our parents ever see. Goldeneye was kind of like those games in the same way that Apocalypse Now Rambo III. Just, you know, in a different chronological order, in terms of release dates. But we’re talking about enemies that had complex, interesting animations, dropping weapons that you were able to pick up. We’re talking a semblance of physics in terms of objects that can be blown up. A tank that can be driven. Unlockable cheat codes. And, most importantly,

With our lack of modem or networked computers, this was something we had never experienced, even with our sad attempts at split-screen competition.

This guy. Look at him. So snide. He knows what’s contained within.
Plus, that mouth.

So yes, we had many reasons to look forward to playing Goldeneye 007.

It never saw the inside of our house.

Here’s the timeline:

Wednesday, ten days before my brother’s birthday, my parents announce to him that they will rent this game and this system for his birthday party. They drive to Hastings and lay down a deposit as well as reserving the console.

The next Wednesday my brother has invited all of his friends, many of which are excited to come to the party and get to play Goldeneye, among other usual birthday things.

Friday we go to pick up the game from Hastings.

Here’s where it all went wrong:

“We have the wrong information on the sheet here.”

“Your receipt looks tampered with.”

“We lost your deposit check.”

These excuses and more are things my parents heard from the kid behind the counter at Hastings. As luck would have it, they would still rent out a system to us–presuming we paid the fee for not reserving the system.

After the concept of a deposit was explained to me, I didn’t understand anything. We had paid the deposit, right? Even if it was a check, they had the check! The point of the deposit was to make sure we returned the stuff! This clearly meant we got a free system.

And that’s why you get things in writing.


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