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March 11, 2012 / jwaxo

Luigi’s Mansion (Fanboyism)

If I had known that it was pretty much Ghostbusters: the Game

This is probably the latest on the timeline that I think I can go and still safely call it as part of “my childhood.” Not to say that, once in high school, I was no longer a child, or that video games stopped teaching me things. I just think we all agree that there’s some kind of threshold there, between the magical days of your youth and the grittier, less formative ones. Both sides of that line impact the rest of your life, but both for completely different reasons.

In any case, this takes place during my final year of middle school. Eighth grade. I was almost thirteen, was almost done with my second major lump of school. I’ve talked about this time once previously, but only skirted the main topic of the day:

We were at war.

It wasn’t a war seen by everyone, definitely not by the adults. In a post-9/11 world, such things like this eternal battle were quickly brushed aside as unimportant. But it was among the most important things in the world to us.

The console war.

Traditionalists will recall the most epic of console battles in time. The Atari and the Commodore 64. The SNES and the Sega Genesis. The GameBoy and the Game Gear. On the previous generation, Sony had come out of nowhere and produced the Playstation, which competed heavily with the N64 and knocked Sega for a loop.

The fight was continuous, ongoing, and created so many minor spats that I can’t list them all here.

Something like this.

And then we came into what they call “the sixth generation”. The generation count, by the way, started in the early 70’s with the release of Magnavox’s home console systems. Every few years since then, a multitude of companies all release new consoles at the same time, to compete with each other in the most effective manner. In this particular year, we were gearing up for the best releases ever.

  • In one corner, the early-runner Sega, with the Dreamcast. It sported a gigantic, unwieldy controller, sharp graphics on our favorite Sonic, and some neat gimmicks in terms of the memory cards being able to play games; in the end, none of these would save the Dreamcast, and it ended up the clearcut loser, dragging Sega down with it.
  • In another corner, the sequel to the previous generation’s “winner”: the Playstation 2. As we all know, the PS2 would eventually grow to have the most robust library of any game console, and, at this time, still has sold more units than every other console–combined.
  • In the third corner was yet another newcomer, the Microsoft X-Box. It boasted a slightly smaller controller than the Dreamcast, decent hardware, the backing of one of the largest corporations in the US, and some sweet trailers for this little game called Halo.

Finally, the fourth contender was my personal favorite. It was purple. It was square. It was the Nintendo GameCube.

So… purple.

What’s really stupid about how wrapped up I got in this whole “fanaticism” thing was that, prior to this console war, I never really loved one particular company over the other. We started out with an NES, sure, but then we moved to a Sega Genesis, then split off to the N64 and a Playstation. Our rule was generally “if it’s fun, we’ll play on it.”

But something about the X-Box, that hated black box with its big, rebelliously green X on it, rustled my jimmies. If you will. And so I picked a side.

Throughout the halls of the middle school fights would break out. Kids arguing over if aliens are more fun to kill than terrorists, using words like “internet compatibility” and “processing power” and “LAN connections.” Things that I didn’t really know about or care about, because I didn’t know how or if they impacted the GameCube. But I took up my sword and threw down with the best of them. I invented a few good rhymes that proclaimed it was impossible to tell the X-Box from the average contents of a toilet, and had some quippy comebacks about the lameness of the Playstation 2’s name.

The worst part was, we only really knew about one for-sure release for the GameCube, apart from some promised Zelda title in the future. And that for-sure release, the launch title, looked admittedly weak and stupid. I mean… you explore a big house as a famous character’s brother, armed with a vacuum?

But I choked back these concerns. I had to defend my side.

Eventually I realized the stupidity of it all, that it was all just buying into what the corporations wanted, that all of the consoles had their major ups and major downs. And my concerns about Luigi’s Mansion were well-placed: it was a fun game, but it was a poor choice for a launch title.

Now I know better. Owning all consoles shows those corporations who’s boss!


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