But I want one of them...
This is now the Sixth installment in an all-new ongoing feature by Olly023 that seeks to delve deep into the mind of a child when certain retro items were not retro, they were the hot new ticket in town!
Drawing mostly from personal thoughts, feelings and experiences of a much younger and less hairy Olly023, he seek's to bounce back to you, the readers, a sense of need and want for select hardware and software titles. Some vaporware, a few he has since obtained and others that fall between the lines. This time round it's time for some Kong!
How hard is it to become a Traitor?
This one may come to somewhat of a shock to some readers, due to the stigma of “Olly023 is a Sega fanboy” combined by my dislike of the console in question. So, what’s this all aboot then? No, not my Canadian imported Dreamcast – rather – the Super Nintendo.
WHAT!? You heard!
First off though, I must warn you. Memory on this one is very hazy in terms of the bulk of the ‘story’ being told, per se. Y’see, it’s something I haven’t remotely researched since, nor can I even recall the full details. Worst off, Nickelodeon being as niche as it was in the UK back in the day, it makes this all even harder to confirm. If anyone out there reading this can help out with my dreamy nostalgia? Please do!
So, now you may well be thinking: Wait, Nickelodeon? SNES? What the hell has Olly023 been smoking now? SHUP! IT HAPPENED! #TRUEFACT
Back in the mid-90’s, a pretty little game featuring a character I had fond memories of (mostly from Game & Watch, however – Donkey Kong Jr. for the win) was released. Nintendo, quite clearly, knew kids would want to get their mits on it Super Nintendo or not. At the time I was still swimming in my Sonic fandom, in love with my MegaDrive and didn’t think twice about the SNES until this point. Quite simply…Donkey Kong Country came out and changed everything. Damn you, Rare!!!
As a kid, my ‘rents were far from high earners, I recognised this at a young age. Did I miss out on stuff? Heck no. But it did mean that I wasn’t that spoilt brat with all the hottest new carts and systems in town. I also knew better than to ask for one, which is why I saved my barely non-existent pocket money to get my super sexy Play It Loud! (RED) Game Boy…But that’s a story for another time.
Point is, no way in hell was I gonna be stupid enough to ask for a brand spanking new Super Nintendo with Donkey Kong Country when I had a perfectly amazing Sega system at home. Little Olly023 just sucked it up, shrugged it off and waited for play at one of two, or both, friends’s houses who has SNES’ instead of MegaDrives (pft, losers) would get it. Funny fact, I don’t recall either actually getting DKC. Da faq!? Alas!
Constant advertisement hits it's target!
Basically, Olly023 was just kicking back, not letting Nintendo and Rare rub in the fact that I couldn’t play their hot new title and get the better of me. Stuff that! Yet, despite the fact we may not have been a rich family, we did have Sky (that’s satellite, yo’). On Sky resided Nickelodeon. Now at some point in time within this rough, fuzzy period of my mind, a young Olly023 was watching said channel, and they started banging on about some sort of lottery event. Basically, a kid would get a card, sit and wait to see if they won every week until the whole promotion was over. Typically, I wouldn’t get hype on these things, now as much as then. But was what was the available prize? Only a gosh-dang SNES with Donkey Kong Country. My eyes widened, my jaw dropped. Pint-sized Olly023 was all over this! BECAUSE YES AND WIN.
However it happened, I can’t at all remember, I did get me one of dem cards and soon became one of those who watched on with sweaty palms. Seriously, I was like a fiend. I had to watch live, it couldn’t be Video Plus’d out of fear of missing out, I couldn’t trust my card in another person’s hands. I wasn’t gonna get screwed! I wanted my Donkey Kong! And so, it was on!
Needless to say, countless hours of cartoons, annoying presenters and people watching through the Trocadero window back drop that was the staple of Nick back then…Nothing. Nada. Big waste of time. Around this same period I did win a competition in the Beano though, so yeah. THAT’S NOT THE POINT, THOUGH! I WAS DEPRIVED OF MY DONKEY KONG!! From then on, it just became a subconscious mission to nab a SNES for a bargain and capture that doofus ape in a tie any way possible. After all, you are looking at the man who was a kid who as a kid got a NES action set boxed and complete for a fiver in-around early ’93. You can’t touch this…
However, over a decade of waking up early every Sunday to try and hit the bootsale, which was then interrupted for a large chunk due to Rugby training (CURSE YOU, SPORTS), which needless to say also made me have to tape cartoons, too. Mind you, that probably attributed to why I was decent at the game, because I just wanted to get things over and done with so I could watch cartoons and play video games. Whatever, though, back on topic! The booty hunt mostly returned no SNES related booty. A fruitless endeavour. No banana for ickle Olly023. It’s funny, because if you step back through these articles thus far posted, you’ll figure out my Saturn search was over and done with much quicker than the SNES. Shows how life works, bit of a bastard, really.
Quitters need to lay off the Bananas!
The years rolled on by, as the N64, GBA and GameCube all joined my Nintendo-based ranks that remained devoid of a Super Nintendo. Then, emulation was discovered. Finally! I could play Donkey Kong Country without the need of an actual SNES! So much rejoice. Also, no, I never owned the handheld port, either. SHUT UP!
It was at this time I realised what a magical thing emulation could be and ultimately is. Nick and Nintendo may have robbed a youngling Olly023, but not one with teenage angst and an internet connection! Olly023 wins! Flawless victory! For the first time I had the opportunity to play through the RARE (not ‘rare’, you crazy eBay sellers) classic. Did it disappoint? Actually, yeah, kind of. I mean, I liked it. I really did. But I think years of expectation, hopes and dreamt-of ‘must be’s’ combined with a million and one playthroughs of Donkey Kong Land on the trusty Game Boy had kinda muddied the waters, so to speak. DK was never gonna rise above those lofty heights, but rather drown I the dirt. Like I said though, it wasn’t that I disliked it, it’s just I did feel a sense of ambivalence from the whole ordeal.
Did it stop there, though? HA! Don’t be silly, Jack! Nothing stops Olly023 when he’s determined! For some reason, despite never recalling enjoying an actual cart of a SNES game outside of F-Zero, nor having many major PAL releases be of interest and particularly focusing on the Japanese Super Famicom and the US library of unheard of gems when it came to my emulating pleasure, I still felt a need to get a SNES. I had to have that closure.
Finally, the day came. I was now a fully punked out college student with a bit of cash that I’d never previously had (pocket money inflated almost as much as NES carts. Almost..). I was over town (Southampton) and browsing the window of GameStation (you know, when they were pre-GAME and, well, awesome). They always had random retro games in stock all between 50p and £3, mostly MD, SNES and Dreamcast. Often various consoles lined the cabinets, the frequency you’d spot a Master System isn’t even funny. Especially the Mk II, because that over here (UK) was like crack once upon a time. People went frikken mentalz, I tells ya. Anyway, I waltzed up to the counter, and just asked straight up:
“Yo, you bitches gots any Super Nintendos n’ ish, or whut!?” [WARNING: may be inaccurate quote]
Needless to say, they responded with a “yeah, we’ve got one out back at the moment, it came in this morning”. I stared at them. They stared back. It was like The Good, The Bad & The Ugly in a video game shop. Shit was intense. Honest. I replied thusly: “gimme dat shit” – they claimed it didn’t know whether it worked – “bitch, I gots da monies now limme see if dat hoe-ass machine works!!” [WARNING: this may also be inaccurate quotage]
The price of discovery and the search for 'Double Luck'
Cautiously, they crept out back. Ten minutes past, at which point I just flicked through all the games they had on display. Standard. They arrived with wires in tow, hooked that bad boy up to the nearest TV and fired up Super Mario Kart for testing. It worked. SCORE! Instantly I dropped all shades of cool and started shaking with excitement and tossing money at the clerk like he was a stripper, before even asking the damn price. Luckily, he offered £30 and however many games (practically all were CIB, I may add) I fancied, roughly. I think I got like 6 or 7 in the end, all of which remain in my collection, as does the console itself.
As many awesome titles I got that day: Killer Instinct, WWF Royal Rumble (oooh yyeauuh), F-Zero, etc. Donkey Kong Country wasn’t one of them. While they may have had a SNES that day, they sure as heck weren’t gonna let me get double luck. Stoopid double luck.
I remember having to take the unboxed machine on a 30-minute bus ride home. That whole time I was thinking: “SNES, if you disappoint me, I swear to GAWD I WILL-“. Luckily, it didn’t I strategically picked games I liked and knew I’d want to replay. When Mummy023 and Daddy023 arrived home, they just laughed off the fact I spent my money on a Super Nintendo of all possible things and no amount of “BUT, F-ZERO” was gonna change that fact.
Now I come to write this and done did tell my story for those of you out there. Yet, if there is one major thing to take away from this, it is one basic fact: Nickolodeon will fuck you. Also, stick with MegaDrive. Also, I still don’t own Donkey Kong Country on the SNES so my mission isn’t over. It will likely be the death of me.
Why the hell must I stress for something I barely care about? Obsession and the feeling of having one done over on me, that’s what! I also feel filthy for writing about wanting a SNES because we all know its for weiners and poopyheads.
And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it... Buy Sega!