Flashback – 1989

You’re sitting on the floor in your bedroom. It’s late at night and the only source of light is coming from the soft glow of the television. Your parents have already gone to bed but you can’t sleep. No, fate has given you a different task to complete this night; besides, you’re too amped up to go to bed anyways. That’s because you have a NES controller in hand and you just survived Norfair and defeated Ridley.

You’re playing “Metroid”, and this is the night you make it your bitch.

The hauntingly minimalistic tune of Norfair is echoing quietly throughout your room as Samus sits motionless inside the boss chamber. She must be as surprised as you for surviving that fight. “But…,” you think, ”we must press on.” After all, deep in the bowels of Tourian, Mother Brain awaits and your toughest trial is still to come…

…surviving long enough to reach her.

Fatigue is setting in. It’s past your bedtime but your will is strong. Samus is tired too but you’re in this together. You can’t let her down. It hasn’t been easy and the struggles have been fierce but dammit, you’ve got moxie. You steel your resolve, steady your nerves, and take the long walk until you finally descend into Tourian. Your first sight upon arriving, a metroid.

Shit…

Modern Day

You’re feeling nostalgic and wistful. Hellbent on reliving childhood glory, you decide you’re going to break out the ol’ NES, call some friends over, and let everyone relive their 80’s childhood.

“This should be a fun day,” you think to yourself.

You take everything to the living room and start hooking it up to your TV. It’s an LCD but that’s fine, right? You unplug the cable and then try to plug the AC adaptor in.

“Dammit, it’s too fucking big.”

So, you unplug a couple of things to make it fit on the power strip. You don’t have any room in the entertainment center, so you set the NES on the floor. That’s where it used to go anyways, so it will be fine.

You start going through all of your games. There are a lot of memories kept in this box. Ninja Gaiden, Duck Tales, Strider, Mario, Gauntlet, Zelda, Bionic Commando, Duck Hunt, Little Nemo, Mega Man, Faxanadu, Contra, Batman, Life Force, among many others. All faithful companions. Then you come across “Metroid” and your mind drifts off to that fateful night.

You remember getting so close. Mother Brain had been right in front of you but victory was snatched away at the last second. The constant onslaught of the radioactive Cheerios and the relentless assault of the metroids had worn you down too much. You didn’t survive the battle that night. It was a stain, forever imprinted onto your childhood.

The loss was too much and you couldn’t muster up the energy to replenish your supplies after continuing. Your will to complete the game was completely broken. You switched off the NES and went to bed. You never truly returned to “Metroid” after that day. Sure, you ended up using the “Justin Bailey” password to finish things off and tell your friends you beat the game. It wasn’t the same though.

“Not right now,” you say to yourself as you put “Metroid” back into the box.