Litany of Gaming

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have access to some type of gaming system, whether it was a Tiger electronics handheld,  those “learning” games you had to plug into the TV before computers were a household item, or a Tamagotchi (hey, it counts!).

I started playing games with my family as a social activity. My mom, sister and aunt would play sometimes and I had 2 younger cousins who lived down the block who were into games for a while. Of all of us, I’m the only one who still plays. I’m terrible with dates, but I want to go back as far as possible. I hope you’ll share your history too!

The Fuzzy Days: One of my aunts had an old IBM PC with a game called Gertrude that I begged her to let me play during every visit. My other aunt got an early Macintosh and I would watch my cousins play Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat. I was awful at it because of the inverse controls. While I’m STILL awful with inverse controls, one of those cousins has his pilots license now.


1990 My first system was the NES. I don’t remember being aware of it or asking for it, but we had one. At this point I lived with my mom and sister so it probably kept us out of my mom’s hair with minimal fighting.I begged my mom to take me to the video store on the reg to rent Little Nemo: The Dream Master.

Around this time my cousins down the street got the SNES and we played Top Gear (that music!) and Mario Kart every day before and after school. My stepbrother also had an SNES as well as a PC he played on. He wouldn’t let me play, but I watched him play Final Fantasy, X-Com, Doom and Wolfenstein for hours.

At my dad’s house I had a Sega Genesis and all the Sonic games up to Sonic & Knuckles. Dad sometimes played Ecco the Dolphin with me, but we couldn’t get very far.

1992? I asked for a Gameboy for Christmas so I could play on the 2.5 hour ride to and from my dad’s house every other weekend. I was all about Pokemon and Yoshi’s Cookies. I skipped Game Boy Color. I still have that original Gameboy though.

Original GameBoy Nintendo

Still works!

1996 For Christmas, I got the N64. My cousins got it too and we proximity mined each other into oblivion and hysterics in GoldenEye. Ocarina of Time was the first major Zelda game I really played through and understood. Mario 64 is still my favorite Mario game.

I skipped Nintendo consoles for a while after that, but kept up on handhelds.

1999 I graduated grade school and my mom took me to Toys R Us to get a Sega Dreamcast with my graduation money. I wanted it because I loved Sonic the Hedgehog and the VMUs/save cards were like mini Gameboys. I never got to play much on it because an earthquake in Japan made the VMUs scarce in the US. I couldn’t save my games or enjoy the handheld aspect so that ruined it.

2001 I asked my mom for PS2 for Christmas. I was a Jr in high school and obsessed with Final Fantasy. I upgraded to the PS2 Lite at some point in college. At some point I spent some of my summer earnings on a Gameboy Advance. It was pink and see-through and I loved it. Golden Sun and Final Fantasy Tactics were favorites.

2003 I upgraded to a Gameboy SP.

I skipped GameCube. It was ugly aesthetically and I thought I had outgrown Nintendo consoles. I had a little exposure to it through a friend, but felt meh about it in general. When the Wii came out,  I saw it as a general sports console. My cousins got one for Christmas the year it released, but I was never interested and our moms played it more than any of us did.

Although watching my late grandfather hit a home run with the wiimote remains one of my favorite Christmas memories. Ever.


Grampi hit a home run and we all jumped out of our seats.

2004/2005 I bought the original Nintendo DS. Then, I upgraded to the DS Lite and played it all the time. I skipped the DSi and XLs because I didn’t see the need. My

In 2006 or 7 I traded up for a PS3, which I wanted for the next Final Fantasy games mostly.

March 27th 2011, I picked up my preordered Nintendo 3DS in blue, which I still have. I was still playing my DS Lite until this point. I wanted to replay Ocarina of Time on handheld and was also really driven to buy because of the 3D gimmick and the concept of Streetpass. Several social groups sprouted around Streetpass to encourage people to meet and play. Backwards compatibility was a big draw for me too, with all systems.

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Meet the family!

November 2012 I picked up a Wii U at launch. I don’t remember why I wanted this console. I think I wanted to give Nintendo another try? I did not play it much. I was still really into PS3 and my 3DS. I started playing it a lot more when Splatoon came out, but that was toward the end of the system’s lifespan.

In May 2013, I bought the 3DS XL Animal Crossing Edition. I wasn’t planning to upgrade until I saw this gorgeous edition. I am obsessed with Animal Crossing. That and Zelda are the only two Nintendo IPs I really love. I still have this system as well.

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Still one of my favorite 3DSXL designs

For Christmas 2014 I asked my mom for an Xbox One. I had never had an Xbox so I wanted to see what the big deal was and try a new console.

In February 2015 I bought the NEW Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask edition for myself for Galentine’s Day. Wasn’t planning to upgrade because I love my Animal Crossing 3DS but I had been bugging Nintendo to port Binding of Isaac for a couple of years at this point and they were finally releasing it but only on the New 3DS because of the C stick. This is my current 3DS.

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Muldoon likes taking care of his Nintendogs.

December 2015. A dude from Tinder sent me a PS4 because we were having a great chat volley about games, (but he was only in the US for one night and I was not about to meet up with that) and he wanted to play with me on PS4, which I said I did not have. I thought it was a joke, but gave him a secure address and sure enough, the PS4 showed up with his real name on the receipt. I googled him to find him very married AND with a newborn. I kept the PS4 as Asshole Tax.

December 2016 I picked up the NES Classic because nostalgia.

March 2, 2017 my Nintendo Switch arrived at my office a day before release. Breath of the Wild wouldn’t show up until the next day. I wasn’t originally planning on getting a Switch, having been disappointed with my Wii U, but I literally cried at the trailer for Breath of the Wild. Also Splatoon 2. Also the best indie support Nintendo has ever had (I play games on PC rarely, preferring consoles, but loving the endless game options on Steam). I also got to attend a preview event for the Switch where I got to experience all of its configurations and capabilities. I was impressed. And it brought back that social aspect I love about the 3DS.

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Can I have all the joy con colors please?

September 2017 I picked up the SNES Classic because nostalgia.

So that’s where I am. Currently no plans to upgrade the PS4 and Xbox One. If an N64 Mini is announced I’ll be all over that. But this sort of feels like the last generation of console gaming. As the industry moves to mobile, AR and VR, the way we interact with games is going to change drastically.

What has your gaming litany looked like? Which systems were your favorites?


How Nintendo Switch is Driving me Back to Physical Games

I’m a Taurus. As a lover of physical things, I like to surround myself with the material items that speak most to me and bring joy into my space- candles, jewelry, art, plants.

As a New Yorker, that space is already filled the moment I step into it. The items I keep need to be deeply meaningful and beautiful as well as fairly functional. Moving to digital downloads has helped me reduce clutter AND keep a larger library (read: daunting backlog).

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Hiding my games within a clear carrier from the old Club Nintendo days

And while I do still have a nice little collection of physical DS games for which I’ve found accessible-yet-invisible storage solutions, I actively seek out digital downloads to preserve my sacred space.

Nintendo Switch– and particularly indie game publishers- are changing that.

Artful packaging draws me in a variety of ways. The clear plastic shell for Switch games is much less visible and intrusive than the white 3DS and blue WiiU shells were. It’s a major upgrade toward keeping my space looking like it belongs to someone who is at least trying to look like a grown up.

There’s been a lot of debate about the size of the box relative to the size of the game, but in a loud retail environment, you need a canvas for enticing visuals. Nicalis has even released two editions for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ each with covetable  covers.


via Nicalis

It seems instruction manuals started to phase out slowly.  Around the time Club Nintendo shuttered, I don’t remember seeing them anymore at all. I always loved thumbing through the manuals, reading character backstories, admiring the artwork and learning a handful of secrets. The “notes” pages in the back were filled with my hand-scrawled discoveries, codes and strategies like a little game diary.

The Nintendo games I’ve purchased so far for Switch continue the trend of missing manuals, but indie publishers like Nicalis have begun to revive them. Cave Story+ was just announced for a June 20th Nintendo Switch release- with an instruction booklet highlighted.

The Binding of Isaac included a gorgeous instruction manual which conjured nostalgia feels for the original Legend of Zelda on NES with its shiny gold cover.

And that’s not all! Indie physical releases are becoming known for including extras and trinkets. If you pre-ordered Isaac from Amazon (or were lucky enough to get an early edition from another retailer), you got two sheets of stickers AND a reversible game cover!


Goodies in my copy of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

When and IF Axiom Verge comes to the Switch- the chances of which Tom Happ told me were “decent” back in January, though a Switch release has not yet been confirmed– I’d suspect it will follow a similar format to its other physical releases and include some extras like the STELLAR soundtrack.


It’s exciting again to pick up a physical copy of a game. And I no longer feel like game cases on my shelf look childish or take away from my aesthetic. Hopefully the future of Switch releases holds many more surprises and shelf candy!