Just before Christmas I was desperate for a Game Boy. This statement is true, both in 1990 and 2015.
I really, really, really wanted a Game Boy mainly to play Tetris but also because it was cool and all the cool kids were getting one. As with many things when I was a kid I had my heart set on it, and could not be dissuaded by my parents, who may have mentioned awkward things like cost and it being a total waste of time. I didn’t care. I couldn’t hear them over the deafening sound of my sighs of longing.
What I did get was a grey plastic gaming device – it was a sort of executive toy that had a small screen and buttons, but the only game you could play on it was a sort of black and white Tetris knock off. I did play with it, and it’s probably still in a box in the loft, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me because I can’t even tell you what it was called.
Story of my childhood really – I did get presents and clothes, but they were never quite what I wanted. There wasn’t enough money for fripperies and my parents were far too sensible to let me follow any fads. I distinctly remember imagining that being grown-up was being able to buy shoes whenever you wanted, and how when I had a job I’d never deny myself a pair of shoes, or have to wear any until they wore out. My inner 10 year old must be devastated that I’m wearing boots with flapping soles as I write, because it turns out paying the bills and buying food is actually more important than new shoes, however lovely they are.
But the Game Boy. Now that might have to finally be a dream realised. It was one of those gadget shows on tv that made me remember my desperate longing. That’s So Last Century (Channel 4) saw celebrities (Vic Reeves, Doc Brown, Will Mellor) sitting with their children and trying to explain to them how these seemingly ancient gadgets worked. The viewer of a certain age got to chortle at children playing awful video games, figuring out how to put a tape in a Walkman and trying their best to dial a phone and work out what part was the receiver. And, like the celebs, we got to feel warm and fuzzy reminiscing about retro toys and gadgets.
I couldn’t help but take a look at EBay and recoil in horror at the price of a Game Boy – and how fast the bids in! Nope. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t buy myself something like that right before Christmas. But it’s my birthday in a couple of months and who buys the best presents for you? You do!
So it’s probably best for me to keep it retro given the price of current lovely gadgets as featured on the raucous Gadget Show (Channel 5) – a boisterous and irritating version of Blue Peter – or the much more watchable Gadget Man (Channel 4). These shiny toys are not 100% made by Apple now that fan-boy Stephen Fry – Mr Gadget Man in Series 1 – was replaced by Richard Ayoade, but they are largely pie-in-the-sky stuff. Hands-free camera? £300! Responsive automated pet dinosaur? £280! The list goes on, and you wonder, who wants this stuff? But someone will. Give it 20 years and we’ll all be oohing and aaahing over the toys of today that we wanted but never received.
Fingers cross EBay still exists!
Created in response to this Daily Post – Gimme