The Game Boy Color is my most treasured Christmas present to date, not only because it’s the first gaming device I ever owned, but also because it was the conclusion of a long-winded mystery that five-year-old me had been trying to solve for months.
So let’s rewind even further back, to the summer of 1999. I was visiting my grandma, who would spoil me with cupcakes and lemonade every Monday. On one particular day, she handed me over a cartridge of Pokémon Blue, which she had supposedly found on the floor of Llandudno’s high street.
Since I was still so young, and didn’t have the privilege of firing all of my questions at Google, I had no idea what this brightly coloured object was. But, of course, I was still incredibly captivated by this cartridge – especially since it had a picture of a canon-toting tortoise plastered on the front. So, I vowed to myself that I would find out what this strange object was capable of.
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My first clue was the tiny red Nintendo logo on the bottom-right corner of the cartridge. I had seen this before, as my dad owned a Nintendo 64 console. As soon as I returned home, I charged upstairs and plunged the Pokémon cartridge into the top of console. To my dismay, no matter how many times I tried to twist and turn the cartridge into that slot, the TV never sprang to life. I was extremely disappointed that my first big hunch had proven incorrect – but I didn’t let it halt the investigation.
I spent the following weeks searching my house for something that my Pokémon Blue cartridge could call a home. Our radio and VHS players seemed obvious candidates, but both proved fruitless. It’s a good job I didn’t have the talent to climb up onto the kitchen counter, as I’d have certainly tried to wedge the cartridge inside the toaster. I even returned to the N64 a couple of times to see if I had missed anything, but I never saw any success. I eventually hung up my detective hat and gave up on the search. I was well and truly beaten.
Skip forward a few months to December 25, and I’ve just torn the wrapping paper off the box for the Game Boy Color. It was a strange device, with the fluorescent purple design catching my eye – but it was the cartridge-shaped hole in the back that piqued my interest the most. I also noticed that the Game Boy Color box flaunted a very familiar Nintendo logo. The cogs started turning in my little brain, and with some encouragement from my parent sidekicks, I was quickly on my feet to hurry upstairs to my dusty blue cartridge.
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I remember how tense I was when carefully pushing the cartridge into the back of the Game Boy. It fit perfectly! I was certain I had finally solved the mystery – but then nothing happened. I hammered every button on the Game Boy numerous times, without any luck. Fortunately, my dad’s theory that the Game Boy required batteries proved accurate, after which the Game Boy’s screen sprang to life.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more captivated than when I watched the opening intro of Pokémon Blue. The dramatic music, blockbuster monsters tussling, and the flash of “Pokémon” across the screen all combined to make me giddy with excitement.
Thanks to the help of Santa’s excellent puzzle-solving skills, I had finally cleared up the mystery, and my reward was one of my best gaming experiences to date. That easily puts the Game Boy Color right at the top of the list of my all-time favourite Christmas presents – and it’s one that I doubt will ever be beaten.