It seems only right that the first story I share as part of the Secret Origins series be the tale of the purchase of my very first video game. After becoming enamored with a loaner Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986 at the age of five, I knew I had to have a console of my own. My parents had set a policy that if I wanted a NES, I'd have to pay for it with my own money, and by the following summer I'd managed to save enough allowance money and wrapped pennies to afford a NES of my very own plus one game. Every month my mother and I would go shopping in the nearby city of Orlando, and while these trips involved mainly just tagging along through department stores and occasionally trying on clothes, one particular shopping day ended at Toys 'R' Us.
I'd been to Toys 'R' Us many times, but this was the first time I explored the video games. I rushed my way towards the massive Nintendo logo hanging overhead one of the aisles, and when I turned the corner I froze in my tracks. There on the wall were dozens... hundreds... thousands!... of video games from which to choose. The experience was overwhelming; I thought I'd done my homework by reading up on a handful of games in a Nintendo buyer's guide. I had my little list with titles such as Amagon, Bomberman, and City Connection, but I was completely unprepared for the wall of games.
Once the awe wore off I started to walk down the aisle and study my options. I snagged a claim ticket for the beloved NES complete with two controllers, Zapper, and Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt game pak. Then came time to choose the additional game. I crumbled my list back into my pocket and started scanning the rows of gaming claim tickets. What to choose? I didn't get very far in the alphabet, as I landed on Bubble Bobble in moments. I recognized the name from the buyer's guide, but it didn't make my list because it didn't have "action". After all, Amagon features a strong brawler, Bomberman is all about the kabooms, and City Connection revolves around a series of car chases. Dinosaurs that eat candy just couldn't compare.
So why did I choose Bubble Bobble? Something about it spoke to me. The box art was certainly colorful, the enemies seemed amusing, and platformers always got a second look. Bubble Bobble saw a lot of play early on, particularly because it was the only video game my mother would ever play with me. We played a lot of Bubble Bobble that summer, but over time newer games eclipsed it. I still have the game pak though, of course. Like they say, you never forget your first.