How Handheld Gaming Shaped Me

How Handheld Gaming Shaped Me

My entire life so far has revolved around video games. My dad showed us the ropes once we could hold a GameBoy and it only got better from there. Even my mom never said no to some Mario Bros. As my younger siblings and I grew older, handheld gaming grew with us. 

My family consists of a hardcore gamer dad, a mobile gamer mom, a younger brother with a love for shooters and a younger sister who’s in love with JRPG’s. Because all of us loved handheld gaming, we almost always had the newest handhelds. It started with my parents’ GameBoy and now me and my siblings each have our own Switch (Lite). 

Afbeelding met binnen, kind, zitten, stoel

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The moment my sister was old enough, we showed her how to play on a GameBoy. © Ruth Coppens

With each handheld came some irreplaceable memories. For example on our GameBoy, there were the great Tetris battles where our entire family tried to beat the high score. My mom was insanely good at this game, much to the disdain of my dad’s more competitive side. 

When I was 6, I got my very own pink GameBoy Advance SP. It was one of my most treasured possessions. With it, I got my first Pokémon Game, Emerald, and Super Mario Bros 3. My brother and I fought about the best starter in Emerald – the answer is Torchic by the way – and about who got to be Luigi. Life was simple and good. 

Once the Nintendo DS came out, my brother and I got old enough to each have our own. Meaning that we could play against each other at the same time. Eye-opening really. No more waiting turns and trying to sabotage each other to have more playtime. Instead, we tried to sabotage each other in Mario Party. My younger sister also got old enough to play my pink GameBoy and so she went on her journey to become the best Pokémon trainer of Hoenn for the first time. 

When the Nintendo 3DS came around, my brother started losing interest in handheld gaming. Call of Duty was calling, and as a young boy, he couldn’t resist. Leaving me and my younger sister to discover the classics. We fell in love with Luigi’s Mansion 2, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Fire Emblem

Because the main console in our house was always a PlayStation, my dad had to get a PlayStation Portable. On it we had games like Daxter and Secret Agent Clank. All of us had played Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank, and we could never agree on who was the best mascot. I prefer the cute robot Clank, while both my brother and dad loved Daxter. 

Unfortunately, we never got a PS Vita. At the time, it didn’t really have that many games that interested me. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing more and more that I missed out on some sleeper hits. 

When I turned 18, I got a Nintendo Switch for my birthday, after begging for it for months. It came with Breath of the Wild and it was my first console I could install in my room and never had to share with my siblings. People with siblings will know how much of a privilege this was. I’ve been rediscovering classic franchises with it and having an absolute blast. Some of my absolute favourite games on it are Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I’ve also been amazed at how far handheld gaming has come. Hell, you can take Skyrim on the road now? Who would have thought back when we were playing pixelated Pokémon games on a tiny screen? 

Handheld gaming has been a constant in my life. It got more advanced and grew up with me. Back when I could first hold a GameBoy in my tiny hands, I couldn’t imagine that, in twenty years, I’d be on the bus playing through some of the best games ever made. I can’t wait to see where handheld gaming will take me in the next twenty years.

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