Playing a game of four-square in the street of my neighborhood, arranging my Barbies on the floor of my living room and scribbling on my Nintendo DS screen with a stylus on PictoChat. Those are my most visceral memories from childhood.
My Nintendo DS never left my grip from the ages of 8 to 12. (Though I lost one too many of the slender styluses that accompany the device.) I can't even count how many nights I spent hiding my DS under my pillow only to sneakily take care of my digital dogs once I was sure my mom was asleep.
When summer 2006 rolled around and I caught wind of a new Pokémon game set to be released, I immediately decided it was time to start a Christmas list.
So, I set out convincing my mother that the only gift I needed that year was Pokémon Diamond.
"It can count as both my birthday and my Christmas gift!" My birthday is in mid-November, so this is a tactic I used often as a child, and one that I still utilize from time to time as an adult. Success rate is about 85 percent.
"When you battle other people, their Pokémon don't die, they just faint!" Looking back at this tactic, I'm impressed with my 9-year-old self for bringing up the tough philosophical stuff right away.
"I would only play it once I finish all of my homework." A blatant lie.
After months of skillful tactics, annoying commentary and dropping some not-so-subtle hints, it was the day I had been waiting for practically my whole life: Christmas Eve.
About three presents into the night I was handed a distinctly Nintendo DS game-shaped-gift — complete with a gold ribbon on top. I took a deep breath because as far as I was concerned, my life was about to change forever. By the end of this, I could be well on my way to becoming a Pokémon Master.
Of course the red wrapping paper was torn off to reveal a copy of Pokémon Diamond with Dialga sitting proudly on the cover. I don't remember any other gift I received that night because I immediately popped the game cartridge into my DS and didn't take it out until I had collected every Pokémon gym badge in the Sinnoh region.
My mother breathed a sigh of relief as silence overtook our home for the first time in four months. ♦