Ebay and my Childhood Handheld Time Machine

9 Dec

I carefully began to box them up, one by one.  It almost was like being in a time machine, each game brought back different memories.  I received most of these when I was probably 3rd thru the 5th grade.  Every Christmas or birthday I’d ask for a different one, and many of my classmates had the same ones…

Back then it was such a big deal to have indoor recess on rainy days!  Now that I look back at it, it must have really sucked ass for teachers because it meant they didn’t get any freedom from their wiggling hyperactive (me) students.  But man for us it was always a treat.  Recess and PE would be indoors, sometimes we’d play games like “heads up, 7 up”, concentration, bingo and a billion other games I don’t even remember anymore.  But other times we’d sit across from our best friends and bust out the red bulbed (I don’t think they were considered leds) games and have a ball.  Entex electronic Baseball, Mattel basketball, football, sub chase, space invaders, you name it.  They can’t even hold up to today’s Nintendo or Sony handhelds but back in the day these were the games to have.

On rainy days I remember running to the cafeteria and standing in line and buying lunch, or maybe brown bagging it depending on what my mom packed.  We’d chatter in line and push and laugh, it was all part of the ritual.  If we were extra lucky one of our buddies would be working the cafeteria and we’d laugh, point and ridicule them for having to wear a hairnet.  Nothing brought more shame than having your buddies ridicule you while you were standing next to an adult where you couldn’t talk back like wanted to!   You would just have to punish your peers later.  After getting our lunch we’d march back to the classroom single file and if we were good, then after lunch we’d get to bust out the games.  It was a simpler time back then, there was a real melting pot at my school with no clear cut higher numbers of ethnicities.  We didn’t steal from each other (except for that bitch Sandra Garcia who stole my color changing pen, may you get festering cancer and die a slow painful death) (I’m kidding.  Well mostly I am.), we didn’t fight over who was next.  It was a clear cut thing where if you had the game you had choice of who got to play it first and we’d take turns, many of the games were two person anyways.  Seeing those red dashes light up and dash across the screen meant victory and then you’d hear that lameo dual note of victory and you’d howl out laughing!

Now that I look at it the sub chase game was the lamest of them all, it was kind of like an electronic battleship where you moved a red cursor and it would beep and then you’d press a button on the side to drop depth charges and hope to hit the sub.  I guess back then games were mostly your imagination anyways, you had to imagine what was going on.  You could see the depth charge in your mind drifting towards the sub or the basketball player running a lay up through the hole.  We didn’t have DVD players in our parents cars, you’d just sit there and maybe read or play slug bug or just drive your parents crazy.  It was definitely a different time, with different people.  Much simpler and innocent.  I kind of wish it was that way now.

I don’t even know what made me hang on to those games for so long.  Maybe it was the reluctance of letting go of my youth, but for whatever reason I had boxed them up at my parents house and they had made the moves to three different houses that I lived at before landing at our new house.  Because Hawkes toys take up so much room I discovered the box when we were shuffling things around.  I even popped in a battery on each of the games to see if they still worked and made some time to score a touch down and assinate some space invaders.  I was getting ready to drop them in the donation box and then thought heck, I wonder if anyone collects these things.

A quick visit to Ebay made my jaw drop.  Many of those games were selling from 20-100$!  Wow!  I formulated a plan and decided to try to list them right after thanksgiving, I was thinking that maybe people would start shopping for Christmas gifts about that time and who knows, maybe someone would try to bid on a game they had during their youth.  I started the bids at 99 cents with no reserve and was disappointed when the bids pretty much were stagnant the first couple of days.  Oh wells I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

As time grew closer to the ends of the bidding I noticed that the items were drawing more and more views.  Three days before the bidding ended my football game was already 40$!  I would check on them each day and on the last day I was amazed to see how furious the bidding went.  My baseball game went for $32.  The sub chase for $40.  Space invaders about $42.  And last but not least the old football game?  18 bids brought about $78!  I couldn’t be happier as these funds would go towards my new Moana Waterman Hybrid Carbon fiber freedive fins and some new toy cars for Hawke :).

It was with a little sadness and regret that I carefully printed out the labels and postage and started sealing up those boxes.  I hoped they would go to good homes.  But as sad as it was letting that part of my life go, it is no doubt that other parts of my heart (and house) will soon fill up with a new memories and a new generation of toys for Hawke.  Who knows, maybe forty or so years from now he might be selling off some of his own games, he sure is accumulating a lot of them!


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