I love Christmas and it isn’t just because of the presents, which now that I am older I no longer get, but it is for “the season”. Early December it starts here in The Netherlands. You can see the decorations everywhere and the cheerful music which gets played more on the radio and in shopping centers. It is just a period of positivity.
This of course being a pandemic, being positive can be challenging at times. But whenever I feel dark and gloomy, I put up a nice new Christmas movie, which this year for me was 8-bit Christmas.
Ok, story time. When I was just a little kid, I really really and I mean really wanted a Nintendo Gameboy. It had amazing games, the music used in those games were beautiful and you could play it anywhere. Even in bed when you were supposed to be asleep! At every occasion possible, I’ve begged, pleaded, written letters, worked and even performed Satanic rituals (just kidding!) to get my message across. Get me a Gameboy!
My parents however were not impressed by the device, especially due to the poor screen, no backlight (back then) and even though they found the handheld interesting, they concluded “bad for your eyes, you aren’t getting it”. So the only way to play on one was at friends and family’s houses where the kids did get one. And played on them I did. For me it was my little oasis I could get lost in, trying to free the princess or destroy those damn blocks!
Fast forward a couple of years and I got my first gaming console, which was the Atari Lynx. The competitor of the Gameboy. The Lynx had a better color(!) screen including backlight and fancier games. Don’t get me wrong, when I got it, I was overjoyed with happiness. At a certain point in time we got a second one and one of my best friends also had two. With a special cable you could hook 4 of them together and do proper multiplayer. It was gaming bliss for us.
But thinking back to those times, I can still recall the quest to get a Gameboy and this also is the premise of 8-bit Christmas. Jake Doyle (played by Neil Patrick Harris as an adult and Winslow Fegley as a child), tells the story of a similar quest to get a Nintendo Entertainment System (also known as the Nintendo NES). Enlisting friends, classmates and more just for an attempt to play and later on in the movie, procure one for themselves. I won’t spoil the story since the entire movie revolves around this quest. I however can say that all the hoops the kids are jumping through, just to acquire the device, brought back fond memories. And when you finally finish the movie, your spirits will be uplifted as it should be when watching a Christmas movie.