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The Retro Diaries Presents: Nostalgia Overload with Man Crates

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I was recently made hip to a fantastically interesting website called Man Crates.  They’re a new company that ships awesome gifts for men in an actual wooden crate that you need to open with a crowbar!  Beyond that though, the interesting thing to me about Man Crate is their Retro Gaming Crate.

They’re currently running a project dedicated to nostalgic gaming, so I thought I would share my memories of falling in love with gaming, and if you’ve been around and read any of my retro diaries, or heard me on the Let’s GET! Podcast, you’d know I love getting very nostalgic about the past.
So, why not start from the beginning. The first time I fell in love with gaming, was the day I watched my dad play Mega Man 2, I was very young, and not able to play, but I was able to listen, and watch. The music has stuck in my head ever since, and I to this day can’t play that game without thinking of my dad and uncle, that first night.


Then it was Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!, again it was the music, the colors, the humor of seeing them punch King Hippo and seeing his shorts fall down. Add in the fact that since Little Mac was so small, I thought he was a kid like me.


Then it finally happened, I was gifted the Nintendo NES, and a ton of games, I was ecstatic. I was probably in the first grade, and school was already not very kind to me. I was shy, I had no friends, I wore wire frame glasses that were way too big for my face, and while I thought that made my ears look smaller, it did not.

I spent my first summer after the first grade playing games like Tennis, Super Mario Bros. 3, and StarTropics, all the while having chicken pox, so I did not leave the house at all. Then, my dad brought home the Sega Genesis.


While in this day, I’m not the biggest fan of the Genesis, I’ll always remember that day. I was busy doing my usual thing, watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in my TMNT pj’s, drinking a squeeze-it, my dad gets home from work with this machine, that I could play with. I stayed up with my dad playing a game starring my favorite Looney Toons character, and a game I never realized I’d love as much as I do now, starring a blue hedgehog.

Shortly after that though came the Super Nintendo, and I never looked back. No longer did I fear school, I had no friends, but I at least had stuff I loved to talk about, and talked to anyone who was willing to listen, which was mostly my mom, sorry mom!


This was it for me, with games like Super Mario World, Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and Super Punch-Out!!, and of course my favorite game ever- EarthBound. I did not think anything could be better! And just like that, time flew past me. I gained a couple of friends, who shared a similar interest, and who all genuinely liked talking to me, until it was all gone.

In 1997, I started the seventh grade, and while I had thought I had overcome my fears of social interactions, it all came flowing back. While I was only mildly picked on in elementary school, it wasn’t until middle school that I had fully been bullied.

Two weeks in, I was out of school. I had gotten my lunch money taken from me, ridiculed due to my love of gaming, and hurt physically by having a turd of a child named Tommy kicking a soccer ball right into my face. As I stood there and cried, and my glasses were broken, I knew I couldn’t take it. I never told my parents, and instead just kept insisting I was sick.

None of the friends I had made went to the same school as me, and I wasn’t there long enough to make new friends, so my parents had me homeschooled, but before that, I was forced to see a psychiatrist by my school.


In those sessions I would talk about my interests, my lack of communication, and my social issues. These sessions did nothing for me, I’d just patiently wait for the weekend when I would get to go and spend the night with my friends, trade Pokémon, and just do what I loved.

Pokémon and Final Fantasy were my favorites at the time, and listening to music while playing these games was something I always did. Whether it was an old tape I owned of the third TMNT movie, or a cd one of my parents or relatives loaned to me I was constantly jamming out, while grinding.


As a kid, I’d never beaten EarthBound, but I had just beaten Final Fantasy VII, and that game and Weezer were my life. Rivers Cuomo was my hero, along with Cloud Strife, and Bugels were my favorite food. These things live within me, and I tend to not forget them, and I really would not want to.



Gaming cultivated how I am today, being alone with my thoughts, and my video games were my way of escaping reality. These are the reasons I love gaming, and why I love this Retro Gaming Man Crate. It brings you back, for the good and the bad, and to see so many others enjoying these things, is a beautiful thing.

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The Author

Johnny Ketchum

Johnny Ketchum

Writer and content creator from Denver Colorado, mostly knowledgable in the realm of retro video games he also creates music and music mixes.