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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

Christmas Morning 1997 Revisited

Picture it! Christmas morning, 1997. I’m 12 years old and I couldn’t sleep. I was too excited. I had a feeling/hope I was going to get a Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye. This was the peak of my James Bond fandom as that was also the year I tried to watch every Roger Moore movie in a single day—while consuming an entire two-liter bottle of Surge.

It was very early in the morning, sometime between 3:30 and 4:00. I was quite literally pacing in my room as I couldn’t seem to get back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. My Grandmother was sleeping in the adjacent room, she heard me and woke up. She came into my room and asked if anything was wrong. I told her the situation and she replied” If that’s why you’re so excited let’s just go into the living room and look.”

So we did. We quietly walked into the living room and she flipped on the overhead lights. At that moment I knew what it was like to be on The Price is Right and hear the phrase “It’s a brand new car!” There was a Nintendo 64, Goldeneye, rumble pack, and a NEW TV under the tree! I was beyond the moon and accidentally woke my sleeping mother up, who walked in and asked what was going on.

“He was too excited to sleep so I told him we should look under the tree so he can go back to bed,” my grandmother told her. With the adrenaline of anticipation out of my system we all went back to bed. As morning properly came, we all woke up, the TV and Nintendo were set up in my room, and I played Goldeneye all day long. It remains one of my fondest Christmas memories, especially since my grandmother isn’t with us anymore.

That is why for me, and other people of my generation when the news was announced last year before Thanksgiving that the much-beloved video game was getting re-released for the first time since 1997, there was much rejoicing. Though a remake of the game was issued about ten years after for the Nintendo Wii, the original game has been tied up in very complicated legal red tape keeping it from seeing the light of day again.

Nintendo, has a say in the game, as does Microsoft as they have since bought the studio that developed the game for Nintendo. Then you have to get MGM to sign off on it and Eon Productions, the company that has the rights to the James Bond movie franchise. As the game was finally re-released on the Xbox and the Nintendo Switch, many have been a bit disappointed it’s a straight port of the game. However, considering all the legal issues it took to make this happen, I am more than happy to have the game.

How was it to play Goldeneye for the first time in over 20 years? Frankly, fantastic and emotional. The game is just as good as I recall, and I was surprised by how quickly I took to playing it again. I assumed I’d be a bit rusty and would find a learning curve in how the game's controls are on the Nintendo Switch controller over the original, and very unique, Nintendo 64 controller. I had such a good time I blasted through almost half of the game in a single day.

I say it was emotional too as I kept thinking of that Christmas morning and my late Grandmother. It’s a moment that is very special to me, and one I’ll always associate with the game. It’s so nice to see a game you loved as a kid still holds a certain place for you as an adult, and that it’s just as fun as you recall. The real test will be how that legendary multiplayer mode stacks up these days.

Despite the inclusion of online play for that mode for Switch users, I still need to make it happen in person. Add friends, a pizza, and a rented movie from Popcorn Video and it’s Friday night 1997 all over again. I’m kinda here for it. See you next week.


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