Young or old, everyone has something they miss from their childhood- something that brought them hours of joy but no longer exists. Favorite toys, candy, apparel- all sorts of commodities once brought us pleasure in our early years but are no more. Sometimes I reflect on the gems that I grew up with that have fallen out of favor and into history.
1. Life Saver Soda
I am not a chocolate lover- I’m not much of a candy person in general. The one kind of candy that I do love? Gummies. Gummy bears, worms, dinosaurs, penguins- I love them all. Imagine how great it was to see a soda based upon my gummy life savers. With deep anticipation, I purchased a bottle of watermelon flavor one morning before school. I’ll never forget my first ice cold sip. It was smooth, flavorful, and sweet. It had a tiny gummy texture that complimented so very well. For the rest of that school year and the next I bought one whenever I got the chance. Just as I remember the euphoria that came with my first taste, I remember the disappointment when I first learned of it being discontinued…
2. 4 Player Split-screen
Imagine it. The N64 has shaped the future of gaming with its focus on 4-player multiplayer. Gems like Super Smash Brothers, Mario Party, Goldeneye 64, Mario Kart 64 Perfect Dark 64 and Bomberman 64 have shown gamers just how fun it is to be on the couch with three friends. The Nintendo GameCube comes out and continues this trend with hits like Super Smash Brothers Melee, Custom Robo: Battle Revolution, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, Star Fox Assault, and Tales of Symphonia. Great times are had, franchises are built, and gamers rejoice. Now let’s skip ahead…
The rise of online gaming has prompted developers to cut local multiplayer from game after game. Why? Because Xbox 360 gamers hate looking at each other when they play video games. It angers them. Well, that and forcing gamers to buy multiple copies of a game just to play with friends over a broadband connection nets them more money. The glory days of split-screen are all but over these days. Although there is hope. Many gamers are fed up with this obnoxious trend have- in fact, millions are. Around the world over 75 million gamers have voted with their wallet by buying a Nintendo Wii- the only console fully supporting local, split-screen multiplayer.
3. Cheetos Paws
Around the same time that I was kicking back with a bottle of Life Saver soda, I was always loving Cheetos Paws. These cheesy little paw-shaped snacks came in bags like original Cheetos or Cheetos puffs. The difference? They were much cheesier and much crunchier. I loved relaxing on a Saturday morning with a bottle of strawberry Life Saver soda and a 99 cent bag of Cheetos Paws. Alas, they saw only limited release and disappeared around the same time as Life Saver soda.
3. Capsule Monsters & Ninjas
When I was a kid, one of my favorite events was getting to pop a quarter in the Kroger prize machine. I loved collecting all the little plastic monsters, ninjas, and heroes that popped out. I of course loved the little vehicles, locks & keys, and bouncy balls- but you can still come by them these days. To this day I sigh to myself when I think of modern day, cheap capsule toys and paper cracker jack prizes.
4. Local TV
I remember a time when more than static showed up when you plugged in a television set. Once upon a time, you could watch at least a dozen channels without the need for very pricey signal adapters. Before my family could afford to put any sort of cable or satellite box in my room, local cartoons and sitcoms were just a button away. The recent move to digital television has forever killed this convenience.
There’s nothing quite like the nostalgia that comes from entering an arcade. The flashing lights, smell of pizza, and sight of numerous price-grabber machines will always have a special place in my heart. There was a time when my favorite thing about summer was that it meant my father and I could visit a local arcade after hitting a movie and getting some pizza. I have fond memories of X-Men Arcade, Super Mario Brothers, and a slew of fighting games. I can still recall the tickets, the tokens, and the thrill of cashing in my winnings for prizes. While a few arcades can be found here and there, though far between, they simply aren’t the same. I sincerely hope that arcades someday manage to find their way back into mainstream favor…