“And he (Jesus) said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I’m not religious but if the verse above was true, then I sure was a step closer to Paradise on the night of 12 November, 2013.
Because on that night, I was savouring all my favourite childhood games on almost every retro console you could think of: Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation 1 and many more! Retro gaming sure brings back memories from decades ago and I felt like a child again, the mini-me I once was.
So if you too want to bring your inner child back or if you simply like retro gaming, get yourself to the video game shop I was at: Super Potato in Akihabara, Tokyo. If you ‘re seeking the kingdom of heaven you might want to give it a shot too 😛
Super Potato sells a wide variety of games and consoles from the days gone by:
Speaking of memories, there’s one that hit me immediately after I entered the store. And I’m sure it’ll hit most of you fellow 90s boomers – Super Mario Bros!
And that’s not all – still remember these classics?
So are you feeling it already, the good ol’ nostalgia of growing up? It’s really ironic how the selfish and profit-orientated motives of game developers have such a joyful and profound effect on the lives of us consumers!
And we happily part with our money for more – I never complained (obviously because I wasn’t the one paying :P) As the years went by, these early 90s games started to get boring and my brothers and I were longing for a more advanced game platform. Our parents knew how badly we wanted one.
And parents being parents, they understood our wish but weren’t understanding about it. We always got big fat NOs with some occasional kung fu.
But kids being kids, we always persisted until the much-yearned YES came (in the case of Asian parents, it’s usually when their kid does well in an exam). We finally got our Sega Megadrive which was every boy’s wet dream!
Of course, all this was at a time before puberty kicked in and the girls in school were regarded by the boys as strange enemies.
So as I browsed through the shop, looking at different titles and platforms produced over the years, my life also flashed before me in stages – in a non-morbid way of course.
After all, these products were released at different periods of the past. Each product brought me back to a different chapter of my life. So I didn’t just recall the game, but life too as I lived it.
This felt simulaneously happy and sad, oddly – happy because all the good times came rushing back, and yet sad because all this is forever confined to the past, the innocent and carefree joy of a child never to be experienced again as adulthood beckons.
Let me share the photos which speak what I just spoke about; let it get you into your own reverie:
All these nostalgic trips made me realise that a lot of our memories aren’t gone or forgotten; they’re just buried somewhere deep beneath the depths of our minds. And all it takes is a simple stimulus to dredge it up: an object and the way it looks or feels.
Take for example, my experience with a game called Goonies. I had long ‘forgotten’ that there was such a game until I saw an image of it on Google and when I played it on an emulator, I could hum its catchy tune so flawlessly!
And by doing so, I suddenly recalled so vividly the atmosphere around me twenty years ago. How it felt like in the previous house I lived in…the house’s layout, everything that lay inside it, every sight and smell..I could mentally picture it all so strongly.
And I recall how close we were, three brothers who were brought together by an electronic device, and how sometimes it also caused childish conflicts.
And how the blaring of simple MIDI sounds from this device would gravitate all of us kids towards its source and get us hooked for hours. How sheltered, naive and easily excited we were over the simplest of life’s joys.
And how, amidst our peacefully ignorant naivete were our parents who worked, slogged and worried to give us this blissful period of our lives.
I’m not ashamed to say this experience brought me close to tears. I learnt to cherish the blessings that I have: a happy childhood and family.
So perhaps this is what Matthew 18:3 is all about. To enter ‘heaven’, which is to be truly happy, you’ll have to be the innocent child you once were, free from the worries that plague the mature. And since it is impossible to time travel back in body, it’s still possible mentally, in spirit.
All you need for this is an object which was significant to you in the past. Grab it, let it take you back.
Address (of the branch in Akihabara):
1-11-2 Kanda sotokanda Chiyoda,
Tokyo-kitabayashi building 3F/4F/5F
Website: http://www.superpotato.com/ , in Japanese. Use an online translator. On this website you can find the locations of its branches nationwide and more details on their products.
Opening hours: Daily, 11.00am to 8.00pm (on weekends and national holidays: 10.00am – 8.00pm)
Products sold: Retro games, game consoles and accessories (joypads, plugs, memory cards etc), game merchandise.
- Finding my way there was tough as it’s a small 3-storey shop located above the ground floor. Look out for this sign and make your way up:
- Instead of buying a console and its games, you can also play them on computer emulators which can be downloaded online
- Testing of a console isn’t allowed. That’s how I ended up getting a spoilt PS1.
- Take note that the consoles are made in Japan in accordance to Japanese power and TV specifications. If the TV or power outlet in your country is incompatible, your purchased console won’t work.