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  1. Here we are 2 days prior to the launch of the Switch, and I find myself thinking back 20 years, to when I picked up my brand new, super shiny, £249.99 Nintendo 64. These were super rare (by today's standards) at launch in the UK, 30,000 is the number mentioned. Imports had been changing hands (or at least were advertised in the small ads) for £600-800, which was an obscene amount of money to 14 year old me !! Anyway, my parents agreed to an N64 as a combined Christmas and Birthday present (my birthday is the 8th), so here is the story of my first Launch Day Console from 2 decades ago. Somehow I found out when stores were taking preorders and was first to get my name down. Pretty sure this must have been around the Japanese launch - it was a seriously long wait for the UK launch either way! It was a £10 deposit with HMV for the console, and no deposit required to reserve Mario 64. I think it was paid in full prior to launch though. I posted this in the Switch preorders thread, so sorry if you've read it before So, 20 years ago, launch day was here, and video gaming was revolutionised (again, 9 months after it already was in Japan!) with Mario 64. I had 1 of only 10 consoles reserved from my local HMV. They did a midnight launch (for 10 consoles!!) but my parents weren't up for heading into town at midnight, so I ended up getting it on the Saturday morning evening. [I said morning in the Switch thread, but it was the evening. Dad and I were dong something that day, I can't remember what, so I walked around to HMV shortly before we picked mum up from work at 4.30]. The staff said they thought my (paid) preorder was some sort of joke since I hadn't collected when the other 9 people had at midnight! I'd saved my pocket money and dinner money up to get the required 59.99 (!) for Shadows of the Empire, but HMV didn't have any to spare. I walked to my local Virgin Megastore with a BIG HMV bag in my hand and a BIGGER smile on my face to see if they had any. The guy at the games counter looked at me as I handed the box over to purchase the game, then asked me if I had it pre-ordered, which of course I didn't. When I said no, he disappeared and come back with a fresh, sealed copy from the back store and said they had some extras. He then proceeded to explain that his manager had told him that he had to explain that I'd need an N64 to play the game on and that it wasn't available on SNES or Playstation. I grinned and raised my left hand to display my freshly purchased console, then had a 15 minute discussion with the guy about the console, how he was too late to get one, and had played about half of Mario 64 on their demo pod after hours! I'd actually completely avoided Mario 64 up to this point. I saw some screen shots, and high review scores but had avoided any gameplay videos (very easy in 1997!!) and reading any reviews. My parents let me set the N64 up on the livingroom on the big TV - I think to this point, my SNES had been in there 3 or 4 time max, and we had Chinese takeaway, another rarity in my house. Dad (and to a lesser extent mum) watched on in awe as I played. This was the start of something amazing for me. I felt like the luckiest kid, and proceeded to figure out cheap lunches for myself whilst saving for the horrendously expensive N64 launch titles that were coming up. I was very thankful for the little booklet of vouchers from HMV giving me £5 off a game although it still lead to a number of phone calls to my mum on launch day Saturdays "mum, I've saved £45 for Lylat Wars, but it's £55, can I have my next 2 weeks pocket money up front?" The joys. What was everyone else doing 20 years ago when I was wolfing down my Chinese takeaway so I could get back to Mario 64?
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