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One tiny toy brought back memories of BMX bikes and Donkey Kong Jr.

I’m not the most sentimental human on the planet. I usually spend most of my energy moving forward, or at least trying to. Regrets, I’ve had a few … but then again, that’s a different story for a different day.

But I’d like to spend a minute with my feet firmly planted in the past. My childhood in Albuquerque, NM to be exact.

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I recently had a birthday, and as a gift for myself, I bought a Nintendo Classic Mini on a whim. For the uninitiated, this is a tiny video game console produced by local gaming giant Nintendo. About the size of paperback book, it looks like a shrunk down version of the original console from a few decades ago. Included in the tiny package are 30 pre-loaded games like Pac Man, Super Mario Bros, Zelda, and 27 others.

I hooked it up to my TV and was playing Bubble Bobble within five minutes. Not only had I not forgotten how to play, but I made it to level nine on my first game back. Not bad.

I was immediately transported to my childhood arcade where I would rush to meet my friends Blake and Anthony after school to try and beat this game. Hopped up on Red Vines and a can of Squirt, we would stake out this game and play for hours. There’s 100 levels, and doing it on one quarter became a quest for us in those days. I was constantly digging through couch cushions or cashing in aluminum cans to get my hands on some quarters for this game. I’m not too proud to admit that a dollar bill or two may have disappeared out of mom or dad’s wallet to feed my obsession.

After several hundred quarters, and many hours, we finally beat the game.

Last night, after some feel good moments with Bubble Bobble, I was excited to see that Donkey Kong Jr was also pre-loaded on my new toy. I fired that game up and only made it to level three before all my junior monkeys had expired. I could tell that some of my old tricks would reveal themselves with a few more reps.

If you would have told adolescent Ron that someday he would have all his favorite games in the palm of his hand and could play them on a 72 inch HDTV, he would never believe you.

It’s funny how this little plastic box has flooded my brain with memories of Diamondback BMX Bikes, the bubble gum smell when you open a pack of baseball cards, and dumping sand out of my shoe after a long day of burning off energy outside.

Now, who wants to take me on in Galaga?

You can hear “What are we talking about here?” everyday at 4:45 p.m. on 97.3 FM.

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