Translation from French to English by Google trad and tweaked a lil'bit by my knowledge, sorry if some sentences seem weird :
I always wanted to write. Without ever really realizing this will and especially without knowing where to start. A bit like a bunch of things that we promise ourselves to do one day but that we put off eternally, telling ourselves that the moment when we have time to get started will end up happening.
In general, I get tired of a lot of things too quickly but I like it, to write, and also to read but not only. I like swimming, gorging myself on delicious things, playing video games, spending money on gadgets without tail or head, drinking water that is not too mineralized, picking radials and tubulars, coding stupid programs, drawing stuff that I imagine joining me one day, being able to remember my dreams, unsoldering components, I have an oppressive need to stimulate my brain, which sometimes stresses me out or depresses me. Which leads me to believe that the ignorant is much happier than the one who is too conscious.
From a young age, I have always played video games. Before the democratization of home consoles, most of my friends were on computers bought a fortune from Tandy. My friends were asking their father to run the machine on the desk and switch games under DOS, you were sitting on the side and your mate was hogging his old keyboard to play his old crappy platform game. There were indeed the Game & Watch style electronic games but it was not worth the user-friendliness and ergonomics of an "entertainment system".
My inoculation took place in 1989, I was 5 years old, via the Atari Lynx received for my birthday in February and the NES that I was offered at Christmas with the Mario Bros./Duck Hunt bundle. Difficult at 5 years old to understand and correctly play games like Scrapyard's Dog or Gargoyle's Quest. Fortunately, my slightly older cousin - a girl-, despite our conflicting reports (I <3 U W.;), allowed me to progress on a lot of games and in particular on Zelda II, Mario bros 2 and 3. My enthusiasm has never diminished, and so over the years that passed, I've gotSega's Master System II with Dungeons & Dragons, Moonwalker or even Shinobi, the GameBoy, the SuperNes, the Jaguar, the Neo Geo, the Gameboy Advance, the Nec, an NTSC 60Hz Playstation imported from Japan with SF Alpha and subsequently switched to run PAL games. In between all that I even had a foreign console that contained no less than a hundred games in its internal memory, a bit like Alex Kidd with the Master System. I received Nintendo Magazine, I bought Console +, Super Power or Joypad every month, reading and rereading them, compiling tips and tricks, and walkthrough cards in a notebook. Each game test makes me want to play it too. My best video game experiences to date are Secret of Mana, Super Metroid and the Illusion of Gaia / Time on Snes and Final Fantasy VII on PS. It was also around this time that I started painting Warhammer lead figures and discovered the SpellFire card game, much more accessible than Magic for the age I was. Before that it was a lot DBZ collectible cards, Panini stickers and collage books, Pogs, marbles.
Speaking of marbles, we played around the trees in the yard. We defined the stake and the balls we had the right to use and then the winner won what was agreed. One morning, one of us -We'll call him Asterix- showed up with a boulard, a large diameter ball, agreeing to play 5 against 1 or even more sometimes, that is to say that by agreeing to play against his boulard with a normal ball and admitting that we can win, we would obtain 5 balls or more. Many were tempted and saw their satchel lighten while that of Asterix filled and returned each day without the most beautiful collected the day before. We ended up with old balls clouded by wear. It took me no more for a few days later, a little before the end of recess, I grabbed the boulard while it was in the middle of the game. I ran to hide at the end of the courtyard, keeping an eye on its owner who I saw heading towards the corridor which leads to the principal's office or to a teacher who would pass by there. At the end of this part of the courtyard, there was a high green double door which allowed deliveries of products for the canteen or more rarely new furniture. Behind the door was a fairly busy street with various shops.
I then see the principal appear through the door that Asterix took a little earlier, scanning the courtyard in a circular sweep in search of me, well hidden in a blind spot and near the delivery door, I take a few no momentum and forcefully throws the boulard over the door to hear a few seconds later a deafening crash of broken glass. Not showing me off I see him turn heel and reenter. The bell arrives, I wait until the last moment to join my rank in case he comes looking for me before going up but no one in sight. We join the class and see Asterix tearful at the teacher's desk and when I put my buttocks on my chair, the door opens energetically and staring at me with a piercing eye, the principal with a tense gesture of his stunted finger urges me to join him. When he got up to him, he grabbed me by the ear and we started for the other wing of the school. Suffice to say that hanging by the ear, I did not really touch the floor of the classroom at the office. When I got to his den, an Asian man, in a white blouse looked at me fiercely and on the desk a large, dark marble.
I also played a lot of Game Boy, so much that once while playing Zelda: Link's awakening, I was so glued that I pushed the urge to pee that I had since the beginning of the afternoon . This desire over the course of the day became a desire to shit but I was making serious progress on Zelda, I had to have 4 or 5 instruments, the boots, the boomerang and the grappling hook, I had climbed a mountain and arrived in a junkyard tower. Difficulty raised comapred to the dungeons traversed so far and always this desire to shit. Well at one point I still had to go because it was too late: my small intestines could not contain a moment longer. And paf ça fait des Chocapic, and a beautiful castle in the pant with the added bonus of all the irrigation.
Once on vacation in my native country, I spent a few days in the neighborhood of one of my cousins. They lived on the ground floor and the windows were fitted with bars. Every morning, a line gathered in front of the window to play on my GameBoy in exchange for a coin. The game was Forteress of Fear in Hard mode ... We were raking between 2 to 5 coins per minute. Once, we bought some ice cream with part of the money. We had ventured to the edge of a building site, a boy much taller than us wanted to make a free transfer of our ice cream, our accounts to his. My cousin, who knew him, gave him his ice cream without complaining, he gulped the cream in a mouthful and began to stare at mine. Looking him straight in the eye, I let go of the ice cream, the cone during the fall pointed towards the sky under the dynamics of the weight of the cream and was planted in the hot sand. This bastard picked it up, inspected it before releasing it, not without a grimace of disgust. Time froze, we looked at each other with my cousin, happy with this gesture of affront but that obviously did not please the guy. As my eyes shifted from my cousin to look at the guy, he had got, I don't know where, a big enough stone that he was holding with both hands above his head and that asshole dropped it on my feet. I only had time to remove the right foot. Result: the top of the left foot completely shattered by the stone, it hurt like hell, my foot with blood slipped in my tap and each step during the return home was an ordeal.
Arrived at home, my cousin explains to my uncle and the latter quickly leaves the apartment. My aunt emptied a bottle of 90 ° alcohol into a basin and dipped my foot in it before grabbing my ankle and shaking it to clean the wound of sand and blood, both fresh and coagulated. The stone had imprinted like irregular bites on the top of my foot. I almost fainted I think, I was sweating, and my two cousins did what they could to cheer me up and put a smile on my face. But it was my cousin who succeeded. He was leaning out of the window and motioned for me to join him. I did so despite the throbbing pain of my freshly groomed and bandaged foot. The buildings were huge concrete bars, cut into several buildings, access to which was through halls on the facade. Quickly my cousin explained to me who was the young man who had attacked us, that my uncle knew his father and that he was currently on his way to talk to him. As he told me, I was leaning on the window sill, looking in the direction my cousin was peering. There were lots of people in front of each hall, it was swarming with young people playing and older people sitting or standing, in groups or moving around, a neighborhood where people went about their business. It was the end of the afternoon, and suddenly my cousin pointed to my uncle. He looked very small from the distance he was. There must have been 5 or 6 halls between him and us. Too far to hear it, my uncle looked irritated, pissed off as he chatted with a man who looked older than him, then he calmed down for a moment and as he had been facing the guy since his arrival, they stopped talking and my uncle took his place next to him. Then I saw the man call a young boy. The boy who was playing with others froze and shuffled in front of them then after a short exchange entered the hall behind them. During this time my cousin was already enjoying himself. He stomped, shaking his hands, he mimed boxing movements. After a few minutes, I recognized the guy who had thrown a kryptonite meteorite on my foot. It was not long, my cousin was jaded, he expected a rag but my uncle grabbed the guy by the collar, sent him a Canadian lumberjack's warrants which made everyone freeze, then pulled him violently. him while striking him with a masterful headbut. The guy went limp like a long towel that my uncle finally let falll inanimated biting the dust. As my cousin left the window grumbling, my uncle added a few words to the father of the guy who seemed to agree, they shook hands and my uncle, his face and gait still a little tense, came back to us, bowing on his back. passing a few people. In the background, the father was picking up his son with great blows, adding a little more to his humiliation.
I really bled the Super Nes, but then bled much more than my foot while my best friend at the time, he swore by the Megadrive. As for the Nes, I had a "Street Fighter II Turbo Edition" bundle. Another manga fan friend knew how to get us DBZ, Ranma 1/2 and other SNK conversions like Art of Fighting or the Rushing Beat series for import. We used an adapter to play everything good: Zelda, Super Punch Out, TMNT, Seiken Densetsu (Secret of Mana), Breath of Fire, Darius, Donkey Kong, Chrono Trigger, Illusion of Gaia / Time , Bahamut Lagoon, Final Fantasy, Batman & Robin, Canon Fodder, Command & Conquer, Super Metroid, Exhaust Heat, Bart's Nightmare, Firemen, Axelay, Megaman X, EarthWorm Jim, ToeJam & Earl, Joe & Mac, Flashback, Mario Kart, NBA Jam, Shaq Fu, ClayFighter, Lemmings, Sim City, Killer Instinct. I can not name them all and even less in order but having spent most of my childhood in the city, when I was not outside failing to be run over on my bike, at the swimming pool or in the square to pose firecrackers in dog shit or in mailboxes, I was staring at the TV as if hypnotized by the sprites which came to life, submerged, entangled. I do not count the hours and sleepless nights that I had during the weekends of my youth playing with my neighbor or my classmates at home or at their place.
By dint of squatting in a shop not far from my home, I end up "working" there. It was during a day during which a lot of young people were in the shop to take advantage of the two terminals on display. The one that stirred everyone up and myself was Super Street FIghter II. On the other was Unirally with significantly fewer people. Annoyed by the hubbub and a turnover visibly at half mast lately, the boss of the shop organized an eliminatory tournament to empty the shop. Many present did not take part in the tournament knowing that they would not pass the first rounds and had to leave the premises.
For the winner: "A surprise that is sure to please."
We then all began to speculate on the nature of the reward, some imagining a free game, a few DBZ or Yugi-Oh decks or even a box of mini-figures. One of the four salesmen then began to search for the first names of the participants and the tournament in 2 winning rounds eliminations began. I think we must have been around twenty to participate but there were almost double the number of people in the shop. It was on fire that afternoon and at the cost of a final fight between Ryu and Fei Long with a first round ending in a Double KO, I ended up winning in extremis against a formidable opponent, much older than me and more thoroughly. He started to get angry in the second decisive round and ended up jostling me during the game and the boss stopped the fight and allowed me to put three Rs (Big kicks, otherwise he would have could have beaten me but I don't think he would have been hired In the end, there was no one left in the shop except the four sales people, the boss and one of my friends.
I didn't get along very well with two of the salespeople. One of them, let's call him Lulu, was in the same school as me and we were really stupid with him when I think about it. He was always dirty and badly dressed, had more cavities than teeth in his mouth, he lived with his mother in a 5-storey building squatted by a single African family whose children, a sibling of 6 or 7 brothers and sisters, also attended the school where we were. The cool thing about this building is that each apartment was like a big bedroom, the parents were in one of the apartments in the second, he and Lulu's mother, one in the third all the rest were for the kids or cousins of passages. There must have been no less than fifteen apartments where we could sit and play without too much hassle. But hey, it was set up in the favelas and the cleaning and maintenance ? Let's not talk about it. He was constantly carted away, in hindsight, that was really not cool. We weren't physically violent, but morally I think what we did to him must have really affected him. We all had to endure some bullying from a classmate or two at one point or another in our schooling but it didn't go as far as the relentless and collective harassment that we inflicted on him. The owner of the shop knew all that and had taken him for a few years as a salesman. He borrowed the consoles and games he wanted. I was in the store regularly, I bought games there for my birthdays and Christmas, I defended myself quite a bit with a controller in hand and had a good culture for my age and I had already advised a few customers. But I did not know anything about the management of a store, we could clearly see the entrance to the back-room between the two back windowed-shelves. But only the salesmen and the boss ventured there, returning with intact boxes smelling the packaging factory to place them in the display cases with a label ranging from 349Frs to 699Frs for certain imported titles.
After the tournament, they gave me two old figurines that had been on the shelves behind the counter for ages, full of dust and seemed to be waiting for a reaction from me. I, naive and happy with my victory, still contented myself with being intoxicated by the intensity of the tournament. Leaving the store after they lifted the metal curtain. I leave the shop followed by my friend, figurines in hand, there are still plenty of young people in front of the shop curious to finally know the reward and everyone starts laughing when they discover the figurines. Me, I don't care, I'm happy, I played Super Street Fighter II all afternoon, I won two figurines to remember my favorite shop. Little by little, the groups separate, and the crowd disperses, my friend must come back home and me too but the metal curtain of the shop opens again and after making sure that the crowd has left, I am invited to re-enter. The boss then offered me to join the team and after a short talk about my involvement and my motivation, I was "officially" inducted and brought the current team to five. I was ecstatic, in my little kid's brain, it was like fireworks. Some people were very angry to see me become a "salesman", many, older, openly asked the boss to be hired, that they deserved, knew more about it than me. But I had won my place without expecting it, maybe knowing the stakes, I will never have won this tournament, it is simply my thirst to play, my desire to have fun doing what I liked the most at the time which offered me this sesame.
I was able to find out where the games came from since we often went to wholesalers to get supplies in still quite limited quantities. I discovered that to a certain extent the prices of the cartridges were negotiable, that one could take cartridges and pay for them the next time, that reserving with an advance sometimes allowed to have the exclusivity, I think notably of Tekken and Mortal Kombat III that we were the only ones with a few rare shops, to have available the first days of their official release in Paris, that the shop had a Mail Order service and that every day, we had to pack and mail games ordered by mail or phone, that some shops sometimes need a cartridge that you have and that they have exhausted or could not get and that rare wonders can be obtained thus, that it was necessary to transmit each month the new prices and titles to the guy who made the models for the advertising inserts in the specialized magazines. In short, a lot of things that we cannot imagine at this age.
At noon we had the right to a sandwich, from the kebab with a white sauce and merguez which I have never been able to find elsewhere. A bit like the smell of a moped or a the smell of a smoking pipe, vestiges of comforting memories. Sometimes, we got good bread from the bakery, tuna with tomato or Catalan and Babybel cheese with one or two bottles of soda was better than anything. During off-peak hours, we watched imported OAVs: Gundam, Evangelion, Urotsukidoji (!), Akira, SF, DBZ in the back room. We did not understand anything in Japanese but the animation was much more spectacular than those at Club Dorothée. or we tested new things that we would never have been able to otherwise, we put on the music we wanted. In the evening, the boss would take me home on his Yamaha YZF, sometimes going through La tête dans les Nuages, an arcade venue and we would play Tekken 2, King Of Fighter, Virtua Fighter, Raiden, Virtua Cops, House of the Dead or Daytona USA. In addition to all that, we were "paid", if we can say that since each week, we shared a sum according to the sales of the store and the mail order. It was going high in certain months and on certain game releases and sometimes the lack of stock lessened our benefit.
In the evening, Lulu did the accounts. We had to make an invoice for each sale using a small Exacompta notebook which kept the duplicate invoices on carbonless paper. There was also another notebook for stocks, divided into several sections for each console and for goodies and other merchandise. Classified alphabetically, each line corresponded to an item with its selling price, in the next column, the boss updated the quantity available in the morning and after each sale we had to cross out the old quantity, put the initial of our first name, the invoice number and the new quantity. When we got to the end of the line and the box got overloaded, we had to add a page with a stapler to extend the column. It allowed for a certain traceability. Lulu took the calculator and the notebook and added up the bills for the day. One evening he counted and announced an amount. Strangely, the boss asked the other salesperson whom I couldn't get along with when I arrived to recalculate the sum. We then hit it off and became quite close, to note that his big brother also worked with us, he was also the one who managed the supply of OAV and goodies. We counted, recounted, it was missing a little money, exactly 50 francs.
The boss was disgusted and figured out where the error came from. He mentioned some oddities that had made him wince for a few months in the management of stocks, games that were missing when the notebook said no or errors in the account or initials. We usually closed between 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., we did the accounts, we borrowed the games / consoles we wanted within reason and everyone went home on foot or with the boss on his bike bike. We were often all at home for the TF1 newscast but that evening, we all called except Lulu - he didn't have the phone at home - to say that we were preparing something at the store and that we would not arrive anymore late. Quickly, the boss discovered the pot-aux-roses and Lulu's scheming. He embezzled money from the cash register by falsifying invoices and the inventory book. At 10 years old, he had thought of and implemented a system which allowed him from time to time to hit the cash register. We never knew when he started or what made him do it. Suddenly the boss separated from him, he begged like a bugger, whining all the tears in his body. I had seen him cry many times during recess where he was attacked but there he was not crying out of frustration or annoyance, he was really aware of what he was going to lose, having to return the consoles loaned out, no more vouchers, gifts, the back room, the atmosphere in which we were bathed at that time in the course of the 90s.
We were still a tight-knit team, sometimes one of the boss's nephews, a little older than us, come and lend a hand with lots of new things under our arms and one day I borrowed him a copy of the Joytstick magazine that I had. confused with Joypad and what I discovered amazed me, the games on Ordis had changed a lot from the rotten platform games games that I had been given to test many years before. My mother gave me an HP Pavilion with a Pentium 200MMX with AOL internet access, but that's another story that I'll probably tell you about next time.
Some time ago, I was coming out of a Parisian gambling circle and I was accosted by a dirty and badly haired guy who now had more emptiness than cavities and teeth in his mouth, he asked me for a cigarette with a charming smile showing me the few broken or blackened teeth, a bit like the ends of charred skewers sticking out here and there from his gums, which I handed him with fire that I did not let go after spotting how his hands were dirty and covered with sores and scratches, scars from mutilations on his forearms. Then he asked me to help him out by 5 € to help him afford a hotel room for the night. I had my tournament winnings in my jacket pocket, nearly € 2,500, and some pocket money in another. While looking for a 5 note I also took out coins and a 10 note which he saw. His body tensed and instantly, he told me that these 15 € would allow him to take the room directly without having to beg any more. I gave them to him, telling myself that if he knew what I had in my pockets, I would hear his litanies until the end of the night. Then he asked me if my name is not #####, I replied that it was indeed the case and I was flabbergasted. Was this haggard guy who chatted to me with half-closed red eyes circled like charcoal and a pasty mouth endowed with divinatory powers? He then asked me if I recognized him, I answered no and he said: "Lulu". At the time, I had completely forgotten this first name, which seemed to pity him but I had not made the connection, it was only when I got home and thinking about this meeting that everything came back to me clearly. He appeared to be homeless and a user of drugs or pills. I was dumbfounded by the circumstances of this reunion and sad at the same time to know it in this situation for undoubtedly many years with undoubtedly very little support and even more violence to face while living in the streets. It must have been almost twenty years if not more than we got lost, I moved a little bit after entering college but he recognized me at first glance.
The store has since closed, with the arrival of connected consoles and platforms such as Steam or Gog, the distribution of the video game has completely changed its model and apart from a few specialized and very famous stores in Paris, few are those that have survived until today. First converted by the boss into a cybercafé offering games in LAN FPS and MOBA, he ended up liquidating his stock and selling the goodwill which became a household appliance store then today a store which sells trinkets for € 1. Today I am full PC Gamer, my last console was the PS2. I played GTA SAMP a lot on RP and League Of Legends, DOTA2 and StarCraft 2. Having recently built a new PC to replace the dung I used as a machine. But once again this is not the subject but probably a future idea for a post to share with you. In the meantime, I don't know when I will repost but I hope you enjoyed this first sharing anyway it made me even more nostalgic for my childhood, it was summer every day, we took each other not having too much head, what counted was laughing and then one day life catches up with you ...