Nostalgia Advance

I’ve been very tempted recently by the Nintendo 3DS XL. There are just too many good games on that system to ignore and, as a Zelda junkie, A Link Between Worlds may well be the tipping point. When I was pricing the system I discovered that they offer a pink version and it made me think back to my old Game Boy Advance. In a time before the Internet I ordered my video games from a mail order company called Gameplay. They’re defunct now and I’m sad to see they don’t even have a Wikipedia entry. The catalogue had a picture of the Arctic (clear blue) GBA with the other colours listed alongside, text only, and some explanation of the more esoteric names. When I called they said the only one available was “Fuchsia”, listed in that catalogue as “Fuchsia (Clear Red)”. I said that was fine.

“Clear Red”

What arrived 3-5 working days later was unequivocally Pink. I was 13 in 2001. I attended an All-Boys Catholic school. When it arrived I was unconcerned but in the Xbox LIVE atmosphere of school the device became a point of immediate ridicule. They called it my “Gay Boy Advance” because of course they did. I weathered the storm for about a week but I hadn’t yet learned that pink is not inherently feminine nor is femininity equated with homosexuality, nor is being accused of either an insult. Eventually I got super self-conscious about it and decided to try to get the thing swapped for clear blue, the paragon of masculinity. I read the terms and conditions for a return. The fact that I had opened and played the device quickly emerged as an issue, so I hatched an elaborate scheme to make the console appear unused. I coerced my father into spending several of his lunch hours hunting down batteries of the same make and model (Panasonic Alkaline Power MAX, I still remember) as those that had shipped with the GBA. The original batteries had been printed in Japanese but I somehow felt that was secondary. In place of the plastic slip that covered the brand new GBA inside the box I used a zip-lock bag. Bulletproof. I listed the reason for my return as “Wrong Colour” since I indignantly felt that the “clear red” description had been misleading. I think someone at the company took pity on me because the exchange was accepted, although the box for the replacement was severely damaged. I regret exchanging it. It was the wrong thing to do. I wish I’d had the courage to just plant my feet and let the haters hate. I wish I’d had the intelligence to know that I was being confronted with ignorance. I look back on my fortnight with that pink GBA with great fondness and I’ve heard they’ve become something of a collector’s item now. I wish I still had mine, not for the rarity, but for the trophy it would have become. A prize won by my younger self for standing by his individuality, worthy of being placed in some cabinet. Instead its blue cousin languishes in a box underneath the bed, where all objects of shame reside. That pink 3DS is getting more and more tempting.

Temptation...I can't resist. (You choose Wilde or Waits)

Temptation…I can’t resist. (You choose Wilde or Waits)


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