A technological rebirth

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, B, A, select, start.  That’s right, you know what I’m talking about.  No use in denying it.  The infinite lives cheat code for Contra on old-school Nintendo.  Anyone that took a single adolescent or teenage breath in the 1980s knows that code.  Like most people, I got to the point where it became a thoughtless act.  Just at that right moment, your fingers went flying.  And remember how easy it became to defeat Super Mario Brothers?  Simply jump from level one, to level three, to level five, and finally to level eight.  Oh yeah, I haven’t forgotten. Those were the good old days, I tell you.

Tragically, those days have passed most of us by.  I say most of us because I know there are a few people out there like me that refused to give up that little gray box (God bless you, brothers and sisters).  Apparently, the gaming industry chose to move on without us.  Now there are dozens of choices available to satisfy your videogame cravings.  There have been countless incarnations of Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox to choose from over the years, offering better graphics, smoother gameplay, and yada yada yada.  That’s great and all, but the world seems to be overlooking a major problem… our youth.

Pretty soon, consoles in general will be a thing of the past, and “playing video games,” will evolve into real-life.  You’ll go to a friend’s house to “play” the newest fighting game… but you will be the characters.  You will pound away at each other, until a light in your room says “game over.”  But I ask you, how will this generation make it in life having not known the true Legend of Zelda?  How will they ever understand what they missed out on without true racing games like RC Pro-Am? How can they ever understand the art of fighting without having experienced Double Dragon?

Yes, one could argue that these newer games create better hand-eye coordination, I suppose.  But these companies think that adding more buttons to a controller makes things more complicated, advancing these kids’ skills.  Absolutely not.  You want to learn skill?  You want to learn patience?  You want to learn discipline?  Give these kids a 20 year old Nintendo, and see if they can make it work!  Remember that?  The exact science of blowing in a cartridge, because that magically made it work.  The precision with which you put the cartridge into the console, in order to avoid seeing that annoying flashing screen.  I swear, by the time we hit puberty, we were all certified engineers.

Maybe if our government had even the slightest clue, they would recognize the value in that old school box.  Personally, I think we should pull all the computers out of our public schools and replace them with the old Nintendo.  I learned far more from the guy on Kung Fu than I could ever learn from Bill Gates.  And besides… Tony Hawk can’t even compare to Skate or Die.

100 Comments Add yours

  1. Thot says:

    Kenny, I am writing this comment to ask you a question and to make a suggestion if the answer to the question is no…the question is ….can your MOTHER move you easily about the house, move you from bed to recliner, jazzy etc by herself?…if not may I suggest a very inexpensive and easy resolution…I had a neighbor who had progressive MD and was for all intents and purposes as you are. I needed a method to get him into my car, his chair, to the bathroom etc…I found a pivot lift of an older variety which enabled all of those activites with only ONE person doing it. it took a little work but fit nicely in two pieces in any back seat and enabled even his daughter who weighed about 140 lbs to move him easily without assistance. it was a godsend the day we discovered its versatility…my friend loved it!…at times we would just STAND him up in a bent over position, chest resting on the top of the pivot pad and he would rest in that position until he wanted to again sit…I do not recall the brand name, but it can be seen at the following website… I have no financial interest in the company nor do I sell them…http://www.easypivot.com/easypivot/

  2. Thot says:

    the preceeding comment seems off topic…the word technology was what triggered my thots

  3. Unknown says:

    Holy S%*T! This is the busiest blog I\’ve ever seen! At first it was probably cool, but I\’m sure it\’s become a little overwhelming… and here I am adding to the # of comments for ya… ha!Take care and have fun reading 🙂

  4. Crystal says:

    Hey hun just stopped by to invite you to join my Love Train over at my space…we would love to have you aboard!!!! Have a wonderful day!!!CrystalPS i would love it if you added a link to it on your space…..the more passengers the better 🙂

  5. Unknown says:

    My dream allows me to touch his face again, to trace my fingers over his brow and kiss his forehead one more time. In my dreams I get to see his beautiful eyes and hear him profess his love for me. And in that moment after the dream as my mind wakes me from sleep, before the fog lifts I almost feel him lying next to me in bed. I believe that he is there and what I thought was a horrible reality must have been a dream after all. He gave me everything. He drove me crazy, he made me laugh, he was funny and thoughtful and he remembered all of the little things. Life was difficult and demanding and we were financially challenged from the day we met. His dry sense of humor and sarcastic attitude made me smile every time.I supported his passion to the bitter end and have no regrets. …except one….that it ended way too soon.I miss being scared to death as we flew into the dark sky to some unknown airport in the middle of nowhere. I miss watching stupid movies late at night just to be next to each other. I miss him teaching our son how to be a man.Everyone has a story, so they say. Some stories are harsher than others. No one can understand what you go through, not even another quadriplegic. Your story is your own. I understand loss in more ways than one. I understand loneliness when I used to poke fun at those who couldn’t stand it. I understand bitterness, anger and sadness. But most of all I understand true love, devotion, the need for family and the value of a Kleenex. It is good to see you hopeful and optimistic at times when I am sure it is hard. That gives me hope for my dark days yet to come.

  6. Tian says:

    Cheers! 100 comments!have a nice day Kenny.

  7. Aminath says:

    Hey This was a great article, & i agree with u.I wish i saow this about 17 yrs ago, so i could learn the cheat code, when i wanted to play i always asked my bro to do the cheat, hehehehanyway enjoyed ur articleDhonkanbili

  8. Unknown says:

    Just wanted to say, Hi…. Maybe we can talk sometimes….. Be Blessed Trisha

  9. Lindsey says:

    hey im 21 now and had a car accident when i was 17 that left my left side partially paralyzed. i go to the university of ky and im trying to be "normal" like everyone else. i know my injuries dont even hold a candle to your injuries, but i understand where youre coming from. i have a good sense of humor and try to let that show, but it\’s hard sometimes. keep writing, i enjoy reading your blog.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I can totally relate to the days of Nintendo. I spent most of my time playing Super Mario Bros and just recently bought a game boy so I can still play it. God do I miss the eighties. I\’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to your future entries.

  11. Scott says:

    Kenny:I work for Steven Fletcher who is a Member of Parliament in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I have cut and pasted his bio into this for your information. As you will see, Steven is a pretty extraordinary guy that you have a lot in common with:MP ON WHEELS October 05, 2004 ________________________________________from Total Access Publication- Fall 2004Winnipeg voters recently made Steven Fletcher the first quadriplegic Member of Parliament. In the process, Steven overcame the odds—something he’s been doing for some time.One of the most intriguing subplots of the recent federal election took place in the Winnipeg riding of Charleswood-St. James. The Liberal party’s star candidate, Glen Murray, had stepped down as mayor of the city to accept the party’s nomination. He was expected by most pundits to be a shoe-in who would head straight to cabinet given a Liberal victory.His Conservative opponent was Steven Fletcher, a 32-year-old engineer with an MBA who just happens to be a high-level quadriplegic. Clearly, Fletcher was underestimated by both pundits and his opponent. When the dust cleared, Fletcher had become the country’s first quadriplegic Member of Parliament, defeating Murray by a slim margin of 826 votes.“The principle that we used in the election, and the principle that we used during the riding nomination, was to out-organize, outwork, and just work smarter than the opposition,” says Fletcher. “I am a product of Canada. Where else in the world could this happen? I have no money. I have no power and I come from a family that isn’t well known or anything. So as Canadians, I think we should give ourselves a pat on the back, and then get back to the grindstone so that this type of thing becomes the norm.”That type of work ethic and positive attitude has served Fletcher well since his injury in 1996. At the time, he was a 23-year-old mining engineer returning home to Winnipeg late one evening when a moose crashed through his windshield. What followed was a year-long ordeal in hospital and an uphill battle to regain independence as a C3-C4 quadriplegic with no function below the neck. “What got me involved in politics in the first place was the experiences I had after my accident,” says Fletcher. “I had just a horrific experience in the hospital—I was there for 11 months—and while I was there I made a decision that I didn’t want to be institutionalized. I wanted to live as normal a life as possible. And that’s really where my political activism began—I began advocating on my own behalf with the health care system and with Manitoba Public Insurance. I think most people with SCI or any physical disability will find that they are political activists in a way, because if they’re not, unfortunately, the system will probably eat them alive.”Fletcher’s tenacity paid off when he moved straight from the hospital to his own apartment in the area of Winnipeg of his choosing, which, he says, “was unprecedented at the time.”Finding a home, however, was only the beginning in Fletcher’s new life. “I decided that the only part of my body that was working the way it should be was from the neck up, so I knew I had to be re-educated,” he says. “I went back to university and entered the MBA program. At that time, people said that was impossible; that I wouldn’t even be able to write the entrance exam.”Needless to say, Fletcher proved that the skeptics were wrong (a repeating theme in his post-injury life). Not only did he excel in the MBA program, he formally kicked off his political career by being elected for two terms as president of the University of Manitoba’s Students’ Union. There, he fought to bring the Students’ Union’s $5-million budget under control. His controversial solutions included inviting companies such as Starbucks to open businesses on campus. “The organization wasn’t running in the way you’d expect—it was in financial disarray and wasn’t utilizing its resources to full potential,” Fletcher explains. “To make a long story short, by the time I left, it was out of debt for the first time in 30 years, it had businesses that were well run and making oodles of money, and we were able to invest in student services that were important to it. It was a win-win situation, but there was a lot of resistance to overcome.”The experience further whetted his appetite for politics. In 2001, he was named president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba in 2001. From there, he battled for the nomination for the Charleswood-St. James riding. And finally, on the eve of June 28, 2004, all of his young political aspirations were realized when it became clear that the majority—albeit slim—of his riding’s constituents wanted him to represent them in the House of Commons. And that’s where Fletcher will take his place on October 4, 2004, when the fall parliamentary session begins. He will, however, have some technicalities to work out prior to that date. For example, the House will need to improve its accessibility and, more importantly, its rules, in order to accommodate Fletcher’s ever-present attendants—currently, anyone who is not a Member of Parliament is “not permitted on the floor of the House of Commons when the House is sitting.” There’s also the issue of voting—how does a high level quadriplegic signal “aye” or “nay”? “Maybe I’ll wink at the Speaker,’’ he told the Globe and Mail in a June 30th story.And then there’s the job itself. After the election, Conservative leader Stephen Harper wasted little time in appointing Fletcher to the prominent position of health critic. “It is an extremely important responsibility, particularly in this stage of our country’s history,” concedes Fletcher. “We will be formulating the future direction of health care in Canada for generations. I think I have to step back and say that, before my accident, I didn’t give the health care system or the less fortunate much thought—I really didn’t think about it at all. And then, when I found myself in the health care system in a very big way, it really shocked me to discover that, on one hand, we save the lives of people, or prolong their lives, but then we don’t provide them with the resources to live really full, dignified lives. So I still carry that emotion, a sadness for the health care system and the people that find themselves in the health care system. I think the experience I have, being a user of the health care system in a big way, allows me to bring a new perspective to Parliament that may not have existed before.” Beyond enhancing the health care system, Fletcher says he is concerned about economic growth and balancing it with social programs, as well as ensuring that he is an effective voice for his constituents in Winnipeg.What he’s not comfortable with is casting himself in the role of champion of people with disabilities, as he was not elected on that platform. However, he makes it clear that, when issues involving disability arise, he will make his voice heard. And he looks forward to the opportunity of bringing spinal cord injury into a new level of prominence in the nation’s capital.“Just being on Parliament Hill every day will create awareness,” he says. “Most politicians haven’t even met someone in a wheelchair. I think people’s eyes are just beginning to open to disability issues.”Sam Sullivan, a four-term Vancouver city councillor who also happens to be a quadriplegic, says Steven’s victory bodes well for people with disabilities. “Some of the most important disability issues are at the federal level,” says Sullivan. “We are all fortunate that Steven’s voice will be there to speak for us. Steven demonstrates just how much a strong will and a dream can triumph over a disability. Canadians with disabilities have a strong advocate in Steven Fletcher. We now have someone to deal with issues from the inside.”The respect is mutual—Fletcher views Sullivan as somewhat of a mentor. He visited Sullivan in 1999 to learn about politics and came away impressed with Sullivan’s contributions as a politician and the driving force behind such organizations as Tetra and the Disabled Sailing Association. Since that time, the pair have worked on several initiatives together. “We all build on each other’s successes and move forward,” says Fletcher.Fletcher’s election victory and his appointment as health critic make it clear that he is one of the rising stars in the Conservative ranks. His victory also serves notice that Canadians with SCI can—and will—become more involved in the politics of our country.He encourages anyone with a spinal cord injury to get involved in politics if they hear the calling, but he also serves up a caution. “I’d say that every Canadian should become involved in the political process. Overall, however, I think people should do what they want to do with their lives. If they want to go into politics, then do it. As many occupations as there are out there, they’re all honourable, all contribute to society, and all are important. Focus on the personal life and lay the foundation for that, because that’s the number one priority and everything else will follow.”

  12. spitfire says:

    Great space!Have a good day,Dawn

  13. Andrea says:

    That is hilarious!!! Just reading your first line brought me back. Along with the blowing don\’t forget about also banging on the it and doing almost the nintendo prayer for it to work "this time" after want seemed like a life time. Good Times! You make me almost want to break out the nintendo and play. Yes…I still have mine and about 30 games. Is that sad?Thoughts are with you,

  14. KIMBERLY says:

    I think it\’s wonderful that your mind can soar free in the internet. You are limited to this outlet while many of us aren\’t, but we choose to do it anyways. Day in and day out, sitting in front of a computer monitor. Do you think we\’re nuts? Joining the mental meeting of the minds. I think you are an incredible guy, an incredible person, to be so positive about life.

  15. Lydia says:

    Im so Amazed that you are using your disability to help others.God BlessLydia

  16. Teri says:

    Too funny, yes those were the days. I still own my NES system and games. I should pull them out and play them with my 13 year old son just for fun. Maybe for once I could kick his butt at video games. ;o) Have a great day! Teri

  17. Unknown says:

    Just popping in again for a quick hello. Have a great day hun, smoochesssssssss:o)~~Anne~~

  18. linda says:

    Hey, KennyWhat gives? Too many comments to read, huh? Not enought time to write. Just checking in to see what you\’re thinking today. But two days in a row same thoughts. I\’m missing you.

  19. Darlene says:

    Oh what you do to me!

  20. Andria says:

    soooooooo TRUE sooooooo TRUE, and besides I can\’t even function on the XBOX, I played Halo2 online once and shot the ceiling most of the time. Ahhh Nintendo, I remember beating super mario a ton of times, learning the position to stand so bowser can\’t hit ya. On F-ZERO! Wow that was a blast (gamecubes is pretty neat looking). My husband still has his nintendoo and a lot of the games, have the NES still too…love Earthbound for it.

  21. AeroGarfield29 says:

    LOL! ahhhh, the memorieshmmm, maybe i should copy it down… u never know when it may come in handy later!

  22. Unknown says:

    i agree with you, everyone should have an old school nintendo. my best friends and i have spent countless hours playing the little grey box, we love it. game systems these days are fun, but all the extra buttons suck. by the way your extremely good looking!

  23. E. says:

    Hi dear Kenny,Im a little heartbroken to read your story. You are amasing guy!! I have a son who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and he will be completly paralised when he will be around 12 years old but he is 8 years old now and still walking and running cheerful little boy but has difficulties climing the stairs. I want to do so many things with him before this will happen. He dosent understand this now but he is starting to ask some questions, but I guess he will find out about this disease when he gets older, but until then we are going to have a great time!!!!Its good to see how optimistic you are.Take care and keep up the good work with your writing!

  24. Stephanie says:

    Ahh.. the super nintendo. I actually played mine a little bit earlier. That is what kept me from studying while going through my college years. 🙂 Yoshi is still the best! :)I just found your blog today, and I haven\’t been able to leave it. You are a true inspiration and an amazing person. But i\’m sure you already know that! 🙂 have a great day.

  25. Rita says:

    dude! ah! Contra! oh man, I read the code and was like — wait a sec here. I know this —! and blowing the cartridge. Yes, pure genius there. (All those techniques we\’d share like "stick it in the freezer so it cools down" – was it true? no idea but heck it worked; "press the game down at like 1/8th in so it makes that sound" – can\’t believe it didn\’t mess up the console but hey! it made the game work)And by gosh, so many good NES memories. Gah, I miss the old days. Those days were pure perserverance on our parts with handling our "saves" as only three were allowed at a time. Bah, every game had its thing. But my favorite does have to go out to SuperMarioBros stage3 (I believe) where there\’s two turtles coming down the steps and you have to jump precisely on the second one so you can get those 1ups. Good times.

  26. Brandi says:

    Ah, fellow geek, I love the old-school Nintendo! Some of my best and happiest memories are of the countless hours I spent with my cousin playing thise games!!
    LOL….yes the legendary "blowing into the cartridge to make it work trick"
    I need to get another Nintendo…ours went the way of the buffalo some time ago!

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