One of my earliest memories of videogames is also one of the last clear memories I have of my aunt, my father’s sister, Donna. It was cold out, but not quite the holidays. We were sitting on the shag carpet in my grandparents’ house, where she lived, playing Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle. The ColecoVision was plugged into one of those horrible console televisions that looked like it belonged in a cathedral rather than a living room.
She was pretty good – I’d never seen anyone else rescue Smurfette. I, on the other hand, wound up frequently impaled on a purple stalagmite. It was 1984. I was five. The next year, Donna died of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was 21. (more…)