The year was 2014, and I was finally getting back on my feet after a rough decade. I was starting to get back into gaming, and I’d saved up money to buy my first brand-new console. Ever. I was 27 years old at this point, but you know what they say: it’s never too late. So, I’d saved up my money and decided what I was gonna get: a Wind Waker limited edition Wii U. I’d decided to get a Wii U instead of a PS4 or XBox One because of a simple fact: I didn’t own a TV. The Wii U Gamepad would, in my mind, allow me to play AAA games without the need for a TV. What follows is the story of how a mistake on the part of an EB Games employee led me to buy a Vita instead, and how that changed my life.
If you were to rewind a further 10 years, you’d find little 17-year-old me faced with the news that I’d have to move to Canada from Paraguay. Sure, I’d get to see snow, big casinos, and pretty little lights. But I’d lose everything I ever knew. I didn’t quite know how long it’d take me to get back on my feet and recover the semblance of a normal life. In fact, it’s only now, almost 20 years later, that I can say that it took me way over a decade. And it was in 2013 that I had finally started to get back on my feet: I’d finally seen my then-long-distance-girlfriend in person for the first time (we’d first met in 2011 through Twitter, of all places), and my health was improving. I was finally able to work in multimedia production, getting the occasional client to come to my home studio. I’d eventually end up marrying that girl I met on Twitter, and I now own my own multimedia agency in Paraguay.
But in 2014, I was just starting to get off the ground. And one of the first things that I wanted to do with my hard-earned cash was to pursue one of my childhood passions: gaming. I had been unable to do so due to lack of money, but now I had some spare change and I wanted to see how it had all moved on since I’d played Prince of Persia on an IBM compatible in the early 90s. I still didn’t have a TV, though, so the PS4 and XBox One were out of the question. I always wanted to get a Nintendo console, anyway. I’d already own a 3DS but I wanted to play AAA experiences. While I love my 3DS, it just isn’t the same as having “home console”-quality gaming experiences.
So, money saved, I went to my local EB Games to buy a The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD Limited Edition Wii U Deluxe. That’s a mouthful, for sure, but I was really looking forward to playing games on the Gamepad. I requested to see the console in person and it looked beautiful. Nintendo always did have a way of designing gorgeous products, at least in my eyes. As I was about to pay, I casually mentioned to the guy serving me that I was buying a Wii U because I wanted to play without a TV. He paused, and with one sentence, changed the course of my life: “well, you can’t really play games without a TV, you know?”.
He proceeded to tell me that most games did not support gameplay without TV, and that I would still need a TV to play. In truth, you could play most of the Wii U’s catalog without a TV, at least those in the console’s library up to 2014. But I didn’t know that. I was relying on a video game store clerk to know what he was selling. And then, he said:
“If you want AAA games without the TV, what you want is a PS Vita”. I didn’t know much about the Vita up to then, but I wanted to get gaming straight away. He showed me demos (they still had demo kiosks back then) of Uncharted and Gravity Rush, and I was blown away. This was nothing like the 3DS! They looked like console games. I was hooked, and a few minutes later, I was home, with my The Walking Dead limited edition Vita console, and a copy of Ys: Memories of Celceta.
In 2015, I approached Simon Plumbe, EIC of this very publication, about the possibility of writing video game reviews. I had experience with writing reviews, but of music albums, not games. And they were in Spanish, not English. But Simon took a chance on me, and the rest is history. I’ve been at Vita Player, and its head organization, Infinite Frontiers, for almost 5 years. I’ve published over 500 pieces. And now, I write for other publications, too, on topics as varied as video games, films and music. Owning a Vita made me realize I wanted to be a part of the industry, and writing for Vita Player opened up the doors for me to be an entertainment industry writer. I love doing this.
And everything started with an innocent mistake by an ill-informed clerk, in a small corner of Calgary, Canada.
Funny thing is? I still want to own a Wii U.