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Best and worst birthday presents

With all the talk within the church about birthdays recently we thought what better time than now to ask staff members what were the best and worst birthday presents they’ve received. Here’s Ben with his memories. 

The best

I should probably list something that was romantic or sentimental from a significant other or family member but (and I’m sorry for the non-gaming people who will probably find the following answer just gobbledegook) … the best birthday gift that stays long in the memory was receiving a Nintendo 64 video game console with the Goldeneye game from my parents.

At the time my friends were all making the switch from the Super Nintendo to the 64 and my parents had strongly resisted the need for our household to procure yet another distraction from reading books or doing homework but they eventually caved (months and months of my whingeing and anecdotes about what other kids were playing might have had something to do with it).

We got our money’s worth because I played that game for a long time and didn’t even bother with the next generation of console that followed the Nintendo 64—the Nintendo Gamecube. Who needed a Gamecube when I had everything I needed in gaming with the 64: Goldeneye, Mario Kart 64, Super Mario 64, 1080°, Turok and the list goes on.

The fun kept on going: this was in the days before online gaming became the paradigm for social gameplay so friends would come over for epic Goldeneye multiplayer showdowns into the early hours of the morning as we’d try not to get all four controllers hopelessly tangled or get the joysticks covered in pizza grease. One point of embarrassment: I’m still reminded by people that when I first played Goldeneye I boldly declared, “I don’t think video games can get much more realistic looking than this!” If you do a quick YouTube search on Goldeneye gameplay you’ll see just how wrong I was. Last year, I was playing Grand Theft Auto 5 and was about to make the same proclamation that realism in games couldn’t get any better when I was reminded of my previous Goldeneye prediction. I kept my mouth shut and my eyes on the screen.

The worst

My brother gave me a 4×6 photo-frame made from an old bent spoon and fork he’d found at a nearby market. It was a hideous looking object and he hadn’t bothered to put a family photo inside, it just had a generic paper insert, so there wasn’t even a personal touch to soften the aesthetic horror of it all. People say it’s the thought that counts but considering my family were involved in the photo-frame business and could easily source a photo-frame (we had plenty anyway), I don’t know how much thought really went into this. We were both adults at the time of this exchange (he was much older than me) so I cannot even excuse it on youthful ignorance.

That frame enjoyed about thirty minutes in my possession before heading to the rubbish bin. My mother even said it wasn’t worth trying to re-gift unless you intended to insult the recipient.  


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