written by: Gary K.W.
In the 90’s geek culture was a luxury not a lot of kids had especially not in black households. Especially me, and mine. I knew nothing about most classic video games if it weren’t for most friends at sleepovers and that one cousin that was in the know and had consoles, but lived far away. As a child I had a love for gaming that no one in my family seemed to really understand outside of my cousin and I. We were labeled Nintendo Freaks by a lot of my other cousins because that’s all I really wanted to do when I went to their house was play the NES, or Playstation for hours, I wasn’t interested in basketball or just walking around the neighborhood, because the area where I grew up being a black nerd was non existent, unlike the way its celebrated in the 21 century. You could and sometimes would get into verbal or physical altercations talking about video games or anything nerdy or dorky. Yes, literally being a back nerd in the hood was dangerous. Now I know we ALL have had our struggles, so I’m only speaking from the perspective of THIS black nerd. I grew up in a hyper religious home where a lot video games, TV shows and anime other than the obvious Bible game for NES, and a local christian TV channel called Family Vision was allowed. Which to be fair it did show christian anime, kind of, from the 80’s. One called The Flying House and Superbook, (Google them, please) because somehow every element of of every game coincidentally rooted back to some scripture of the bible that condemns my consumption. Examples: Pokemon, was the very first video game I ever obsessed over in 1996. My mother and father found nothing wrong with it initially, they even purchased my first navy blue gameboy pocket with Pokemon Red version. Fast forward to 1999, Pokemon the movie is about to release, Burger King now has the best kids meal toys on the planet and some news story somewhere now says that said toys like Pokemon, Beanie babies, and Hot Wheels will be worth millions of dollars in the year 2010. Can I tell you how many pokemon toys we had in that house…that I could not play with!? Sure, no problem I wasn’t angry at all. It’s for the greater good, right? Fast forward a little bit more, Pokemon has taken over the nation its everywhere, the schools the malls, the news, what a time to be alive! My mom would take me to the Sears in our local mall to buy my school uniforms (you know since Louisiana is the only state in the f*%%king country to require public schools to wear uniforms) and the pokemon kiosk had collectable golden dog tag necklaces with my favorite pocket monsters on them and a TV playing the anime to keep me company while she shops. The episode that was playing on this particular day is VERY important because it changed my life forever. It was the episode Clefairy and the Moonstone, in this episode Clefairys abilities are explained, specifically telekinesis. Comically this is the most perfect time for my mother to walk up to me so we can leave to hear and ruin one of my favorite TV shows for me. My life has never known peace since. My mother, for a lack of better words, flipped her shit. According to her, the lord and his word, telekinesis is witchcraft, and witchcraft is the work of the devil and all pokemon related games, cards and paraphernalia must be confiscated immediately. Here’s another shorter example, remember the Nickelodeon show CatDog, yup that was banned too. Why, you ask? Because a cat and a dog as one was demonic, with no explanation of how. Dragon Ball Z? Banned! So this one is actually really really interesting. The church that I belonged to in my early teens was very..creepy in different ways. The youth of the church pretty much ran everything and it was very cultish. The youth Leaders would check on you periodically by phone and if you avoided them, they would show up at your house and literally get you out of bed and take you to church for your mandatory 30 minute prayer session in a almost empty room that had a giant wooden cross that had red pain that was supposed to be blood on it and we had to praying to the cross with a timer set for 30 minutes. Seemingly out of nowhere there was a church campaign to stop the boys from watching Dragon Ball Z, not because it was too violent, not because the characters could fly or teleport, or any crap like that. But because one of the youth leaders stumbled upon DBZ X Sailor Moon hentai. Which ironically got my curious ass to look it up, forever transforming me from a boy, to a Senpai. It took 20 years for me to convince my mom to give me some of my toy back, the Pokemon cards are still pending.