By Urbi Khan
I’m afraid of going back to my Nintendog.
It was a Shih Tzu. I forget her name, at least I think she was a female. I abandoned her back in 2010. I was 12 years old. I am genuinely terrified to see this dog.
Back then, I would forget for weeks to check in on the dog and when I did, she would be covered in fleas. The dog would run up to the screen, barking and pawing at it. She would always have a morose look on her face,
I was always horrified by her condition and I wondered what she would smell like if I was there, if this game wasn’t just virtual reality. I would buy flea shampoo and give her a bath. I also fed her corned beef, which was her favourite. Then, I would forget again, and the cycle continued. I eventually just forgot about her altogether. I knew the dog wasn’t real.
The game wasn’t real. It wasn’t a part of my life. But, something made me want to go see what this dog looks like now, after eight years.
Is she a skeleton? Is she still covered in fleas, waiting for her owner to come back so she can bark and paw viciously at the screen again? The image of my beloved Nintendo Shih Tzu is so permanently imprinted in my brain that I can’t stand the sight of Shih Tzus now. I have moved onto Australian Shepherds—in the real world. I am now 20 years old. And I have more adulting to do now than I had to as a kid.
I have to do things like clean my room and so on. One time (while I was cleaning), I came across a storage box labelled, “Ye Olde (Childhood) Electronics” in black sharpie, taped shut.
Once I opened the box, I found my neon green Apple MP3 player, Game Boy games and finally the item that I cherished most as a child: my DS Lite. I think I stopped playing with it about five years ago. I received my DS Lite in 2008, when I was 10 years old. It was a special Onyx Dialga and Palkia edition or more simply as I remember calling it: The Pokémon Diamond and Pearl edition.
This was my first personal electronic device. I would even say that this DS Lite prepared me for the smartphone culture, with its touch screen and compact size. My dad bought the DS Lite for me because my younger brother, Adib and I would fight over his game systems. We shared the PlayStation 2, but some of the others were too personal for us to share.
The fighting stopped and we started trading Pokémon. We even exchanged some choice words on PictoChat that we couldn’t share in front our parents, but we had to be in the same vicinity of each other to be able to connect.
We were both content with ourselves. To this day, my DS Lite is in perfect condition. Although it does have its imprints, which contributes further to my childhood memories.
The DS stylus has bite marks on it, and I’m assuming it’s because it got mixed up with another that belonged to my childhood friend’s baby sister Zara. My friend Urooj and I would have sleepovers and we would play with our DSs. She’s probably around nine years old now. I have lost touch with my friend Urooj but those bite marks remain, making my memory of her and her family even stronger.
My room is clean now, I have gotten rid of a lot of childhood things of which I will no longer need such as my hair accessories, clothes and even some books. But my DS Lite will always remain with me.
And I have also found my Nintendogs chip. I think about popping it into the slot, and I open my DS Lite. The reboot music floods my mind with thoughts of a childhood that is now only a distant memory.