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Geek Origins – Thanks Mom!

By Josué Cardona

Today is Mother’s Day and I’ve been reading stories all day about how moms are responsible for certain geeky interests or how they supported geekdom when no one else would. These brought up a lot of memories for me so here are some of my favorites.

Super Mario Bros. With Mom, My Earliest Memory

My mom and dad are both responsible for me liking video games but my earliest memory is actually of me and my mom playing Super Mario. Bros while my little sister, still in diapers, was trying to watch. I must have been 3 or 4 years old.


It’s actually one of those memories that I don’t really have but was able to experience through an old home video a very long time ago.  So I remember a third-person view of the event. (Thanks for recording that, Dad!) The VHS isn’t around anymore but that “memory” is one that I always refer to when asked about my love of video games. 

Thanks Mom for teaching me how to stomp on goombas!

Late-Night Tetris

My siblings and I each had a console. The Sega Saturn was in my sister’s room and one day we bought Tetris Plus… Big mistake. Tetris was huge at home. I remember family gatherings at which we set up the NES and had one chair in front of the TV and everyone took turns seeing how far they could get. 

One night my mom and I started playing this new version of Tetris that featured an archaeologist that you helped do… something and get to Atlantis, I think, whatever, I don’t remember the details but it was fantastic. With two players, each person essentially progressed through the game on their own and my mom and I kept keeping an eye on what the other was doing and we tried to beat the other to the end. 

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Just one more level, then we’ll turn it off. Ok, one more…

I remember my mom and I sitting at the foot of my sister’s bed hours after she had gone to sleep. She even turned off the lights hoping it would encourage us to leave. I don’t know how late it was when we both finished the game but it was late

Thanks Mom for not making me go to bed before beating the game!

The Temple of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is still my favorite video game, for many reasons. One of them is that moment in the Temple of Time when Link pulls the Master Sword out of the stone and is transported into the future and we meet grown-up Link for the first time. I knew that moment was coming and I couldn’t wait. 

When I finally reached the sword, I stood there, very very excited. I mean, I was ecstatic. I was so happy that I apparently wanted to share the moment with someone. So I called for my mom and she came. I had already talked to her about what was going to happen (probably a lot) but I gave her some background info anyway to make sure she was caught up. 

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This is it! This is the moment I was waiting for!

Two years ago she bought me a Zelda-branded 3DS with Ocarina of Time and although I don’t think she remembered our moment at the Temple of Time in 1998, I did, and her gift meant more to me than she could possibly understand. (I tried to explain why it was so great.)

Thanks mom, for sharing in one of my favorite video game moments and not just rolling your eyes at your overly excited teenage son’s inexplicable love for that game! 

Sci-Fi

Star Trek was a family thing. I would have never watched The Next Generation if it weren’t because my mom liked it so much. I remember her being the type of person you could not bother when she was watching one of her TV shows. You had to be quiet. You didn’t interrupt her. If the phone rang, she wasn’t home. Instead of having her get mad at me because I somehow distracted her from a show, I would join her. I don’t remember loving Star Trek as a kid but I remember enjoying sharing it with my mom. 

Also, do you remember Columbia House? I think that right off the bat my mom ordered the Star Wars trilogy, the Aliens trilogy, and a lot of other great stuff like Batteries Not Included and Cocoon (1 and 2). 

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This was my mom’s first Columbia House movie order. (Not really.)

My mom not only watched sci-fi, she engaged in conversations with me about what we saw on Star Trek and other things we watched/read so it wasn’t just entertainment for us; These things we shared were conversation starters and my mom encouraged me when I wanted to be an astronaut, go to science camp, or buy that book on how to use a personal computer. 

So thanks again Mom for sharing some of my favorite things with me – whether it’s your fault I like them or not – because you did a great job of making me feel like what mattered to me mattered. Period. That’s something that meant a lot to me and guides a lot of what I do today.

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