Author's Note: Just a couple of clarifications. The Final Fantasy I'm referring to is the original one and I mention that "the computer's just not the same". There's a program that allows you to play NES games on the computer, which is what I'm talking about there.

Final Fantasy

The Nintendo is broken, now. It hasn't worked in years, and even then the pictures would flicker and the sound would skip, but you played it all the same. It was an old system then, and now it serves no purpose but to collect an obscene amount of dust, but you can't bring yourself to throw it away.

If you close your eyes, it's so tangible. You can see Megaman and Zelda so clearly, as if you can just reopen your eyes, and you're 10 years old again, wasting away your youth in front of a TV screen.

He hits the power button and turns on the one game he has never been able to beat. He feels lucky today, he just knows that today he's going to beat the monster and complete the game.

You wipe off some of the dust and dig around for your old games. A little nostalgia never hurt anyone, you think. And maybe you'll be able to force the system to work today. Maybe you can defeat Gannondorf or Dr. Wiley again.

Except that you don't have Legend of Zelda anymore and your copy Megaman is AWOL.

He sighs in frustration and starts over. He lost again. But no matter. It's a rainy Saturday, he's got all day. He wants to beat this game so badly, and he'll do it today. Today.

You hook up the system and put in the old Blaster Master cartridge. The screen flickers, then dies. You curse and pull out the game, blowing on the inside of it. That always used to work, you recall.

But to no avail. The system refuses to work. It's been too long, you haven't touched it in nearly eight years. This system and these games have just been sitting under your bed with all of your pogs and X-Men comic books while you grew up and moved out and graduated and got a job. How can you expect them to work now?

His younger brother and sister come in and take a seat on the floor. He doesn't say anything, and they just watch in silence. His brother suddenly grins impishly and says, "Hey, Sam. You're gonna make it this time." The worst of all jinxes! He glares at his brother and keeps trying.

You look up and your sister is standing in the doorway, looking a little confused. She asks you what you're doing.

"Just taking my old Nintendo games back to the house." You reply. She tells you that the system doesn't work anymore. You know this, but the computer just isn't the same and it's got to be worth a shot. Though, from what you've seen, it isn't. She asks you if you've seen the new PlayStation version of Final Fantasy.

"Seen, bought, and beaten." Is your reply.

There's just something about Lich that he can't beat. It's frustrating, and he's been playing this same section of the game for three weeks now. After another defeat, he gives up and turns the Nintendo off. His sister, only five years old, tells him that he'll get it next time, with all the eager, ignorant trust she's always given him.

She doesn't even feel like your sister anymore. You barely know the person she's become. To you, she's still the little girl who used to idolize you and run to you when Stephen would tease her. To you, she's still the little girl who used to watch you play Final Fantasy and Megaman and think that you were the best brother in the world. When did she grow up? You don't recognize her anymore, hardly.

But when you tell her that you finally beat Final Fantasy, she smiles and says that she knew you would and walk away.

"It was easy," you tell her retreating form, wishing that she'd ask you how you did it like she always used to. "Incredibly easy."

He'll just have to try again tomorrow. He wishes it were easier.

Then why had it always been so hard?