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The curse of 'must have' technology

I remember when the coolest thing I owned was a Gameboy.

It wasn't too long ago, though it feels like forever. I would guess it was about 12 years ago. I was a kid, so realistically I understood what I could coax my parents into buying it for me. I really wanted a Gameboy, and maybe it took a bit of nudging, but eventually my parents felt I deserved one.

I took such good care of it, never letting it leave my side. I played it until the buttons were discolored from my fingers jamming on them all day. I was about 10 years old, but I understood what that game meant to me and I knew I owed it to my parents to take good care of it, and I did.

Somewhere between the ages of 10 and 14, the iPod rose to the forefront of ‘must have' technology. I didn't really get what it was, but my uncle bought me one as an eighth grade graduation gift and it had buttons and a screen, so I assumed it was cool (assumption: correct).

Fourteen years old, and I was the only kid I knew who owned an iPod. That was where I think things got a little hazy, at least in my life. Technology became less special.

My two younger sisters are now the same age I was when I asked for that coveted Gameboy. This Christmas, there was no Gameboy under that tree for either of them. There was a Kindle Fire and a cell phone.

I asked 11-year-old Kristen if she had ever played with a Gameboy. "Gameboy? You mean Nintendo DS. I had one of those when I was 7," she said.

Well, excuse me. Kristen needs a cell phone (I use the verb ‘need' hesitantly). She's a busy kid and she likes to keep in touch with my parents, but the way children view technology these days is far different from how I did.

Last week, she sent a text message to a friend and because of poor cell service, it didn't go through.

"This is ridiculous," she yelled.

Is it ridiculous that you're angry because the device that is sending invisible signals that bounce off a satellite and hit the cell signal in your friend's phone, miles away, is taking longer than 20 seconds?

Maybe it is. I don't know. What I do know is that I miss my Gameboy. And if I could find it right now, I would play Pokémon all day on that small, dark screen with poor graphics, and I wouldn't complain even once.

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John Lopiano is a senior journalism major from Brooklyn, N.Y. He can be reached at


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