I'll give you a hint: It's thanks to that game, which was a port from the sega genesis that came alongside Sonic CD, P.O.D., and Comix Zone with my first family computer, that I have a particular (albeit female) fuzzy friend on my pillow for the past 10-12 years of my life.
I'm talking about none other than the game Ecco the Dolphin. Now, you may be thinking, "How could a game about a dolphin be sad?"
Well I'll tell you.
The game starts off in Ecco (a boy, unlike my ecco, who has a unique "chosen one" mark of the big dipper on his forehead) is challenged by one of his dolphin friends, to jump the highest. Your first move in the game is to learn how to jump, and while in the air, a waterspout storm happens and when you go down, your friends are gone. You look for them in the surrounding areas, but after the panic and fear has gone, you soon realize that your family, your pod, may be forever gone. The game progresses as other dolphins give you directions, and eventually an Orca tells you to search for Big Blue, the oldest blue whale in the ocean, known for his wisdom. He lives underneath the north pole. You travel alone, cold, completely and utterly alone in the world, and then you find the Big Blue. He tells you that your pod has been harvested by aliens known as the Vortex, who have to steal water to create food. You start to realise that your friends may be dead, trapped in some terrifying cosmic world lightyears away from home. He then tells you to find the world's oldest living thing, a relic from the cretacious era known as the Asterite.
Keep in mind; I was only 10 at the time, and I'm starting to realise that this may be the earliest memory of depression, and the older I get the more I realise that I may indeed have been schizophrenic for far before my brief incident two years ago.
The feel of the game was designed around Pink Floyd's "Wish you were here" and was made extremely difficult so "kids couldn't rent the game and beat it over a weekend"
Back to the story. The asterite knows how to save your friends, but he's missing a part of him. He sends you to atlantis, tells you that the only way to get it back is to steal it in the cretacious era from him, and that you have to power an atlantis time machine. You learn from the atlantian's story crystals the truth about the aliens, known as the Vortex, and venture forth into the horrors of the alien past.
You find the Asterite, who attacks you, and you rip the part from him. Back to the present, the asterite grants you the ability to regenerate health and breathe underwater, and gives you a "sonic blast" attack powered by sonar.
Then you travel to the alien world.
In the computer version, there's this horrifying cgi cutscene where ecco travels in a lovecraftian landscape, and finds the terrifying Vortex queen (the level is named "Welcome to the Machine, after the Pink Floyd song") and you kill it and save your friends.
Now, by the time I had gotten this far, I was completely and utterly crushed by the game. I understood Ecco's struggle with being alone, and I identified with his search for acceptance and belonging. When the time came for me to move to San Diego, the first place I went to was the San Diego Zoo. At the gift shop, desperate for some free souvenier by my parents, I reluctantly chose the dolphin staring at me. In the car ride, I regretted my reluctance, and being new to that city, I decided to name it Ecco, but to make it a female, because somehow it endeared me.
Ever since, because of that game, whenever I feel desperate and alone, without a person to talk to, I talk to Ecco, my Ecco. If something happened to her, you bet I'd be crushed far worse than my episode 2 years ago. It's strange, for a grown man to be so connected to a few stuffed animals, but somehow dolphins became both a symbol of my eccentricity and a thing I really identified with growing up.
My ecco is also a graduate from the Atlantis University. Growing up, perhaps out of schizophrenic tendencies, I almost believed she had lived, perhaps in another life, as a real dolphin. I got more dolphins, her own pod, with 4 tiny dolphins and 3 other ones, including her older brother Uncle Finn, the largest and fuzziest.
I suppose this was a long post, but I'm glad that you guys stuck with me this far. I suppose I will never play Ecco again, even though I have sega genesis emulators. But I will always have my Ecco... perhaps a few of them, from the same company that made them. A NWT 20" Leosco Bottlenose Dolphin Plush. Ecco still has her tag! :)