by Adam R
We’ve all experienced it. The actual idea can come from a myriad of sources: reminiscing with friends, casual web surfing, spring cleaning. One way or another the idea gets into our head, which is something akin to: “You know what? I haven’t played that game in YEARS! Let’s go for it.” Next thing you know you’re jacking in the old system and listening to the, seemingly, ancient start up sounds (“Se-ga!” comes to mind). From this point on, you’re sucked in. Dated sound effects, admittedly sub-par graphics, and gameplay that now feels clunky in light of recent advancements do nothing but help to transport you back in time. I look at it as taking a step back and re-examining your roots; it may not be the peak of gaming nirvana, but it sure as hell makes for one damn fine weekend.
This feeling usually catches up with me every two or three years. The gaming industry moves faster than Sonic himself and it’s not uncommon for me to feel like I’m simply being dragged along for the ride. I was speaking with a friend of mine recently about the upcoming games we were looking forward to; from us flowed excess amounts of excitement for the likes of Mass Effect, Portal and others, which I’m sure a vast number of others are also looking forward to. When we mentioned the Batman sequel, a third companion of mine looked over and said “Wait, didn’t the first one just come out?” While it’s true a game released less than two years ago may still feel new to someone not as dedicated to the pad as others, it made me try and come up with why a sequel was already due. The only explanation I had for him was that the game industry moves so fast, if it didn’t keep in our faces, it was doomed to be forgotten. Yearly releases are becoming more and more common, even amongst big name titles like Call of Duty, in addition to the already established sport releases that grace us annually. Add to that the constant stream of other unrelated games, releases new and old are simply washed away by the outpouring of products vying for your buck. Taking a break from the rush may not be the most effective way of screaming “fuck you” in the face of ‘The Man’, but it certainly helps to keep things in perspective.
Like most other entertainment mediums, the gaming library of yore is filled with titles both memorable for their sheer amazing execution of digital bliss, and those that are unforgettable simply because of how god forsakenly terrible they were. I often replay games that were not only memorable on their own, but also hold some kind of personal story to them. When I play Mortal Kombat on my PS one, I’m taken straight back to a time nearly a decade ago when my friend Mitchel and I sat around the soft glow of the TV in the wee hours of the morning; during a rather intense match I impulsively yelled aloud “Stop touching me!” This surprised my mate to the point where he simply stopped playing in order to look at me in confusion. He was under the impression that, somehow, I was actually being touched. Playing through Super Mario World on the SNES transports me to the desert of my youth, as a cousin and I tried to escape the summer heat by conquering the dangers of the Mushroom Kingdom.
It doesn’t always have to be “old” games either. I have fond memories that are too numerous to even attempt cataloging from the countless hours I’ve spent playing the first two Halo installments with my high school friends. These involve a range of ridiculous events, from the inclusion of the theme song from Indiana Jones, the title of “Freakin Ninja” being passed around freely, and a hilarious outing of one of our collective attempting to play while on a painkiller high (they were prescribed!!). To me, it’s the time we have with the games, with each other, just as much the quality of the game itself that makes a bit of code contained in some plastic much more than that, and turns it into something that leaves a lasting impression on us and, if we’re lucky, on the entire gaming industry as a whole.
So next time you find yourself with some free time, or if you’re browsing through the library of your current gaming system, or hell, even if you are just really effing bored, take some time stroll down your gaming memory lane. Keep from being overwhelmed by the “NEW NEW NEW” and instead, embrace what made you love gaming in the first place, and why you continue to love it even now.
Last five articles by Adam R
- Injustice: Gods Among Us - E3 Preview
- Halo 4 - E3 Preview
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