No this has nothing to do with Michael Jackson, unless your fond of Moonwalker for Genesis…
I pose a simple question to our readers out there. First off, let me start by saying I was listening to the music from Legend of Zelda – Link to the Past today. I thought to myself…”I remember playing this game like 10 times throughout my life and why is it that I blow through a game as quick as possible now when back in those days I would play one game over and over and then maybe a year later play it again. so on and so forth”.
I ask you fellow readers, what is it about today’s world and the game economy we live in in that gives a game a short life span, and doesn’t allow us to have those same feelings as we did when we were younger?
I still get that feeling today, but its so rare and occasional that I feel that the part of my life when nostalgia was so integral and common has all but disappeared from the way things are now. I remember a few instances from my childhood when a purchase was more than a stop at the game store, it was an experience like no other. Let me share a few stories from my childhood that I remember vividly with you and then hopefully you’ll share yours with us.
Way back when the NES was around, Super Mario Bros. 3 had just appeared. I remember the movie “The Wizard” and this is where my first glimpse of Super Mario Bros. 3 first appeared. My stomach sank, my heart started beating and the overwhelming amount of excitement that pulsed through my body is something I’ll never forget. Once the game released, I remember going to “It’s About Games” with my mom and after enough convincing took my 50 dollars to the counter and asked for my very own copy of that game. I remember after buying it I told my mom “I’m so excited but to prove I have self control I’m going to take this home and not play it today, I’ll wait till tomorrow to let it all soak in” I did just that. It sat on my dresser for an entire day in the plastic wrap waiting to be played. The game was worth every penny and I was able to complete the hell out of it multiple times, and as well again when Super Mario All-Stars came out for the SNES. It was a great feeling.
Fast forward now to the summer when Super Metroid came out. I didn’t get a chance to play the demo, I had just played the original multiple times and was amazed by the 16-bit graphics that the new one boasted. Now at the time this game was during an era where SNES games ocassionally sold for $80 dollars. I worked all summer for my aunts cleaning business and saved every penny. When it came time to finally go an take that hard earned money to the counter I did with confidence knowing I was buying a great game. Holy Crap was I right. I played this game multiple times again, I beat it in under 2 hours and got the special ending. I even remember getting grounded and I was at Mother Brain at this point, sneaking downstairs 2 hours before school and before anyone was up and beating the game without my mom knowing. Remember getting grounded from Video Games, it was like water-boarding for children. It was awful, but those memories will stay with my forever.
Then Nintendo 64 came around and a game called “Star Fox 64” was released. I had read about it in my Nintendo Power and heard about the “Rumble Pack” and was so excited. My Grandma wanted to get me a birthday gift, so we took a ride to the local EB Games and I saw it there in the huge box and with again another price tag of $80 dollars and said “thats the game I want”. Once again I took it home and from that point played the hell out of it. I beat it multiple times through, got the easy and hard endings and will never forget that experience that game gave me.
I have so many more stories. One even includes Tiny Toons: Buster Busts Loose for the SNES and how the $80 dollars I spent on that was worth it as well. But I’ll save it for another time.
I have been trying to figure out what was different then, that has changed now. Is it the fact that I have a 40 hour a week job, bills to pay, a girlfriend to spend time with, futures to think about? Is it the quality of the games that are coming out, is it the prices? I often ponder if we have been desensitized to games, or burned by the bad ones. Angry at the Little companies flooding the market with garbage, or the fact that kids don’t want a challenge. Do they even know what they’re buying anymore, or is judging a book by its cover to be frank. I don’t know but my guess is that its a complilation of all these things that I just can’t put my finger on.
I want so much to have those memories again with the current generation of games. I feel that for me, It went away after the PS2 and the Gamecube. I have loved a lot of games in the last 5 years but nothing for the Xbox 360, PS3, or Wii has made me feel like that again. When I think back to those days as a kid and look back a few years ago at the games that have come out, only a few really stand out but none give the same experience I had back then. It’s sad because maybe it’s just part of growing up, though gamers will never fully grow up. But we hold true to those memories and will never let them escape us. As to many of you, those were some of the best times of our younger lives.
Do me a favor and comment any story or memory you might have from something recently, or even from your childhood. Give me your take on what’s changed as this is all opinion based. I can’t seem to solidify a reason as I have been thinking about it for years, so I’d like your take on it. I hope you enjoyed this piece, a personal trip into my memories.