Nostalgia plays a big part when avid gamers begin discussing their favorites. But, of course that means that our opinions are potentially corrupted by our own memories. What appealed to us as children might not be as much fun as adults, or what we were willing to excuse in our youth might be unacceptable now that we’ve grown. As we age, our views change due to increased experience. When I was much younger I sunk quarter after quarter into the arcade machines of the day without hesitation. Just 5 minutes of playtime was enough to keep me coming back as long as there was change in my pocket and batteries in my Walkman. And, yet when I look at Microsoft’s Game Room, I’ve no desire to spend even $3 for the (mostly) same experience I had as a child. Some of that saddens me. I’m not upset that Microsoft might not get that bit of my money (they get plenty already), however I wish I could recapture the joy I received from discovering those new games again.
Now, let’s make one thing clear. I have no desire to go back in time and relive the 80’s again. There will be no Hot Tub portal in my future if offered. But, I wouldn’t mind reliving those initial experiences again as if they were fresh. The problem is I’m also unwilling to abandon all that I’ve learned since the arcade scene was (semi) relevant. I know what I like these days and it’s taken me a long time to get here. I’ve sampled and satisfied my game cravings with a lot of different genres over the years and while many, many have been worthwhile; I can’t say that about all of them. But, it’s been a learning experience and that has made me a more prudent gamer today.
So, maybe the whole idea is moot in the end. In order to relive those fresh discoveries and enjoy them again with the same elation, I’d have to regress back to my naïve and impressionable youth. Does this mean that all of those games wouldn’t hold up today? That’s a good question and one I am not sure I’d like to know the answer to. But, if Lunaca Inc. could perform some pinpoint memory reconstruction and I could eliminate just one game experience from my past I’d choose to relive Strider (coin-op) for the first time again. Honestly, I am not sure that I’d find the game as engaging these days as I did in the late 80’s, but I am curious to see what I would think of it with two decades of additional life behind me.
What about you? What one game would you choose to have eliminated from your memory either to relive again or just because it was so awful the first time?