By Penelope 4 Comments
So, for the past year or so, the amount of video game time I've had has dropped off dramatically. I don't have any of my systems with we when I travel abroad so I only really played DS or PC games last year. This year is my final year at college so I've been really bogged down with a huge workload. Between theatre, dungeons and dragons, modeling, homework, socializing, and my job, I just haven't had the time. Oh sure, I've managed to sneak in a few hours of Super Mario Galazy 2, or the occasional half an hour with Super Meat Boy, but long gone are my afternoons of sitting in front of the T.V. for hours at a time and really plowing through a game.
At least until today.
Today is the first day of my spring break. My play is over, my homework can wait, my friends are all back home, and by some fluke I'm not scheduled at work.
I had an entire day to myself.
I woke up early. What was I going to play? Super Mario Galaxy 2 was practically screaming my name. My brand new Pokemon could definitely have used some more training in pokemon black. What about Altitude? I never really got to play that for more than an hour at a time. I never even cracked the seal on No More Heroes or Fire Emblem for the Wii.
Then, something happened.
If I was going to be reenacting my childhood Saturdays all day, why stop short? Why.... really only go half way?
That's right motherfuckers. I kicked it old school today. I pulled out my goddamn Nintendo 64.
First up? Perfect Dark. New Save file. Go.
This game actually holds up fairly well. Outside of the occasionally stuttering frame rate, it's still quite as bit of fun. The weapons are incredibly designed. The variety is amazing and for how many they have, there are very few throw-away ones. I mean, tranquilizer guns? Laptop computer guns? X-ray wall piercing guns? Nerve bombs? Remote controlled rocket launchers? Poison throwing knives?
Sign me the fuck up.
I did occasionally get frustrated with some of the older game archetypes. Sometimes I had no idea what exactly I was supposed to do to fulfill mission objectives, or I had know idea why I had failed. The storyline that I had found so mesmerizing and epic as a child, I now found laughably campy. It was still fun to save a sentient A.I. and an alien named Elvis and shoot some Skedar.
Next? Doom 64.
I'm not sure I actually have any childhood memories with this game and I'm not sure when exactly it came into my possession I was however surprised when I booted it up, and didn't recognize and of the weapon or enemy models. After doing a bit of research it turns out that I was correct, and that all of the art assets including the music had been created specifically for this game which was not a port at all. Rather it was a sequel of sorts to Doom II. The levels were all new as well. I ended up playing through the first 5 levels, before realizing that my N64 save card has long been corrupted and that I would lose all of my progress. So I sadly quit because I was getting tired and wanted to pop in a different game.
At this point I had been playing for somewhere around 8 hours and my thumb was starting to hurt. I however, wasn't finished. I wanted to try a game that was unfamiliar to me. Something where I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to be getting.
I was in the mood to play something bad.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet South Park for the Nintendo 64.
I had only vague recollections of this game as a child. I remember hating the control scheme and that I had input all of the cheats one day and then beat it. I know that my brother and I had screwed around in its multilayer mode for a bit, but I couldn't remember anything specific.
I pop it in.
Acclaim made this? I try to remember what other games Acclaim had made for the Nintendo 64 that I had played. I could only remember Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. A foggy, disjointed first person shooter with cool guns that was too difficult for me as a child.
Which is exactly what South Park turns out to be. Except it's worse. Much, much worse.
The game is just... bizarre. The world in South Park is rendered so simplistically and so vacantly it almost comes off as an abstract piece of art merely representing the concept of what a video game is. I finished the first five stages feeling a constant sense of unease driven on by the fevered warbling of turkeys and the never-ending brown detail-less landscapes that served only to herd me ever further.
Why was the fog changing colors? Why did the strange background music suddenly change? Why is Stan so happy? What the hell is going on?
After an hour and a half of throwing snowballs at turkey sphincters, I had had enough.
Now I am making myself dinner and contemplating the thought of playing something else. It's been a good day.