For the first time in my life, I have so many video games that I haven’t had need to replay any of them for quite a while. And yet, for the strangest reason, I have recently had the urge to take a break from my backlog (which involves unplayed games I bought a year or more ago, mind you) and relive some of my older games. The consoles I most want to revisit: the SNES and the GameCube.
It all began the day I found my Super Nintendo was dying, which I didn’t know until I decided I so desperately wanted to play Donkey Kong Country 2 again, after writing a post for my other blog on the top songs from the game. Unable to play the game on its original console, I downloaded it onto the Wii and proceeded to enjoy some DK goodness. After beating it (with 102%, proof that I still have mad-platforming skills), I then decided to play the original Pikmin again, and now I have a mighty urge to download and replay The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. And it’s all very strange, really, because I have not been having much fun with my games lately. I used to love playing new games, but, with the exception of Ni no Kuni on the PS3, the only fun I’ve had lately is when I decide to replay an older game from at least a decade ago.
I don’t think it’s because games aren’t as good as they used to be. And it’s certainly not because my love of gaming is starting to wane, either (perish the thought!). Really, I don’t know what it is, and I didn’t think about it until Cary wrote about the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality device that is supposed to be released in 2016. I wanted such a device so badly ten years ago. And now that I hear this news, I’m just…not interested. At all. Virtual reality and 3D games and all that crazy motion stuff they came out with on the Wii, PlayStation Move, and XBox Kinect…I just don’t care about any of that. But, I’ve written about such a topic far too many times already, and I won’t bore you with another rant on the subject. Suffice it to say, I have about as much interest in these newer technologies as I have interest in alphabetizing my spices.
Returning to my older games is what really started to renew my love in my favorite hobby. I began to worry I didn’t like gaming as much as I used to, until I played DKC2 and Pikmin and realized I loved them as much as ever. I loved knowing DKC2 and its many secrets through and through. I have played it so many times, and I have collected all the Kremkoins and the DK coins, and I have unlocked the secret ending. So when I replayed the game this last time, while I had forgotten where many of the secrets were, I would get feelings when something was hidden nearby. It sometimes took a great deal of searching, but I would eventually find that my senses were correct and locate some obscure secret I had originally found years ago. I found that I knew every nook and cranny of the game, as if it was an old friend that could hide no secrets from me.
And then I had the opposite experience with Pikmin. This game, unlike DKC2, requires a great deal of strategy, and I found that I was looking at this old game with a new, fresh set of eyes. This allowed me to play through the game in a completely new way, so I wasn’t merely reliving the same events and tracing over the same steps I took last time. For example, those frogs that caused me so much trouble in the past… I now easily vanquished them with a few bombs, courtesy of the yellow Pikmin. Now why did I never think of that before?
I had so much fun with these games, and you know, it’s really nice to return to an old game and find that you still enjoy it as much as ever. It’s a great way to distinguish the true gems from those superficial games that were really only fun the first time. If that. And knowing that these games have withstood the test of time, that games from 14 years ago (in the case of Pikmin), or games from as early as 1991 (Link to the Past) still make me happy, is really refreshing. To know that time has only made the love stronger, not diminished it. That the part of you that enjoyed the game a decade ago, even if you are no longer the same person you were all those years ago, is still there. And, most of all, I was relieved to find that I will never grow bored of my games like I worried I might because that part of me will never die. If it hasn’t yet, I don’t think it ever will.
Dusting off my old games and playing them again, ironically, makes gaming feel new again. It brings back the carefree attitude I used to feel when I played games long ago, when nothing mattered but having fun. Graphics didn’t matter. The hardware didn’t matter. Games were played on consoles primitive to what we own now, on TVs half the size. But, it didn’t matter.
So, maybe the problem with my new games is not that they’re not as good as my old ones, but that they’re simply too new. Maybe I need to spend more time with them to really enjoy them. Maybe that’s all I’m missing. A friendship should be stronger after time, not strongest on the first day. Maybe games are no different. And one day, when even the games of today become old, we’ll see what games we truly cherish, what games still ring true to us and speak to our heart. At least, that’s how I see it.
If you were to go back and revisit a particular console, which one would it be? And if you’re already doing just that, which console are you playing?
An Old-Fashioned Duck