May 1, 2008

The Age Factor

Remember how games were better when we were younger? Remember how exciting they were?

I do. I still remember how I visited my older sister in the hospital, her having a skull fracture, and the only thing I did was playing Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle on her brand new original Nintendo Game Brick™ she got for that very occasion. Cruel as it may be, I could not take my eyes from the ugly thing. Maybe half a year later, after enough begging, I got my own Game Boy with Tetris and Duck Tales and that's the point in history where it all began. After that came the Super Nintendo, countless other versions of the Rehash Boy™, a Nintendo 64, a PlayStation and everything else.

It's no wonder why I and many people of my age consider the SNES as one of the best consoles that ever was. It definitely had excellent games that can keep up with today's but my tastes were molded by the games I have played back then. The very same games I regard as outstanding today. I never owned a Sega console or played a Sonic game in my childhood and I can not see what is supposed to be so good about them. I have no connection to the (many, many) characters of the series and the game itself has no value to me. For all I know, Sonic could have always been a mediocre franchise and the people who believe that the next Sonic game will blow us all away still see him through the eyes of a kid that only had a Genesis and no other games to play. Final Fantasy VII was not my first turn-based RPG - before that I played Lufia II and Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. I respect FF VII but I would give a toe (maybe a little toe) for a remake of Lufia. Seeing the connections?

In retrospect, the games weren't much better than today's games, and definitely not more exciting. We were just more open and excitable. It was the time when it was easily possible to disregard the flaws and intricacies of a game, take something out, imagine something into it. Forget the plot and play your own stories.

The German gaming magazine "GEE" ran a fascinating feature in their April '08 issue about 10 kids from an elementary school located in Hamburg who described their favourite games in their own words. I've taken the liberty to translate the best ones, preserving the language as much as I could:

1. That's actually really weird. So this, don't know what he's called, he kidnaps the daughter. He's, like, a little man, or some make him as a really big man and some make him as a really small one. He looks really weird, with like spikes, really weird to describe. Before, he wanted to rule the world, if you say so now. But he didn't manage it. And that's why he kidnapped her. And he's a little hard to beat. He jumps on you. Can also throw animals. But that doesn't hurt them. He is however not the friend of you. The friend is ***. He,too is such a live saver, too. Don't know, where they know each other from. But he doesn't exist in this game.

2. So, I think he's a sportsman. But he doesn't have to train much. It's natural, I think. He has this high hair. (giggles) But he has no clothes. He's about this old (holds his hand one meter above the ground). I think, he's a human. Don't know. Is no human, I think. But he has no hobbies, I think. They catch his wife and then he wants to find his friend again. That one's orange. He doesn't have high hair. His tail always spins and then he can fly. And nothing more. And the one man always tries attacking with his two men. And then this happens even with the two men. So, it comes back at them. And if the man attacks him... then he runs away fast.

3. That's set in Germany. I don't know though, which city. Have to play it with the keyboard. That's no Superhero though. That's a little boy or so. There you always have to make these boxes break. There are these things coming out of it. There are shoes and always if you take two shoes, then you always get faster. In the beginning you only have one shoe, there you are running slowly. There are these little boxes, if you go in there, you'll come back out on the other side. And then with one it's also like, there you run only fast, there you don't have to floor the boxes. You have to throw *** at the others. Then the other one is out, the one who got hit. And who is left, he has won. And then it still goes on.

4. That's really awesome. There are such little critters and they ALWAYS attack me, no matter where I am, ALWAYS! I think, they get sunburn, they don't like the sun at all. They came into the palace and then one strangled the king. And the daughter then hid herself. But they weren't arrested. Because there is no police there. That's why there are many criminals. You also have to ride on the horse and also like flail around with the sword sometimes. But you have to look out for the shadow, because then you become an animal. Because of the curse. Then there is such a giant man. He is made up of fire. And I know one more, that's like a plant. And the very last, that's the big boss of all of them. That's an evil man. With beard.

5. There are some kind of animals, but different. That aren't real animals, but only some kind of monkey, but he has some kind of glove-tail and things like that. But not all monkeys, it's always different. There are like a thousand. The *** run around freely all-over. You don't have to catch, only if you want to. But it's better, because there you need them to fight, of course. Against enemies. You can't avoid that. Then there is like a line and then a square. And then he runs to them, and then you have to fight. Sadly. You've won if you beat these, *** they're called, if you beat them. But they are five actually. I've seen him on TV once, the one who makes them up. But I forgot what he's called. He was really fat. They aren't fat themselves, though. Depends on which. But some, they are fat.

The *** represent are a word or phrase that would make the whole thing too obvious. Now, leave your ideas what those games might be in the comments, I will post the answers some time in the future.

Most appearent does the whole thing become to me now though, as I'm playing Pokémon Crystal. The first time I played Pokémon has been a totally different experience. It seemed like such an incredbly magical world, something like nothing I've seen before. Now, it's just a really linear RPG with very limited mechanics and slow battles. And monsters for your pocket.

If memory erasure à la "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is possible someday, I'm going to delete everything connected to Pokémon from my mind and play it all over again. I'd really like that.

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