Rose-Tinted Gaming

I had cause to look for my old PS1 memory card recently.  Well, I had lost the card, and wanted to play a PS1 game.  That’s about about as deep as the ’cause’ goes.  Anyways, that set me looking through the house, uncovering all my old stores of games and game supplies.

I’ve got quite a few of them.  Back when I was a youngling, I tended to finance the acquisition of new consoles by trading in everything I had for the old, but every since I got my Nintendo 64, I’ve hoarded all my games and systems jealously.  Adding to that my efforts to regain the games I once had and the various old-school gifts I’ve gotten over the years, my collection now takes up several boxes, most of which currently lies in safe storage in my closet.

Breaking into those boxes brought a wave of quiet nostalgia over me.  Most of these consoles haven’t even been turned on in years, yet the craftsmanship of those days was such that I’m almost positive they all still work.  The games themselves, well, the graphics are nowhere near the level of today’s efforts, the experiences may not be as polished, and the interfaces may not be as user-friendly, but I’ve got a lot of games in that collection that still stand strong in terms of entertainment, and lots of games that have well earned their place in video game history and paved the way for today’s blockbusters.  These were boxes filled with masterpieces, untouched for so long.

It struck me then that the way I approach gaming has changed over the years.  I make my own money now, and don’t have my parents on my back, so I can both buy as many games and play for however long as I think is appropriate.  Yet, though I don’t have those limitations any more, I don’t have such strong memories for as many modern games as I do for these older ones.  Hell, I still remember where I got most of these classic games.  Donkey Kong Country, purchased used at a friend’s garage sale after saving my money up for months.  Mischief Makers, bought at the department store down the mountain, then spending the next week being almost constantly played by a friend and I.  A beat up SNES, a gift along with a Japanese copy of Shin Megami Tensei to keep me occupied for the year I spent as a full-time volunteer.  I can’t even definitively state where I got half the discs in my library, but I have such vibrant memories of most aspects of these games.

Several years ago, I was worried that I wasn’t really appreciating my games, that I had too many that I wasn’t getting the full value out of, and so set out to replay all my games in full, generation by generation.  I’ve been going strong and am currently up to the PS2/GameCube/Xbox gen, but now I’m wondering, with these games being stuck in my closet for so long, if I haven’t been working in the wrong direction.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go play some games.