Posts Tagged ‘video games’

rare_1

You guys. THIS is how you do a compilation disc. Rare Replay for the Xbox One is a collection of 30 classic games made by video gave developer, Rare. The games range from arcade classics, like Jetpac, all the way to 360 hits like Viva Pinata and Kameo: Elements of Power. I just wanted to spotlight some of the games and features I enjoyed the most.


Favorite Game: R.C. Pro-Am. 

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This is a game I’ve been playing since I was a kid. It is such a blast to play. Taking the radio-controlled car around the track while collecting power-ups and blasting your opponents with rockets never gets old. Even before Rare Replay this was a game I revisited every so often. But some of the added features (which I will talk about momentarily) make this the definitive version.


Favorite Feature: Snapshots

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Snapshots are bite-sized challenges tasking you with accomplishing certain goals in each game. For instance, the above screenshot depicts a Battletoads challenge in which you have to survive the Turbo Tunnel for 45 seconds. Starting the snapshot will immediately throw you into that portion of the game. I enjoy these challenges because most of them force you to play the game in new ways. One Jetpac snapshot has you try to win a level with your laser gun disabled, which is entirely possible, just incredibly more difficult.


Most Useful Feature: Rewind

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So you’re playing Battletoads, right? You’re in the Turbo Tunnel when all of a sudden WHAM! You smack a wall. You have to start at the last checkpoint, right? NO! With a simple pull of the left trigger, you can rewind up to 15 seconds of gameplay so you can try that section again. The rewind feature is only used on the pre-Nintendo 64 era games, but let’s face it, that’s where it’s needed most. The rewind feature even has a neat old-tyme film scratch effect. Sure, it’s cheating, maybe. But it really mitigates the difficulty of the retro games.


Game That I Played For The First Time That Everyone Has Played Before And It’s Slightly Embarrassing For Me To Admit That I Only Played It For The First Time Three Days Ago:  Banjo-Kazooie

banjo

I’m so sorry, you guys.


People, if you have an Xbox One, this game is a no-brainer. There is SO MUCH more to this collection than what I spotlighted here. It’s $30! Go! Now! Stop reading this, get to the store, and get all nostalgic.

mariokart

I love Mario Kart. The series provides multiplayer gaming bliss like no other. Which is why I’m going to devote the entire month of June to Mario Kart! It’s Mario Kart Month, baybay!

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I don’t have a graphics department.

I want to kick off a month of Mario Kart-related articles by ranking all eight Mario Kart games from my least favorite, to my absolute #1. As with any list I do or have done, this isn’t a list to say “this list is fact, your opinion is wrong.” I know my list differs from other people’s (SPOILER: I have Double Dash ranked lower than most other people would). Let’s get this thing started!


#8- Mario Kart: Super Circuit

mkscbox

This was a was a game I didn’t play until well after it was released. When I say “well after” I don’t mean it was a few months or a year. It was over 11 years before I got to really sit down and play this game. I played it for maybe 30 seconds while I was at a Best Buy when I was 14 years old. I received this game for free as a part of the 3DS Ambassador Program (Nintendo’s way of rewarding early 3DS buyers before a rather quick price drop). Maybe it was because I already had several years of more technologically advanced Mario Kart games under my belt, but I never felt the connection with this game that I do any of the others. But, that’s not to say it’s a bad game. This is surprisingly only the 3rd game in the series. This game was released in Sept. 2001 and missed being a Game Boy Advance launch title by only 3 months. It was the first handheld Mario Kart handheld game and really didn’t look bad for being a near-launch title. But the problem is nothing really stands out about it for me aside from being the first handheld Mario Kart. It doesn’t hold any special place in my heart for nostalgic reasons or anything. It’s the only one on this list that’s just kinda “there” for me, which is why I have it ranked last.


#7- Mario Kart DS

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Because I was never REAL big on Double Dash (more on that later) or Super Circuit and was Mario Kart 64 just kind of appeared for me one day, Mario Kart DS was the first Mario Kart game I actually got hyped about before release. 3D-modeled characters, online play, etc. This game was gonna be big! And it was! But it was surpassed by every Mario Kart that came after it and didn’t have the staying power that the classics did. It was super fun at the time and definitely gave you an idea of where Mario Kart was heading in the future (online play, kart and character stats), but by the time the next game in the series, Mario Kart Wii, came out, it seems like this one was forgotten.


#6- Mario Kart: Double Dash

mkddbox

I know this will be THE controversial selection for this spot (if at all). Mario Kart: Double Dash is fun, don’t get wrong. Remember, I like ALL the games on this list. But I know a lot of people who would rank this game, or the game I actually have #1, at #1. Maybe it’s because this was the newest console version of the game when my friends and peer age group were in high school. I really don’t know. But I just don’t see what other people see in this game. It does have the unique feature of two racers per kart allowing for a little bit more strategy when selecting your racer. But later entries would see the strategizing go further with the expansion of stats for karts. For me, I feel like this is the first game that took a turn for the worse. It can get to be a real fustercluck during races with the number of items and characters flying around the course (something that persisted during Mario Kart Wii as well). Playing with friends was alright, because you could share in the misery of getting destroyed by 3 red shells in a row. Single player was a nightmare for me, however. But for whatever reason, it remains the go-to party game if you have a Gamecube laying around. Although my enthusiasm is low going into it, I always end up having a good time by the end.


#5- Mario Kart Wii

mkwiibox

For me, I feel like I hold Mario Kart Wii on the same level as Double Dash, but I think the hype surrounding Double Dash and some features in Mario Kart Wii helped me decide to put this one at #5 and Double Dash at #6. The item and character fusterclucking return for this one, but some gameplay enhancements keep it from dropping lower down the list. I did enjoy the different vehicle types (this game introduced dirtbikes and motorcycles) as well as auto-drift if I was playing with a Wiimote. This seems to be another popular version of the game for get-togethers, but its popularity seems to be waning (at least in my social circle).


#4- Super Mario Kart

smkbox

The game that started it all! This game is quite the challenge and still gives me fits, even today. This is the only game in the series to have 5 laps per race, as well as 5 races per cup. I was only 4 or 5 when this game came out and I didn’t get my first Super Nintendo until Christmas 1995, so I discovered this game a little late. I remember being blown away by the idea of a Mario racing game. Usually Toad is my go-to character, but I usually go with Bowser in this one, only because I love is post-race results screen music. Bottom line: How cool was this game back in the day? Heck, it’s still a cool game to play today even with 7 Mario Kart games building upon what this one started.


#3- Mario Kart 8

mk8box

This is the most recent game in the series, having only been out just over a year as of this writing. But man, did they do a lot of good things with this game. The anti-gravity, topsy-turvy tracks, the customization, the DLC, everything about this is great. There’s some characters in this game that I’d never thought I’d see in a Mario Kart game (Link!). The DLC is worth every penny and adds plently of neat courses and characters (including one track I’m now including among my all-time favorites). Some of the tracks that go heavy on the anti-gravity stuff are intense! It’s so easy to lose track of your orientation and where you are in the game world, but I feel it just adds to the fun and excitement. I actually, legitimately got dizzy during one race. I haven’t been able to spend too much time with it. It took a while to track down a used copy of it (I’m on a budget, yo!), but I know this will go down in the annals of, not just great Mario Kart games, but great Nintendo games.


#2- Mario Kart 7

mk7box

This game blew me away when I first picked it up. I put so many hours into single-player, unlocking nearly everything. I put a lot of time into the online aspect too, becoming one of the few games I regularly won playing online.The unlock system in this game made me a better Mario Kart player, not just in this game, but in all Mario Kart games. Since you have to collect coins to get unlocks, you had to play the races over and over again. This made me discover better lines, better strategies, and better kart customizations. Online multiplayer matchmaking (especially when playing with friends) could have been better, but that is my only major gripe with this game. As far as I’m concerned, this is EASILY the best handheld Mario Kart game. But not THE best Mario Kart game. That distinction of course goes to…


#1- Mario Kart 64

mk64box

Yes. YESSSSSS! Mario Kart 64 is the DEFINITIVE Mario Kart experience for me. It provides the fun, multiplayer goodness, and action of the others, but it lacks the gimmickyness of games like Double Dash. It’s a pure Mario Kart game. Mario Kart 64 defines the phrase “less is more.” I could talk more about this game, but I have something planned for later this month where I will delve deeper into Mario Kart 64.


So that’s my ranking of the Mario Kart series. How does this list differ from yours? What do you agree or disagree with? Let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page.

As always, thanks for reading, and stay tuned as I continue Mario Kart Month, taking a look at my favorite Mario Kart racetracks!

Hey there! When I’m not playing games on dares or reviewing something on a strict budget, I like to play other games. Like, normally. Stuff I choose of my own volition. I wanna talk about them. So… I’m gonna do that. Now.

pkmnshffl

Pokemon Shuffle (3DS)

This game is cool. If you’ve played the Pokemon Trozei games or Doctor Who: Legacy or most any other “match-3” games, you’ll be familiar with the concept. It’s a free download from the eShop. Nintendo is dipping their toes into the free-to-play and microtransaction waters, but it’s cool. Whatever. Just don’t spend money on it and you’re cool. The energy system probably keeps you from playing too long anyway. It’s Nintendo’s roundabout way of saying “Take a break and get some air already! Geez!”

gtav1

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox One)

I had it on 360. Got it for the One. It’s the same game, BUT BETTER! OMG GRAFFICKS U GAIZ!

tinder

Tinder (Android)

They show you a picture of a pretty girl and you have to determine if it’s a spambot or not. I’m not very good at this game.

nbalive15nba2k15

NBA Live 15/NBA 2K15 (Xbox One)

One is absolute unadulterated garbage trash that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies, the other is NBA 2K15.

thecrew

The Crew (Xbox One)

It’s seems like a very ambitious idea. The entire country is your car racing playground. Well, not the ENTIRE country. The map is kinda shaped like America and shrunk down to maybe the size of Ohio? I don’t know. I’m still in the starting area of Detroit, or an actually decent facsimile of Detroit. Downtown Detroit in this game actually does look similar to the real Downtown Detroit. Even Comerica Park (sorry, America Park) is well represented. I have a feeling that this will be similar to a racing game from a few years ago called “Fuel.” The central hubs will be well done, but the areas in between will be sparsely detailed. The racing itself is not bad, it doesn’t control the greatest, but I’ve played worse.

elliptical

The Elliptical Machine At My Local YMCA (Real Life)

People thought Wii Fit was a workout! This thing works out your arms and legs at the same time! Looking forward to setting some high scores on this one!

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NES Remix 1 & 2 (Wii U)

These games are both fantastic. Nintendo takes some of their classic 8-bit games and turns them into mini-game challenges. I would like to see Nintendo reach out to their 3rd party partners and get some more games into the 3rd installment. Konami and Capcom had some fantastic NES games.

mariokart

Mario Kart… All of Them (All the Nintendos)

I love Mario Kart. I’m starting a Mario Kart team. Join me.

Thanks for reading!

IMAG0208

System: Nintendo 3DS

Price: $2.99

Okay, so you know when you’re at the store, right, and you see this game for a current gen console priced super cheap and you’re all “omg, dis gaem is so cheep, it prolly sux lololol.” Well I’m here to tell you to KNOCK IT OFF! This is my mission. I play the cheap games, so you don’t have to. I want you, in the future, to be all “omg, dis gaem is so cheep, it prolly sux lololol, but I will withhold judgement on this piece of software until I read what Scott over at Five Dollar Gamer says about it. Come along, let us retire to the computing room in my domicile, so that we may peruse the ramblings of a man who so cherishes the games in which we so foolishly ignore so that we may play *scoff* Call of Duty? I bellow a hearty guffaw at my foolhardy gaffe. An aberration like that will not happen again, thanks to Scott and Five Dollar Gamer!”

*checks word count*

Okay, a decent first paragraph.

Centipede Infestation is a re-imagining of the classic 1980s hit Centipede. You play as some guy who was an extra cut from an episode of Captain N: The Game Master. You rudely interrupt a young lady planting a garden by saving her life from the giant mutant bugs surrounding her. You and Miss “All The Bugs Are God’s Creatures What If They’re Attacking You Because You’re Shooting At Them” escape to the city to do God knows what because I skipped a lot of the cutscenes. Once I realized our hero wasn’t going to fart out a “Well excuuuuuuse me, Princess” in response to this chick’s sassyness, I stopped caring.

Get on his level.

Get on his level.

But you don’t buy games on the cheap for award-winning scripts. You want surprisingly fun gameplay! Well… you get surprisingly competent gameplay, at least! The game plays similarly to another classic game, Smash T.V. Each level takes place in an enclosed environment as you mow down waves of insects, with each level culminating with a battle against the classic centipede boss. Your Y/X/B/A buttons serves as directions for your shot (hold two down to shoot diagonally). The circle pad moves the 80s dudebro (I think his name is something cliche, like Max). The touchscreen is used to activate power-ups you collect, like flamethrowers and machine guns. It’s nothing real ground breaking, but if you’re going to borrow ideas, at least do it right, which this game does, but not overwhelmingly. If I had to assign a letter grade to the effort used when applying these borrowed ideas, it’d be like a C+, B- tops. Basically me in high school.

Me in high school. (Photo altered in order to prevent someone from being a known associate of this asshole back in the day)

Me in high school. (Photo altered in order to prevent someone from being a known associate of this asshole back in the day)

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I mean, it’s a decent game, but it’s not like it’s some hidden gem waiting to be discovered. The action gets a bit repetitive and the cutscenes try to capitalize on that ironic 80s cheesiness with the voice acting, but the bargain bin script holds it back from being tolerable. This was a game destined to be $2.99. I’m not saying AVOID AT ALL COSTS! But it’s not something I’d necessarily recommend. So the guy who was using all them big fancy words in the opening paragraph is no closer to finding out if this is a game he should play or not. He probably won’t. He doesn’t even have a 3DS because “it’s for children.” He’s a dick. Screw that guy.

Thanks for readin’, y’all!

IMAG0180

What the hell am I doing? I mean, seriously?! I haven’t written a damn thing in 8 months and I come back with THIS?! I hyped my blog up to an audience in a completely new area of the country. “Oh I review a lot of retro games and hidden gems, check it out sometime.” I get them to like the Facebook page, I tell them something new is coming, and then… Then I give them HELLO KITTY CRUISERS FOR THE WII U! Ya-friggin-hoo!

Okay, to be fair, I was dared by a co-worker to play this game. I caved because YOU DON’T DARE ME TO DO STUFF, TAYLOR!

*ahem* Sorry.

So, let’s take a look at the back of the box bullet points to see what we can look forward to in this adventure.

IMAG0182

Everyone in the split-screen screenshot is doing terrible. Symbolism?

Okay, so nothing specific. You can race boats, karts, and planes with up to 4 people. Basic stuff, nothing you couldn’t do in Diddy Kong Racing 18 years ago. Speaking of Diddy Kong Racing, I’ll just come right out and say it: in every way, Diddy Kong Racing is an infinitely better game. Shocker, right? Did anyone reading this really thing that Hello Kitty Kruisers would be a good game? A diamond in the rough? A 6th round pick that leads his team to 4 Super Bowl victories?

Alienating my readers in 3... 2... 1...

Alienating my readers in 3… 2… 1…

So there’s not much meat to the bone that is this game. There’s a championship mode that I completed within the hour and an adventure mode ripped right off from the mission mode in Mario Kart DS. Now I will say that this game deceived me just a bit during the first cup. It was a bit bland and slow, but otherwise there was nothing I’d say was bad. In fact, the races using the airplanes were actually pretty decent. The airplane controls and physics, while not complicated, were surprisingly unterrible. It was during the 2nd cup where I ran into my first set of issues.

Unlocking this fat French dog being one of them.

Unlocking this fat French dog being one of them.

It was obvious that the kinks and bugs were worked out of the first cup. But I feel like the developers went “Meh, no one is going to want to play it after that. I think we’re good. Ship tomorrow.” One race I was sucked into guardrails no matter how much I positioned myself in the middle of the track. It didn’t help that the environment was an egregious rip-off of the Mario Kart 64 version of Rainbow Road. But what I encountered most, and my biggest gripe about the game, is the A.I. and the timing issues. A.I.-controlled cars would easily get stuck in walls or turned around. Now, when I say turned around, I don’t mean they’d spin out a lot. They would start driving in the complete wrong direction. These guys were more confused than Geno Smith playing football.

More football jokes!

More football jokes!

The timing issues were really weird. Things like extremely long lap times, lower-placing finishers having better overall times than those placing higher than them, and the bad A.I. and timing issues going hand-in-hand to create a mess of a post-race leader board. The following images are just a glimpse of what I saw.

Notice the last two times. 10th place has a better overall time than 9th.

Notice the last two times. 10th place has a better overall time than 9th.

I had lapped everyone in this race. Somehow, me and 2nd place had identical times.

I had lapped everyone in this race. Somehow, me and 2nd place had identical times. Also notice last place’s extremely quick lap time.

Hello Kitty spent the last 2/3rds of the race going backwards. Despite this, I somehow only beat her by .23 seconds according to the official scoring.

Hello Kitty spent the last 2/3rds of the race going backwards. Despite this, I somehow only beat her by .23 seconds according to the official scoring.

I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone. Not to kids, not to enemies, not even as a “Hey, let’s get drunk and play this game” game. Even if you’re a fan of Hello Kitty, you won’t like it. It borrows many elements from games much older and better than itself and proceeds to do less than nothing with them. The only thing I would like to know is who was the moron that was scoring the times on those races?

Aww, sonofa---

Aww, sonofa—

Thanks for reading!

 

leagueoflegends.com

leagueoflegends.com

About an hour before I started to write this I had just finished up a game of League of Legends. Two weeks ago, I was not playing League of Legends. I was introduced to League of Legends by my girlfriend who had been playing for quite a while. As is likely the case with people first starting off, I was terrible. There were games where I’d die way more than the number of kills I got, sometimes even going without a kill. I’m still only playing against beginner A.I. bots, but I’ve come a ways since two weeks ago. I can’t remember the last game I had where I finished with more deaths than kills. I genuinely felt like I was getting better at the game. As I had this thought I realized if my girlfriend hadn’t prodded me into finally playing the game (after it had been installed on my computer for over a year, I wouldn’t be playing this game that I’m really, really enjoying. Then I thought about other games that I play or played only after being introduced to them at someone’s insistence. I thought about how many of those I enjoyed and how many I didn’t. I also thought about how many games I found on my own and then passed on to someone else.

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

I think a lot of us have at one time or another only played a game because someone told them they should. Why should they play it? Usually because they found it fun and they want to share the fun they’re having with other people. As compared to the majority of my peer group, I have an eclectic taste in games. If I play and/or enjoy a game in a genre I’m not known to usually play and/or enjoy, I get some quizzical looks and told “but you don’t usually play [insert genre here].” I think that’s why I don’t get invited to try new games by friends that I’ve known since middle school. They know me as a Mario/Nintendo fan. This is fair, because it’s true. If someone suggests I try a game, it’s likely by someone that hasn’t known me for too long. When my current girlfriend suggested League of Legends, she had only known me for 5 months. When my boss at GameStop suggested then-new release Bioshock, I had only been there a month. When an ex-girlfriend suggested Minecraft, it was mere weeks. These games all represent genres that were outside of my norm. But they didn’t really know how my gaming taste profile was configured. With League of Legends, I had never played a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) before, but I’m enjoying it so far. With Bioshock, I wasn’t a huge fan of first-person shooters, I’m still not, but I enjoyed this game immensely. As far as Minecraft goes, well, I should have tried it before I bought it, because I dropped $26.99 on a game I thought was really boring and couldn’t return (darn you, digital downloads!). But it was the insistence of others that led me to discovering these games and if I liked them or not. It’s why I’ll give any game a look, even if it’s a genre I don’t typically play, because I never know what will strike a chord with me. I think everyone should be receptive of suggestions. Don’t close off any opportunities to play a new game because “historically, you haven’t enjoyed [insert genre here].” I’m proof positive you can enjoy games outside of your comfort zone!

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

Of course there are games out there that I took a chance on without prompting from someone else. A lot of these have been covered on this very blog. But nobody when I was 2 years old suggested I play Super Mario Bros. There was no one who told me NBA 2K5 is really good, you should play it too. When I saw Evolution Worlds for GameCube on a GameStop shelf one day, I picked it up, not because someone told me to, but because it looked fun and I took a chance on it. That’s what discovering new games is all about, taking chances. Super Mario Bros. was just there as a kid, NBA 2K5, the first basketball game I ever bought, was a steal at $20 brand new, and Evolution Worlds didn’t work out for me. But I never would have known if I never took that chance. I’m sure whoever is reading this has at one point turned down the opportunity to play a game because it looked boring, whether suggested to you or not. But what is the worst that can happen? Either you take a chance and discover a game that could go down in your personal annals of gaming history or you reaffirm your assumptions and move on to something else. This is something I’m guilty of, we all are.

8-Bit Central

8-Bit Central

It’s an idea that transcends mediums. Movies, TV shows, music, books, you name it. We are always suggesting to others that they should watch, listen, read, or play something. I think a big problem though, is that we are not jumping on these suggestions enough. I suggest stuff to people all the time and they never try it. Don’t worry; I’m just as guilty of this as well. We feel like our free time is so precious, especially in adult life, so we’re afraid to step out of our comfort zones when we get some down time. But then think about what you do in your down time. Is your favorite downtime activity something you discovered yourself or at the insistence of someone else? Here’s something you should do: The next time someone suggests a game that they enjoy, even if it’s something you don’t think you’ll enjoy, just try it. You never know if it’s going to become the latest game in your repertoire unless you go for it. I close this with a relevant quote:

 

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” ~Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus (The Magic School Bus Wiki)

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” ~Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus (The Magic School Bus Wiki)

 

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

When I moved to a new school to start off 1st Grade, my teacher had me fill out a new student worksheet so they could hang it in the hallway to introduce me to the rest of the school. One of the questions was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” No one had ever asked me that. I was only 6 years old. I chose something on the spot: race car driver. It seemed relatively normal for a 6-year-old to pick. Some other the other new kids said army guy or princess. Race car driver was a safe choice. But I knew in my heart I had a greater destiny. I wanted to be the 3rd Mario Brother. My (totally platonic) love affair the mustachioed Italian plumber runs deep. At 27 years old, Mario and I have been maintaining a gamemance for nearly 25 years and counting. I get geeked about new Mario game releases just as much as a kid. Girlfriends have had to deal with my irrational exuberance when E3 rolls around and Shigeru Miyamoto via translator Bill Trinen debuts Nintendo’s hot new ware. When said hot new ware releases and I get my hands on it… it’s, well… good. But for about the last 8 to 10 years, something has felt missing from the core Mario releases. New Super Mario Bros. certainly feels new, but I think therein lies the problem. It’s new, not old, which is what this retro gamer is used to.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I make no bones about saying my favorite game of all-time is Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. It’s a fun game and still incredibly challenging after all these years. I still get an incredible sense of satisfaction after beating it because of the trials and tribulations of taking Mario through World 8 (especially the latter half of it, woof). I have great memories of playing this game as a child and watching others play it. But it makes me wonder, is Super Mario Bros. 3 my favorite game because it’s such a great game? Or is my undying love for it because I have such treasured memories of days past? I mean, it’s not exactly a stretch for someone to choose SMB3 as their favorite game. It is one of the best-selling games of all-time after all. But one of my earliest memories is watching my dad play it. My dad these days is absolutely NOT a gamer. I’m not even sure he’s touched a video game since I tried to get him to play NASCAR Thunder 2003. Even then, he probably hadn’t played a game since the early 90s. But I have such a vivid memory of watching him go through the second fortress on World 5 (the one that connects to the sky portion of that particular map). Maybe I’m looking into this too much, but could my love of Super Mario 3 be a result of it being, as far as I’m concerned, one of two video games I’ve ever seen my dad play? My dad and I never had a really close relationship. Could I be involuntarily holding on to this cherished memory by continually playing this game in the hopes of one day tossing my dad the second controller because I desire a closer relationship with my father? Yikes, this is getting a little deep for me. But this is only an explanation for one game, my favorite game. What about the other oldies?

Moby Games

Moby Games

Everyone has their reasons for being a retro gamer. Some may be hard pressed to find a reason for being a retro gamer other than “because it’s fun.” Well, of course it’s fun. You enjoy things that you find fun. But I want to go deeper. It may seem a bit self-serving, but I’m doing this introspective into my own head because I want to learn more about me. Maybe by doing this I can learn about others, but for now, I want to share my results with the world. One theory I came up with is how my post-high school life has been treating me. Adulthood has definitely had its share of ups and downs for me. I’ve faced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It perfectly matches my senior yearbook quote of “Life is like a rollercoaster. It’s scary.” Perhaps because my adult life has been less than desirable for the majority of my 20s, I’ve been holding on to childhood memories to remind myself of happier times. What better way to relive those memories than with the one constant in my life?

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

When I was living with an emotionally and mentally abusive girlfriend, my gaming room was my escape. For a small block of time, I was able to block her out and go back to a time where my feet didn’t touch the floor when I sat on the couch. I could sit in the basement and pretend I was 9 years old all over again. When a different girlfriend left me and I sat alone in an empty apartment, I picked up my 3DS and started speedruns on the copy of Super Mario Bros. I downloaded from the eShop. I didn’t have much, but I had the pure unadulterated elation of beating Super Mario Bros. without not just dying, but not even getting hit by an enemy. When I had a bad day at work and just wanted to yell and scream and ask whatever supreme being is in the sky “why?” I would go home, fire up my Nintendo, and take it out on the pixilated baddies. Ha! Take that goomba-who-is-an-8-bit-representation-of-that-customer-that-really-pissed-me-off-today! Okay, this seems to me that all I’m talking about is Mario. I mean, I played a lot of Mario as a kid as well as other series, but how does that account for my collection and love of retro games that I’ve only recently discovered?

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

When I originally started Five Dollar Gamer, I had not really started my retro gaming collection. I was mostly collecting games that I had as a kid, recovering what had been stolen from me in what I refer to as “The Great Nintendo Heist of 2000.” I managed to build that collection back up and then some, but Five Dollar Gamer started when my curiosity was piqued by a $2.99 Super Nintendo game. As a result of this almost 2-year venture, I have amassed nearly 100 “new” games to add to my collection. But what do I find so appealing about these games? These are not games that were a part of my childhood. But a lot of the time, these games hit the right mental notes. I had so much fun playing Solar Striker on the Game Boy, a game I only found out existed hours before the first time I ever played it. I feel it’s because of the similarities of the games I’m used to playing. The race for the high score, the simplicity, and the imagination required to craft your own story. Today’s games have the story spelled out for you. While sometimes that’s pulled of masterfully like in Bioshock or Grand Theft Auto V, for me, the kid who wanted to be the third Mario Brother, a little imagination goes a long way when enjoying an older game.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

I don’t want this to come off as I only play old video games when my life is being shitty and I need it as a crutch to not fall further or a ladder to try to climb out. I play it during the happy times too. Everyone loves reminiscing and telling stories from the past. It’s just something that people do when they get together after not seeing each other for a while. We tell old stories. “Hey, remember that one time…?” For some social circles, “Hey, remember that one time…?” could mean “Hey, remember that one time we played 4-player Mario Kart 64 at your mom’s house?” Next thing you know, you and friend are huddled around the TV playing Mario Kart 64 and bringing up more stories. As a result of Five Dollar Gamer, I’ve got to hear from many readers who will suggest a game for me and tell me a story about how awesome it was as a kid, or someone will leave a comment on a game I wrote about sharing a story. It’s awesome.

Wikitroid

Wikitroid

Retro gaming unites us. It’s so easy to hop online nowadays and connect with a faceless gamer on the other side of the world. But where’s the camaraderie in that? How many people honestly wax nostalgically while sitting in a lobby while waiting for the next Call of Duty deathmatch to start? Hell, how many people are even sharing a laugh when they’re playing against nothing but strangers? Can you imagine if you took four strangers from a deathmatch lobby, sat them on a couch, and had them play Mario Kart? There would be a lot less swearing, name calling, and insult flinging. Sure, there’d likely be some, but not to the degree that you hear when hiding behind the wall of anonymity, and I bet it’d be a hell of a lot more light-hearted. There would be more sharing of stories and of good times past. Get four strangers on a couch. Put a controller in their hands. They’ll find common ground.

Giant Bomb

Giant Bomb

I think the notion that older games aren’t fun is silly. Everyone, one way or another, is nostalgic about the past. Nostalgia transcends different mediums. It’s why your parents listen to classic rock and oldies. It’s why your neighbor takes his ‘67 Ford Mustang to the car show every summer. It’s why you just bought that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt from TeeFury. It’s not necessarily because it’s better. It’s what you grew up with, it’s what you know. When two 10-year-old kids walked into a GameStop I was working at once, a coworker and I happened to be testing a Nintendo Wii. We were playing the NES version of Punch-Out!! that someone had downloaded from the Virtual Console. One kid asked us how it could be possible that this game could be fun. I asked him to clarify. He says “Well, look at the graphics! They’re horrible!” 21-year-old me was angered by his statement. How dare this snot-nosed brat shit on my childhood with his naïve statement! But 27-year-old me can look back at this incident with wiser eyes. All this child knew was realistic 3D graphics. His line of questioning wasn’t malicious in nature. He was just curious why I was riding a bike when I have a car in the garage. He wasn’t old enough to be nostalgic. Maybe when he’s 21 he’ll be feeling nostalgic about Spyro the Dragon (or more likely Grand Theft Auto IV) in the same way I’m nostalgic about Punch-Out.

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

Video Disc Things/Tumblr

In writing this, I’ve learned so much about myself in regards to my treasured hobby. I desire to be a happy person. I desire to make those in my life happy. Retro gaming makes me happy, so naturally it’s something I want to share with others. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not something I like because I’m trying to desperately cling to my youth as I continue to climb in age. It’s just fun. It’s a hobby. It’s partly nostalgia, but not fully. I can have just as much fun with a Super Nintendo game I discovered just recently as I can with one I played when I was 10. I can also have as much fun with a AAA Xbox title from 2013 as I can with an obscure Game Boy game from 1990. Right now, NES Kirby’s Adventure is getting equal attention with Fire Emblem: Awakening on my 3DS. For me gaming transcends the decades. It’s a timeless hobby. The question remains: am I, or anyone else, retro gamers because we play mostly retro games or our collections are mostly retro games? Or are we just gamers?