Classics Revisited

To some extent, I think we all have a tendency to award special treatment to cherished games of the past. We elevate them above their station, singling them out as being above reproach. Memories blur as we come to view old favourites through rose tinted glasses, forgetting the limitations of antiquated hardware and game design. However, deep down we know that, if played today, there’s a fair chance that an old favourite would disappoint and force us to re-evaluate its spot in our personal gaming pantheon.

Is Final Fantasy VII really the height of JRPGs, or have I just conveniently forgotten about the daft characters and settings that Square Enix has seen fit to alter in subsequent spin-offs? Is Sonic 2 still the speedy mutha I recall, one that shits on almost every Sonic since, or is my memory a victim of SEGA’s clever marketing and hyperbole? Is Metal Gear Solid really the perfect mix of film and game, or has it aged as poorly as the 80's action movies from which it drew inspiration? I'm hoping to answer these questions and more over the course of 2012.


I spent most of yesterday drowning in sweet nostalgia, having downloaded a copy of Final Fantasy VIII on PSN. I first played VIII back in the winter of 1999/2000 and it has remained one of my favourite games ever since. Although I have completed it countless times, up until yesterday I hadn't touched it for the best part of seven years. It was a glorious return, as the soothing tunes of Balamb Garden brought back fond memories, as did the simple charms of Triple Triad. As much as I enjoyed my afternoon with Squall, I’m not sure if I'll continue to play it once the nostalgia has worn off. Despite my attempts to prolong the ’99 vibe by playing Dr Dre’s 2001, shaving my beard and being awkward around women, the nostalgia is bound to wear off and then I’ll be left with a 12 year old game that has to live up to my modern expectations.

Sampling the finest PS1 vintage, I came upon an idea for a series of blog posts that would consist of playing old favourites and then cobbling together some words about the experience.  I could be setting myself up for heartbreak or perhaps the justification for years of adoration, but either way I'm excited to re-approach and re-evaluate the games that have come to shape my gaming habits. For the subjects, I'll most likely stick to the ten games I picked as my all-time favourites last year, though I may also add a couple of others if the mood takes me.

Final Fantasy VIII is already underway, and February's Metal Gear Solid HD Collection will provide the perfect opportunity to revisit Snake Eater, but otherwise I'm in no rush to complete this series. I'll tackle the chosen games one at a time over the course of the year, slotting them in alongside newer titles that will continue to take priority. I’m not sure what I’ll discover, but I'm certainly looking forward to getting stuck in and re-discovering the truth about my beloved classics, no matter how gutting it may prove to be.

Odds & Ends

1. I am shite at PixelJunk SideScroller. Completely useless. Utterly wank. I crash into everything and am little more than a projectile magnet, yet I continue to keep coming back for more. Despite my over familiarity with the Game Over screen, I can’t wait to jump-in once more thanks to its simplistic yet addictive gameplay, striking retro visuals and uncommonly funky soundtrack. It’s one of the finest PSN games I’ve played in a while, even if it is giving me an ulcer.

2. I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two hours of Resident Evil Revelations and have even been impressed with the unwieldy Circle Pad Pro add-on. RER is exactly the kind of game the 3DS needs if it is to remain in my rotation. The add-on is a nuisance and makes the system more difficult to hold for extended periods, but RER is a perfect example of the necessity of dual sticks as a feature of the next iteration of the 3DS, even if it comes at the expense of portability.

3. Insomniac has confirmed that its involvement with the Sony exclusive Resistance series has come to an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed the PS3 games, all three of them amongst the best shooters of this generation, but I do feel it has run its course and that now would be the ideal time to walk away. R2 brought Nathan Hale’s story to an abrupt end, and the more personal approach of R3 was a welcome one that brought closure to the Chimeran invasion, or at least the start of it. I doubt I’ll play the forthcoming Vita Resistance from Nihilistic Studio, though I wouldn’t be adverse to a series rebirth much further down the line.


  1. Daydream Drooler31 January 2012 at 07:44

    I look forward to hearing what you think of older games in this gen. personally I hold a special place in my heart for all those games and I've even picked a few up again here and there to replay. its always been easy for me to readjust to different games but i think that's mostly because of how many games I play as well as how fast I go through them. alot of the time I find the game to be easier like MGS2, replaying that one I found I could breeze through it with out the issues that frustrated me when I first played it back in the day.

  2. I think I am good on Resistance games as well. Didn't enjoy the second that much but liked the other two (and the PSP one was pretty good). It just doesn't seem like a series I need to play any more of.

    That dumb add-on is the reason I didn't buy a 3DS yet. I can't see myself ever wanting to use that thing. I am at the moment waiting it out for the two-circle pad 3DS. Why Nintendo didn't put it in from the beginning is beyond me.

    Looking forward to the new blogs. Hope those older games stand the test of time for you. Sonic 2 is my favorite in the series as well. Last time I played it (a couple of years back) it was still pretty great.

  3. never finished final fantasy 8. actually, i barely started it. i need to go back and try it again. maybe this time i will understand the card game.

    still deciding whether or not to get revelations. i don't think i've ever been this torn on a game before.

    didn't now about insomniac being done with resistance. probably a good thing. i agree with you, it's run its course.

    thanks again for the uncharted help. working on uncharted 2 right now. don't have my old save data so i have to start from the beginning. same with 3. sorry about the communication. i lost my bluetooth so i have to use my eyetoy. so i was hearing you through the tv. what do you use? i was looking at the official sony headset on amazon. anything you can recommend?

  4. I'm waiting until Revelations hits a lower price to pick it up personally. I'm not really curious to see what the Circle Pad Pro is like, and while it looks like the game I wanted RE5 to be, I haven't played either Dead Space game yet, so it seemed kind of stupid to spend $40 on that right away to me. Excited to see your final impressions on it though.

  5. @ Daydream D - I can usually fit in around 90 minutes of gaming on a week day evening. It's a decent amount of time, but little enough for me to be quite picky about what I'll play. That means that I'll only make time for an older game if I'm really enjoying it, as it will come at the expense of newer titles.

    Really looking forward to playing MGS in February.

    @ Trip - Resistance is one of those series that, if it were to end completely, I probably wouldn't miss it. But at the same time, if we got R4 next year I'd happily jump back in.

    I think Nintendo were so pre-occupied with the 3D effect that they ignored a lot of simple, design issues. The twin stick really should have been there from the get-go & I think it will cost them a lot of early business, as people like yourself will hold-off into the inevitable re-design.

    @ Superfriar - I would be interested to hear what you think of FFVIII if you get around to playing it. An opinion devoid of nostalgia is hard to find with such games.

    No problem. Enjoyed having the excuse to jump back into Uncharted. As for the mic, I just have a cheap, third party USB model that I picked up years ago. I could probably do with getting a bluetooth upgrade.

    @ volvo crusher - Revelations is really good - a nice mix between RE of old and the newer entries. You cant really go wrong with the Dead Space games. I preferred the first , just because the second felt too much like a recycled experience. The scares are always better the first time around.

  6. gotta say those are some classics! FF8 is my favorite FF game so far. I really want to pick up MGS HD but i really don't see my self playing this game right now. Just still getting caught up on other games! obviously Skyrim isn't helping. I can see this game taking up all of my time!

  7. @ mark - I think VIII is one of those love or hate games. I haven't pre-ordered the MGS collection (its out this Friday in the UK) as I still have so many other games to play. I'll definitely pick it up in the coming weeks though.

    I think I have finally shaken free of Skyrim, though I'm sure it will pull me back in when DLC arrives.

  8. Its interesting what games can feel like when you go back to them after so many years. I have to say im not that familiar with the Metal Gear Solid series, i never had a PSOne and didnt enjoy MGS2 at all (endless, boring cutscenes!). But I can see that it was really important to a whole generation of gamers. I think I was more of a pc man (boy) back then, so games like Half-Life and Thief are what I get all nostalgic about. I actually bought a copy of Half-Life recently and I loved the first few levels, they gave me a small proportion of the awe and mystery I found when I first played the game. But it did wear off and the game's faults became more apparent. Still a great game though, and im glad I went back to it.

  9. I have the opposite problem to yourself, being that I've never been a PC gamer (with the exception of Age of Empires and a month of FFXI). Games like Half-Life completely passed me by and I can't see myself ever wanting to catch up without a sense of nostalgia to fall back on.

    MGS2 did come on too heavy with the cut-scenes. Probably not the ideal intro to the series.


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