Saturday, August 11, 2012

Welcome to the Weekend Flashback!

Welcome to the very first Weekend Flashback, where I take a game that's a decade or older and replay it for funsies. We all know that not all games age gracefully, but looked pretty damn good at the time they were released. Well, between the totally amazing Dave and myself, we have plenty of classic games between us. And, more often than not, we sit around and continue to play old games together rather than tackle the massive amount of newer games facing us.

Why is that? Because many older games have so much fun built into a simple game mechanic that we find a lot of other games can't compare. So, I've decided to revisit a lot of the old games in our library to see if they're still fun. I'll be dusting off the games that Dave and I wasted days on when I was a kid to see if they're still as playable now as they were then, and all to answer the question: Is this game still fun?

There's a few criteria that I'll be using in my judgement:

  1. All games that I'll be looking at have to be ten years old or older. Why? Because that's given the graphics a chance to age, given game mechanics a plenty long time to evolve, and given the game enough time to both be forgotten and for me to forget how good/bad it was overall. I'm more likely to punish myself through a bad game again if I forgot how frustrating it was the first time aroung.
  2. It doesn't matter if a game has been re-released on some kind of "virtual console" platform. Chances are high - and I'll tell you otherwise, I promise - that I'll be playing it on its original system. So if something was released for the PSone, I'll be busting out my PSone and playing it. If something came out on the N64, that's where I'll be playing it. I'll stack it up against its re-released version if I happen to own it, but for the most part, this is truly classic gaming being played true to its roots.
  3. Finally, in the case of games that have been localized to the US, I'll be using the game's US release date as my definitive guide for age, unless I'm using the imported version of the game. If I'm using a non-US version, I'll say so before I start my write up.

You won't see games like Super Mario Bros. or the original Legend of Zelda on the Weekend Flashback. Why? Because we already know that they've 1) aged gracefully and 2) are still fun. Games like that regularly show up on "Best Video Game" lists of all sorts, and it's clear why: they were industry leaders in their day, and we're still seeing their influences on modern gaming. I'm looking pointedly at games that might have gotten themselves overlooked when they came out, or that might have fallen into the sands of time only to be forgotten as newer games overshadowed them.

This week, I'll be starting with Insomniac Games' Ratchet and Clank from 2002. That post will go live in about an hour, so check back later and see if the first game in the best-selling installment is still worth a play.

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