A Gamer’s Nostalgia

I can’t decide if I’m taken away by nostalgia, or have just aged to the point at which I see things for what they are, as opposed to the clouded view I had as a child. That said, perhaps I also have a clouded view as an adult, due to how things were when I was a kid?

I’ve played a lot of games, over many consoles and PC setups, ranging from one of the Atari consoles, to a modern gaming PC. I still enjoy some games I play today, however, nothing will compare to some of the gaming experiences I’ve had in the past.

The first time I played Silent Hill on the PlayStation and found myself haunted by nightmares of those super-creepy creatures to which you’re introduced early on in the game—in my defense, I was far too young for such a freaky, gory game!

Silent Hill Bild
A typically gloomy look of Silent Hill that still makes me cringe.

The Metal Gear Solid franchise, when it was, as I would consider, its prime. Playing those Metal Gear Solid games was a lot of fun for me, mixed with the odd mental breakdown here and there, as I tried to get past all the VR missions and snag every dog tag; never again!

I think Metal Gear Solid appeals to a lot of males that secretly dream of being someone as badass as Solid Snake. Hideo Kojima did an absolutely fantastic job captivating people’s hearts and imaginations with this series, and I certainly hope the upcoming game, Metal Gear Solid 5 – The Phantom Pain, will live up to the name, and set itself apart from the many ‘AAA’ games that have been disappointing us with a torrent of bugs, performance issues, and subjectively lack-luster gameplay.

The RPGs, like Jade Cocoon 1 and 2; Final Fantasy 6, all the way up to X-2, which still stands at the latest Final Fantasy game I’ve played; Star Ocean – Till the End of Time, the game on which I had my first experience of what we now tend to refer to as ‘achievements’; and so many more games!

Playing Final Fantasy 8 actually inspired me to write a novel, rather hilariously called, “The Isle of Fantisle.” I was a kid, my English skills were terrible, and all I had with which to tell such a silly story, was an old typewriter and a small amount of ink which I couldn’t replace. I got seven A4 pages in before calling it quits, and to be frank, it was appalling but laughably so! Here’s an exerpt:

Where am i? Huh whats that? As i try to focus my eyes i see a dark figure holding some sort of stick like a javilen. I turn around to get my barings and to see where i am but when i look back the misterious figure dissapears. “Hello?” I asked with a frightened pitch to my voice as i haddn’t spoke since the shipwreck. No answer.

I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t have won any awards for that, but hey, those were times long before I ever had the Internet, or even much Internet access! I think I was somewhere between 13 and 15 years old.

Playing Gran Tourismo 3 and 4. To this day, I still remember how exhilarating it was to race for 2 hours straight, and how unbelievably satisfying the end was, when you were awarded a car, some cash, and the right to shout, “I did it!”

One of the many cars you can race to your heart's content.
One of the many cars you can race in Gran Tourismo 4 to your heart’s content.

It was through playing and going on about Gran Tourismo that prompted my dad to plonk me in the driver seat of his very-real Vauxhall Astra van so I could experience what it would be like in real life. Funnily enough, I still don’t drive.

The demos! Never have I ever experienced the excitement and torture of playing a demo, than the days of old, when I would spam the first Siphon Filter, or the first Colin McRae Rally game. Nowadays, you don’t see a great deal of demos, or perhaps I’m looking in all the wrong places.

I have so many fond memories of gaming as a kid. Sure, I have since gathered more gaming memories, but nothing stands up to those first experiences and the increased inclination towards actually using my imagination; perhaps that’s what it’s about? Maybe gaming hasn’t changed all that much, besides the new technologies, and maybe we’ve simply ‘been there, done that’ so much that it’s just very difficult to find something new.

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