Have you ever wished you could go back in time (DeLorean or not) and relive some of your favorite games vicariously through your younger self by watching them experience the magic for the first time? Strange as that may seem, it’s been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The summer gaming drought has made me fondly reminisce about my youth when video games were all that mattered and life was still seen behind rose-tinted goggles (dark, I know). Below I present to you a number of moments in time where I wish I could go back and witness my younger self indulging in one of my favorite pastimes. Some of these moments represent true gaming conquests, while others justify giving myself shaken baby syndrome (being mindful of the butterfly effect). But through good and bad, all of these moments have shaped who I am as a gamer, for better or worse.
Star Fox 64 vs. Girl — Fight!
I vividly remember a time playing Star Fox 64 when I was 12-years-old while visiting my grandparents during summer vacation. I was having the game of my life that day, on pace to accomplish every secret mission objective and reach the game’s true final ending. Nothing was going to stop me from my destiny. Then a girl my age showed up at the front door of my grandparent’s house and asked if I could come out to play. She was a cute little thing right around my age at the time who actually wanted to spend time with me, which was something very foreign to me up to that point in my life. Both my grandparents and actual parents begged me to come outside and spend time with this girl interested in my company.
But again, I was destroying the shit out of Star Fox 64. Andross’ true form was about to be revealed to me. And I made a choice that day that would forever sculpt my parent’s perception of what I valued most in life. The little girl went home a few hours later, disappointed that I never came outside and that she had to hang out with my elders for a few hours, while I basked in triumph from the couch as I, Fox McCloud, was reunited with my long-lost father, James, as we defeated Andross and saved the galaxy.
If I had the chance to go back in time and watch myself play Star Fox 64 that faithful day, I would have told my younger self “You made the right choice.”
Metal Gear Solid 2 Glitch Out
The day I reached the conclusion to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty I was actually sleeping over a friend’s house. I had brought my PlayStation 2 with me so my friend and I could game on the system all night. What ended up happening was Metal Gear Solid 2 theater, where my buddy watched me crank through the majority of the title in a sleep-deprived gaming binge.
However, I reached the end of MGS2 the next morning while my buddy was busy showering and grabbing food upstairs. So I experienced the entire “mind f*ck” of an ending by myself. When my codec started to wig out and Colonel Campbell began to sing and turn into a skeleton, I started to worry that my PS2 was about to die. I had no idea this was part of the actual game, that Jack was neck deep in a virtual reality training simulator and a puppet of Foxhound’s.
I’m still not quite sure I understand the ending of Metal Gear Solid 2. Granted, I haven’t had a chance to revisit the title in my later years, but that shit boggled my mind on my first play-through when I was sixteen. Getting a chance to watch myself freak out about my console dying would be a hell of an entertaining show. Maybe I could even take the time to wrap my brain around the game’s plot now that I’m 26. Chances of that are unlikely though, MGS 2 was goddamn convoluted.
World of Warcraft Straight to the Vein
World of Warcraft released when I was in college. While I wasn’t an early adopter of the title, it didn’t take much convincing from my buddies and dorm-mates to pick up the game and give it a whirl. Then the power of that drug kicked in. I was grinding and raiding constantly. It’s the stereotypical MMO story, actually — I spent less and less time doing homework and studying, my grades dropped significantly and my social life on weekend’s took a backseat to finding an epic bow on the corpse of a Murloc.
I just wish I could go back in time and warn myself of the troubles I was getting myself into. I’m not trying to say World of Warcraft was an absolute waste of time. I had some goods times and met a lot of nice people online. But it’s a title that should have been taken in moderation. I missed out on a lot of college experiences because I was too busy rolling 40 deep into Blackwing’s Lair. God, I was pretty nerdy at times.
Things can’t get much worse than that.
Resident Evil 2 Pretend Time
OK, I lied. Things can get much worse.
For anyone that listens to our podcast, Next Gen News, you probably know where this is headed. For everyone else, this story might make your nerd-dar explode, so shield your eyes.
My first experience with Resident Evil 2 didn’t even involve me picking up the controller to play. Since I didn’t have a PlayStation at the time, I had an older friend (read also: pseudo-creepy baseball coach) direct-feed videotape a play-through of the game for me to watch and pretend, yes pretend, to play. I even did this sometimes while holding a controller and mimicking the commands on the screens. Oh, did I mention that the controller wasn’t even plugged into anything?! I was 13.
I just want to go back and slap the shit out of myself for this one to avoid the massive amounts of ridicule I would later receive from friends who stumbled across that fabled video tape. Man, talk about embarrassing…
So there are a few instances of moments that shaped my gaming career. Feel free to share some of yours in the comments below.