Saturday, February 16, 2008

RETRO Gaming

We all do it. As we grow older, we tend to look back on the past with fond, rose-colored glasses. I'm not "old" yet, but I am getting older. So like everybody, I've been going back and replaying the movie in my head. I've noticed that certain songs, movies, and books have a kind of "memory footprint" on them. What do I mean by that?

Well, for instance, whenever I hear "Touch and Go" by The Cars I think about driving around late at night in my first car (Chevy Corsica). That's pretty common--songs do that for people. But I've noticed something that can really only happen to people of my generation, and in that I get the same feeling from certain video games.

When I first got my first XBOX, one of the first games I had was a strange little game called JET SET RADIO FUTURE. Never heard of it? Not many people have. It's a sequel to a Dreamcast game (JET SET RADIO), where you skate around spraying graffiti on a neon/cartoon-ish Japan. The gameplay is fun (though simple), and the cell-shaded graphics/art style is cool even today. Another really cool thing about JET SET RADIO FUTURE is it's soundtrack, which is all this really crazy techno/trance/J-Pop. I've tried many, many times to locate this game's soundtrack (both legally and illegally) with no luck...which is a shame. I did however, discover California rapper Marty James this way (his old band Scapegoat Wax is featured on the soundtrack).

Anyway, I went to the mall on my day off with Leah, and I was in a FYE when I decided to look for it. I'd been looking off and on for the past few weeks in a bunch of local game store, but so far had struck out. I know, I could have just ordered it online--but what's the fun in that? This game isn't the first HALO, it was sorta unknown when it came out (all the way back in 2002), so I knew finding it now would be a challenge.

But, the Galleria FYE had it! It was a bit overpriced (a six year old game for $20) but I was so happy to have found it, that I picked it right up. I went home and eagerly put it into my XBOX 360, hoping to God it was backwards compatible (though all XBOX games are supposed to be compatible with the 360, this is not always the case). Anyway, this is all really geeky and probably not that interesting to those of you know don't play video games, but skating around in this game is the most fun I've had (game-wise) in ages. I don't know what it is, but for some reason this game really does it for me.

So, if you play video games--what's your favorite "little game"? the one that you love and you have so many fond memories of, that most people don't even know existed?


Murph said...

My "retro game" is Sid Meier's Civilization II, which I think I first purchased back in the late 1990s. I remember playing it a lot when I was in grad school. Basically you start at the stone age with a chosen empire (I always picked the Romans) and struggle against seven other opponents (computer AI players in my case) to reach the "present."

Two ways to "win" the game were either to conquer the planet or to build a starship and travel to Alpha Centauri. You can guess which one I chose more often.

You have worry, once you discover industrialization, about global warming. If you get so much pollution (represented by skulls on the map) then the climate on the planet changes on you. Fields turn to desert or ice, swamps where you had forests, total disaster for your civilization. That climate change could be brought on by the use of nuclear weapons as well.

I've also played Command and Conquer 2, Red Alert but I don't play it much anymore. My Wing Commander Four won't work in my computer and I don't have a decent joystick for it.

The game I play these days, when I have time, is Warhammer 40K the Dawn of War.

That said, I don't have the money or the time I once did for games. Yet I find time for YouTube. Hmm.

Northtown, Missouri

Jason said...

Leah LOVES Civilization III. When I met her it was her favorite game, and three systems later (including the Wii) I think it's still her favorite.

Open ended "sand-box" games like that are always great.

I'm the same away about writing...I always say I don't have the time I need...and yet I mysteriously always have time for this blog (and video games). Hmm...

Jason said...

I doubt anyone cares, but after I wrote this I "found" the soundtrack online. It's fantastic.