Monday, May 12, 2014

Nintendo and Nostalgia

In the last month, Nintendo has released two Nintendo Directs about games that were a huge part of my childhood and teenage years. It makes me "nostalgia pretty hard" about the good ol' days and how much fun it was to just kick it with good friends and beat the heck out of them (through Nintendo characters of course), but it's also made me think about where the industry is going. I wonder things like "What will my nephew play when he gets older?"

The first game that springs to mind is the game that his auntie and (soon-to-be) uncle have made. I'm sure Andrew and I will be able to get him playing the game we've been working so hard on. But what about other kids? Is the future going to be full of endless Call of Duty games? Okay, I already know that one is a definitive yes. As long as there is Mountain Dew, there will be Call of Duty games. The two seem to go hand in hand. Really what I've been pondering is what's going to make gameplay interesting for kids. When I was young, everyone was sure that virtual reality was the next big thing. The the Virtual Boy happened, and crushed that dream for awhile. Now we're starting to see machines like the Oculus Rift which seems like it could bring virtual reality back, but with the kinks worked out.

Looking at Mario Kart 8 and the New Super Smash Brothers makes me think about how far we've come. From the art standpoint alone. Not even looking at the physics engines or at the gameplay itself. The art really has come along way for smash bros, and even longer since the 16-bit era that Mario Kart was started in.

When I first played Smash bros, I remember being amazed. I had never really been into fighting games. I didn't have a Sega or SNES, which seemed to be where those games really became popular. This game though, it was different to me. There was no fake blood, or scantily clad ladies. These were characters I knew! Characters I grew up with! Familiar faces! It seemed much more appealing. The stages were places I recognized, and the items were a lot of fun. I still remember playing for the first time with my friends, and I had no idea how to do a triple jump. They were nice enough to not tell me, and keep me as an easy target. Even still, it was a blast. I always look back on those memories fondly.

So many memories, I remember playing Super Smash Brothers Melee until the sun came up with my guy friends after I got off work. Those were good nights. Full of laughs, snacks and fights. We even had a tournament once with single fighters and pairs. We even did the black hole glitch without crashing my Gamecube. They came with me for the midnight release of Super Smash Brothers Brawl. I still remember when we put it in for the first time and played. It was beautiful. The music that plays for the opening of Brawl still gets me excited to play.

Back in the day, Mario Kart 64 was a mind blowing experience for me. I could not believe how cool the graphics were. The tracks were wonderful, and the art looked so real to me. Nowadays, it's not so shiny, but every time I play Mario Kart 64, my heart is filled with the same joy I had as a kid. I seriously used to come home from school and play it everyday. Mario Kart became a family game for us. We would all play and have a good time. Double Dash came out when I was a teenager, and I loved it. My friends would come over and play, which was nice, but really that's the game that became a bonding experience with my dad and me.

My dad worked late, and I have/had trouble sleeping. We would stay up late, play, strategize, and talk. It meant a lot to me, and really helped me through some bad times. I think it also gave my dad one of his fondest memories of me as a teenager. He distinctly remembers the day that he totally pulled a not loving father-y move to beat me at the very end, in front of my friends, and I flipped him off and screamed "Fudge* You" right at him. The room fell silent. You could have heard a pin drop. My friends stared at my dad thinking I was for sure going to be grounded, or yelled at, or at least be scolded. My dad just sat back and laughed. My dad has been playing videogames since before I was born. He's great at them, and he knows when he is. So when another kid came over and said "Oh you have Double dash, I've never lost." My dad answered him with a laugh. Needless to say, the poor kid came in third every single race.

Recently I played Double Dash with Andrew on my birthday, and honestly it still holds up to me. I love that game. We also played a little melee, which is also still just as fun as I remember. I think I'll always love those games. Maybe someday I'll play them with my nephew, if he's into games that will be considered old. Maybe by then he'll be playing Mario Kart 25, and we'll have a Vs. match.


*Please note I said the actual bad word