Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The 2D Revolution

The phrase "Oldie but goodie" applies to lots of things; movies, music, art, Audrey Hepburn, cheese...

I'm just not sure it applies to video games anymore. Way back in the eighties, when I was a child, everything was new and fresh. Atari was the standard, Nintendo was revolutionary, and I could rock the Apple IIe like nobody's business. I even dabbled on the Commodore 64--now that's old!

I don't have nearly as much time or desire to play video games as I once did, though I'm still an occasional gamer. As a child, however, I was obsessed. Bubble Bobble was sweet, sweet love, and Toe Jam and Earl was as mind blowing and addictive as rock cocaine.

My sister visited me over the weekend and for some reason had a strong craving to play these old games again. I was down with the idea because, frankly, it's not like I have a life. After a bit of searching on the internet, I downloaded a couple emulators and in no time the shrill, repetitive tune of Bubble Bobble was beeping away. "This is great," I thought at first. "Just like old times." We discussed how we would play this for hours with our brother (now somewhere in Mexico) and how fun it was.

Then after about thirty seconds of blowing bubbles and popping them, reality set in. "This freakin' sucks," I admitted. "This really isn't that fun," she said. "What were we thinking?"

We tried good ol' "Toe Jam and Earl." That one, I was sure, would not disapoint. Playing funky aliens was better than pixel-like lizard creatures, but the terrible sound and graphics eventually became unbearable. We went upstairs and turned on my gamecube.

I guess there's no turning back. How can you get excited about ugly, 2D dragons hopping on bubbles, when you've played amazingly detailed modern games like Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. I'll just stick with the good memories of these old games. It's all sunshine and glitter when you're looking back. Atari is still cool, Mr. Rogers is entertaining, and He-man isn't blatantly homosexual. Life is better in retrospect.


grace said...

i'm not a huge fan of the older games. i like the nice shiny new ones! :) :) :)

and i love the gamecube! :)

j.i.g. said...

Whuuuut? Jeremy, I'm surprised. We were playing Goldenaxe and TJ & E a good 7-9 years after their first release. And they were still great!

You know, we never beat Goldenaxe. We sucked.

Jeremy said...

Jean: True, but I think it was more the commroderie and the fun of sneaking out of gym to play these games that made them great. Of course, were you and I to bust out some Golden Axe today, I'm sure I'd enjoy it because of the good memories.

We did suck, though. Didn't hear the enemies go "pleh" nearly as much as we should have.

wilkesyachtingco said...

He man wasnt blatently homosexual. Now, Adam, prince of eternia on the other hand, is a whole different story.

NARDAC said...

hmmm... bubble bobble still rules "ready... GO!" Maybe it just sucks on a computer emulator... better with a nintendo touch pad. One day I'll challenge you on it, when we can conference play bubble bobble... My brain goes numb just thinking about it.

On another level, maybe that's one of the few games I can still tolerate. I mean, I played frogger a couple of weeks ago, out of boredom, and it sucked, royally. I mean, I wanted to stuff my fist through my liquid crystal screen... that's how frustrating the commands were to master... on a keyboard.

However, one great exception is the Legend of Zelda, especially the Ocarina one... that game still rules the chicken's behinds. And the music... have you ever heard the piano versions? Magnifique.

Actually, all those role playing games are still kind of silly and fun, as long as you don't dip too far back.