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45 Game Reviews
August 25, 2014 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I could tell you about the first time we made it to Death Egg. I took it pretty seriously. Instead of a controller - there's no place for Tails in the final level - I had a pencil and paper. I recorded every move the final boss made, so we could figure out the pattern, so we could win. I felt important, and smart, and so sure that I could be Player 2 and be happy.
Alex Roberts, aka @muscularpikachu, reviewed one game per day for 45 days, examining the autobiographical impact of each one. All games listed in chronological order below the fold. posted by Greg Nog (22 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was a wreck as soon as Chemical Plant Zone appeared on the screen.

Word.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:19 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


I'm suffering nostalgia by proxy here
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Oh hell yeah player 1
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:34 AM on August 25


Yikes, this list only needs Secret of Evermore, Secret of Mana, and Breath of Fire to encapsulate my childhood.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:53 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Earthbound or Childhood always ends but not if we keep playing
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


From the review if Chrono Trigger: "Why even play these games, except to re-name the characters after you and your friends?"

Curse you, character limitations!
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:59 AM on August 25


Right in the melancholy!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:01 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


(Non-duplicate link for) Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, the only game I remember truly hating as a youth.
posted by Thomas Tallis is my Homeboy at 8:08 AM on August 25 [1 favorite]


I've lurked here for years. Years, I tell you. This post finally got me to pay the $5.

Thank you, MetaFilter; thank you, @muscularpikachu. I read every one. Fantastic.

I wish I lived in a world where I could be your player 2, if just for a night.

I know I could have just tweeted at @muscularpikachu and saved $5, but... no. I will not tweet.
posted by booooooze at 8:38 AM on August 25 [9 favorites]


Welcome booooooze!
posted by stinkfoot at 8:51 AM on August 25 [2 favorites]


"Why even play these games, except to re-name the characters after you and your friends?"

This is what I did with the starting population of Tropico, just to see the generation dynamics.
posted by ikahime at 8:57 AM on August 25


I was a wreck as soon as Chemical Plant Zone appeared on the screen.

I don't get this, but that's more or less because Sonic was my thing growing up.

Truth be told: if you're skillful about ring retrieval and the bonus levels, and know the locations of the goal posts, there are enough rings and posts in Emerald Hill to acquire all 7 emeralds by the time you get to Chem Plant.

The review for Sonic 1 is spot on, btw.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:26 AM on August 25


My kid and I play a lot of Minecraft together. All the other kids in his after school care group think I am the coolest mom because I knew what the Mooshroom was, because I can name 100 Pokemon, because I know how to find the coolest Let's Play videos. Because I play.

Sometimes I wonder how he'll look back on this time when he's an adult. Other kids remember playing video games with their siblings or their friends. But he and I play, because I build the coolest adventure maps, because I'm the one he wants to have play in his games. Will he wish it was different? Will he look back with embarrassment? Nostalgia?

I know this is only console games, but it really feels incomplete without Diablo.
posted by anastasiav at 9:32 AM on August 25 [5 favorites]


Man, I haven't thought about Chameleon Twist in years. The review makes me wonder what other incredibly weird games I've played and forgotten, since weirdness is clearly no proof against forgetting them and everything associated with them.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:25 AM on August 25


Rollercoaster Tycoon:

What a power trip.

I can click on the mascot, and pick him up, and drop him wherever I like.

I can put him in the lake, and fish him out. Put him in, and fish him out. Put him in -

-

- leave it one second too long, and he drowns. I think about what a horrible way that would be to go, to drown in one of those big mascot suits. It would be so dark, so heavy. After I murdered the mascot, I was so shaken I could never play again.

I got this game out of a goddamn cereal box.



I think of this game every time I feel thirsty after buying salty snacks at the movies or an event.
posted by cacofonie at 1:05 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


For some time, I played Pokemon Snap just to bonk Psyduck on the head with apples. It always made me feel better when I was down.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:43 PM on August 25


Sometimes I wonder how he'll look back on this time when he's an adult. Other kids remember playing video games with their siblings or their friends. But he and I play, because I build the coolest adventure maps, because I'm the one he wants to have play in his games. Will he wish it was different? Will he look back with embarrassment? Nostalgia?

It will mean a lot to him.

Also the Chrono Trigger one made me fall in love with her. It's beautiful.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:40 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


FFVI: I had a plan, and it involved a whole lot of time walking in small circles on a tiny island shaped like a t-rex's head. The enemies there yielded the highest XP; a man on the internet told me so. So I decided to get every character up to level 60... er, better make it 75... hm, maybe 85 just to be safe...

FFVI had a rudimentary 2-player mode, where the second player could control characters during battle. My childhood BFF and I spent I don't know how much time walking that little island fighting dinosaurs until we got EVERY character to level 99. More than that, we carefully managed the espers along the way so that every character who could equip them ended up with 9999 HP, 999 MP, and at least one stat maxed out.

I won't go into the time and effort we spent shaving milliseconds off of Mario Kart time trials, but let's just say that a lot of these are hitting home for me in a lot of ways. Holy fuck the RE4 review.
posted by Panjandrum at 2:51 PM on August 25


I suspect we've killed the server : 0
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:49 PM on August 25


We could fix up the house by the sea, and let the waves lull us to sleep every night.

I could give up my quest and live in a dream with her.

My beloved is singing in the town square, and I am about to destroy the world.

Why even put the house by the sea, if not to make my heart ache while I stand in front of the final dungeon?

Link's Awakening is a game about growing up.



Wow, right in the feels.

I was having a hard time articulating why this struck me so, but I think it's because it made me realized I never need to read another game review again. This is the height of the form.

Who am I kidding, I'd read game reviews of this tone and lyricism for the rest of time and be happy. Well, not purely happy, exactly, but that sort of sad happy that acknowledges the fleeting nature of and sort of emptiness of unadulterated manic joy and resigns itself to that sort of quiet contentment of the evening, after a day's work. The kind of happiness that sort of winks in a grandfatherly way and says, "Yeah, life sucks, but who can be bothered by that now, in this moment?"

Erm, what was I trying to say? Ah, I guess I mean, I'm glad to have read this.
posted by Flaffigan at 4:20 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


This all reminds me of the sort of melancholy beauty that typified the best of Achewood. Wonderful stuff.

It also reminds me that the way some people apparently think of where they grew up as being "home," regardless of where they and their then-friends live now, seems to be the way I view Nintendo, just in general.

The Wegmans that opened some twenty minutes from my parents' house had the same "that's really good to hear about" effect on me as finding out that Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U is excellent, even though the Wii U only counts as "the least unlikely next-gen console for me to own one day."
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:16 PM on August 25


In the Harvest Moon review, she mentions Phantom Games, an essay by Kat Lake which also gets at a lot of the same things: that previously-played games are perhaps most productively approached in a kind of Proustian mode that acknowledges the headspace one was in at the time of first playing them.

(Kat Lake, aka @kat_ratmaze, also wrote what is perhaps my all-time favorite tumblr text post)
posted by Greg Nog at 6:10 AM on August 26


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