A Past Betrayal
Think about your favorite game. The first time you turned your console on to play it. It’s one of your best gaming memories, isn’t it? Maybe it really turned you on to a new genre of gaming. Maybe some of your favorite memories as a child are because of these games. It could have turned you into a fanboy/fangirl. I’ll forgive you, if so, just this one time. You all aren’t bad. Brace yourself. I’m going to tell you something you won’t like.
You have been betrayed by nostalgia. Before you make me walk the plank, let me explain. I find it amazing how passionate fans are about their games. Zelda, Mario, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, etc are all classic games that should be adored by gamers. After all a lot of these games are what hooked you into gaming in the first place, right? Now think about this for a second, or take as long as you need, I won‘t rush you. Are we, as gamers, hindering new titles because of our connections to past games?
Full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan of these older characters. I’ve never been able to connect to them like some of you fine folks. I’ve played and beaten several Mario games. I played about half way through Twilight Princess before I quit. Fun fact, it took me years to figure out Zelda was a girl. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is the only game I’ve played from the Metal Gear franchise. I have Final Fantasy 7 on my PS3 but haven’t gotten significantly far at all. The closest I’ve gotten to beating a Final Fantasy game is Final Fantasy X. I say closest because I never was able to beat it.
Just so I don’t look like a complete “n00b” I absolutely love Sonic the Hedgehog, one of my favorite games is Sonic Adventure 2 on the DreamCast. I poured over sixty hours into Star Ocean: Till the End of Time only to have it freeze as I beat final boss. I still loved it no matter how infuriating that moment was. Kingdom Hearts is probably my favorite franchise if I had to choose one. I still think back to how that game affected me from a personal standpoint. Ah the nostalgia, yes? That’s just naming a few of many that have stood out to me in all my years of gaming. So maybe I’m not an exact expert on this subject. Or quite possibly I’m the perfect person to write about this. It’s kind of like being around a group of your friends who are talking about politics and you chime in with, “How about them Knicks last night?” even though we all know it’s not even basketball season yet.
We love when current games have something in common with our beloved past franchises. It brings a sense of familiarity, which lets be honest, we don’t like very many changes in our life. The same can be said about games. If Miyamoto all of a sudden gave Link a complete voice in-game don’t you think fans would cry out in horror? Besides the tights and green tunic many people associate Link as the hero who speaks very little other than when swinging his sword.
The question is: why are we so afraid of change? Sometimes the best way to accept change is to let go of our expectations. That’s hard. We’ve played all these amazing games over the years we expect them to be on par or even better than its predecessors. If a game doesn’t have a specific function all of a sudden we’re saying, “Whoa, stop! I never asked for this. It’s nothing like ________!” You can fill in the blank.
I’m going to give you a little advice free of charge. It will help remedy this betrayal. Keep an open mind. Simple as that. Once again, just like our regular life, don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know what you’re missing out on. I don’t have to remind you of that one girl or guy who got away, do I? It could be a first-person shooter, a role-playing game, or an action-adventure game. Step outside your comfort zone. Trust me, it’s not as bad as it seems. I never thought I’d be good at puzzle type games because I struggled at solving several of the puzzles in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Years later I picked up Portal 2, an in your face puzzle game, and bam all of a sudden I want a game that will make me think.
If you’re like me then I know your just waiting for that next game that gave you the same butterflies in your belly Mario, Zelda, or Final Fantasy gives. I want to be blown away by something so unique that I’ll be talking about it for the next year. No lie, if it happens I will mention it at a minimum of one time in every article I write. Okay I’m lying. But that’s how bad I want this. I don’t want to be saddled down thinking about how similar it is to such and such games. Not cool. As gamers once we drop our expectations developers will be more apt to trying new things. Nostalgia is pretty awesome without a doubt. We’re drawn to our memories from the past. In terms of gaming, it can also be the biggest hindrance in the advancement of games.
Take my hand and take a leap of faith with me? Or are you happy with your Mario and Zelda? Sound off below.