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8-Bit Blues

October 23, 2013

I love the virtual console on Nintendo products and I love using roms and emulators on my computer but…I’m just not very good at the damn games anymore. I half-heartedly play these games for their nostalgia, suck at them, and then I question whether I was ever really good at them. I don’t think I became truly ‘good’ at gaming until the 16-bit era. No, it’s not that the games became suddenly easier, but the controls became more refined and they started having stories that greatly made the narrative the focus instead of endless frustration. Nintendo hard is right, you’d have to have been a 6-7 year old with nerves of steel not to get pissed off at these games.

Even The Legend of Zelda is a pain in the ass. I love that game and thinking of it gives me the warm and fuzzies, but then I start playing and I start spouting expletives at my TV as a result. Yeah, I came from the very, very, very end of the Atari era of gaming, so much so that the only real memory of that era is playing a helicopter game with my brother and Dig Dug. Oh and Asteroids. Nintendo, though? My earliest memory of that is playing Super Mario Bros. with my mother and brother. I remember when my brother got Mega Man and started playing it and died. Died. Died. Died again. Died some more. And finally snapped for possibly the second time I remember (the first time was when my mother and I were kicking ass in Duck Hunt) .

I think the whole experience turned me off of really gaming too much until the Super Nintendo came out. Which was more accessible for me. You have to remember that I’ve been gaming with a deeply flawed right hand since I was 5. So button pressing was increasingly difficult for me and timing was never my specialty. So, those rose-tinted memories of the regular NES may be great, but they’re just crap memories now as I can’t really play them that well now–if ever, and it frustrates me. Not so much the dying (that does suck) but my memories don’t really quite match-up with the happy giddy feeling I get when retro game.

And what have I learned from this experience? Well…sometimes reliving your childhood memories can suck, especially if your memories tend to be better experiences than your current reality. I’ll stick to my watered down gaming that doesn’t leave me feeling all stabby.

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