I’ve been thinking about this more and more after reading some posts in the GameCube OT.
Playing older games in general always brings me a strong sense of my childhood. Anything on Master System, Gameboy, Mega Drive, N64, or GameCube takes me right back to rainy weekends, sunny summer holidays, and long trips in the car.
There’s some games that bring back more particular memories. Wonder Boy is always a rainy weekend day watching my Dad play (he was the only one of us who could actually finish it). Castle of Illusion is always a rainy school holiday day. Wonder Boy III is always at my best friends house. Super Mario 64 is always summer at our local electronics store (where I first played a demo unit and freaked out). Mario Kart 64 is always sitting on the floor playing 4 player with my parents and brother. Kirby’s Dreamland is always always in the car, on a long road trip to a beach somewhere far away.
More recently, Steam World Dig always takes me back to being deathly sick in bed in our small city apartment.
I sometimes get a weird faux nostalgia too when playing older games for the first time. I get reminded of things around the time it released, despite not playing it at the time.
So, do you have any strong memories or experiences linked to games?
Waverace 64. The first date with my wife in 1996. I played it nervously at EB right before the date to kill time. I played Sonic on Genesis when I got home late at night. When I finally got married in Fiji in 2009, I’m sure I was the only one there playing emulated Amstrad games on DS.
Space Invaders and Galaxian (Arcade) - Going to the laundromat with my mom around 1979/1980.
Centipede, Dragon’s Lair (Arcade) - Ferry rides in the early to mid '80s.
Various text based games I associate with the Arts, Science, and Technology Centre in downtown Vancouver in the early '80s. They relocated to become Science World after Expo '86.
Hunt the Wumpus, Clowns, and Aztec Challenge (C64) - Played on classroom computers.
Street Fighter II (SNES) - In college, first time I had double vision from drinking. My two Kens kicked two Ryus asses.
Mortal Kombat (Arcade) - Being a stoned 18 year old at the local bowling alley.
Commando (Arcade) - at San Jose, California airport for a stop over in 1987. At the hotel arcade in Anaheim I played Star Wars and Spy Hunter.
Omega Race, Donkey Kong, Astroblitz, Defender, Dig Dug (VIC-20) - Best Christmas ever.
Fantasy Zone: The Maze and Rampage (SMS) - Playing two player with my cousin while I was babysitting him. I was paid to play games in the 8-bit era!
Pokemon Blue - reminds me of car trips to Connecticut in middle school when I visited my sister in college.
Legend of Mana - reminds me of sneaking in some game time after school before my mom got home when I was supposed to be doing my homework.
Super Mario Bros. 3 and other NES games - remind me of when I was a toddler and my dad and sister played videogames with me fairly regularly.
Wii Sports - reminds me of when my dad was finally willing to play games with me again for the first time since the NES.
Now that I think about it, all of my nostalgia feels pretty focused on my relationship with my family.
Super Mario Bros. (NES) - My Father teaching me how to play, I was probably 6. The first pit on the first level I was afraid and had a hard time jumping over.
Sonic The Hedgehog - Played at my Uncle’s house, he bought the system for my cousin but she was being a teen and didn’t care for video games.
Tetris (NES) - My Father and I would play this together a lot growing up.
Donkey Kong Country - My Father and I looked EVERYWHERE for this game when it first came out. Finally found a store that sold copies of it, We beat the game together within the week we bought it.
There is many more games but these four really stood out for me.
Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast): Instant association with Robbie Williams. The encounter rate was so insanely high in that game and at one point I got really tired of listening the same battle theme over and over (and they loading noises the cd made too). Around that time, Robbie Williams released an album called “Sing when you’re winning” so I had that on loop every time I was in a dungeon.
After having received the first installment of Streets of Rage for Christmas, I was hooked on the game. On New Year’s Eve, after most of the fireworks had died down, I begged my mother to let me play the game a bit before going to bed. She didn’t mind, and I was glued to my Mega Drive for the rest of the night.
It was quite a magical evening, basking in the neon-soaked goodness of Streets of Rage while once in a while outside a lone skyrocket would soar through the air and illuminate the room I was in.
Now whenever I fire up SOR the memories of that night often come flooding back.
That’s awesome, sounds like a great night!
It reminds me of my own Streets of Rage experience. The first time I played it was just a one-off, as I didn’t get my own Mega Drive until several years later. My uncle got one, and we only saw him maybe once every few years, and only at my grandmother’s house, which was really weird. It was always really dank and cold, and the darkest, dampest room had all this weird stuff in it like dead insects in jars and stuffed birds and such. We huddled in the lightest corner of that room and played Streets of Rage for the first time for hours, it was pretty glorious. Probably my best memory of that house or my uncle, lol.