How are you, lovely?
I simply could not resist participating in your Write Me Free project (I love letters); so much so that here I am scrambling text onto a screen a mere thirty minutes after reading about the idea.
Without sounding conceited, I think I could probably write about anything at length – albeit with varying degrees of quality! – and so this may not be the only letter I send your wondrous way. Nevertheless, there is, I feel, only one topic with which I could open this stream with the hope of doing both our times’ justice:
I know you love them (certainly the Final Fantasy series, at least). I don’t play them as much as I’d like to anymore. I certainly think back fondly on them, though. And so, I thought I’d write about some titles which still loom large and luscious in my memory like those lights that paint the prettiest of palettes across the Arctic sky.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. No surprises here, really. Of all the two posts I’ve published on video games, Ocarina of Time features in both. The fairylike chimes and soft woodwind tones (is that what they are?) of Kokiri Forest represent one of the resounding musical memories of my childhood. Truthfully, I can’t quite put in to words how or what I feel when I listen to it now. Something approaching safety and comfort, I think. Almost butterflies in my tummy – I always smile. The most apt word, I suppose, would be bliss.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Music is a recurring theme with me, and this series is of course renowned for its soundtracks (at least during its heyday). When I had become pretty darn good at this game – a lot of us did, admittedly – I enjoyed the challenge of completing the game in full with each skater but without increasing my stats. Getting the Sick score in Philadelphia was always the most difficult of the lot. (Half pipe, half pipe, half pipe.) Anyway, back to the music. This is where I first heard Millencolin, Rage Against the Machine, Lagwagon, Public Enemy. This early injection of punk rock is responsible for whom I am today. This game was the biggest of deals. Plus, who could forget pulling off a 900 as Spiderman in Skate Heaven?
Super Mario Galaxy. Please, please, please – don’t get me wrong. Chronology: I was truly terrible at Super Mario Land on the Game Boy; got to the end of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and lost my save file; spent so much time playing Super Mario 64; and actually rather liked Super Mario Sunshine (the concept was lame but the I’m a sucker for the accordion so the hub of Delfino Plaza had me in the palm of its summery paw.) And yes, you would’ve thought that of all of these, Mario 64 would’ve clinched it by a mushroom mile. But Super Mario Galaxy is. just. magic. Pure magic. Waving the remote about and watching the colourful star bits – which looked a lot like some old sweet I anonymously recall – woosh and whisk their way to the jolly plumber as he lightly traversed entire planets at every conceivable, roundabout angle, free of gravity, was something else entirely.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2. When I got my Mega Drive at six years old, it came with Cool Spot, Aladdin (the only video game my Dad has ever been able to play and whose level inside the lamp was fantastic), and Sonic 2. In many ways, this is still the only video game that did, and will, ever matter to me. Casino Night Zone. Hill Top Zone. Oil Ocean Zone. Super Sonic. The chime during the end-of-level scoring when you’ve earnt enough points to get an extra life (recall the tiny Sonic flashing in the corner of the screen). Seriously, I genuinely don’t really know where to go or what to say here. Everything I say will be incomplete. I must finish this letter so I can go play this again. I still half-remember the numbers of sound selections for the level select, debug and Super Sonic cheats.
I’m going to stop here, because I could actually go on ad infinitum. It’s nice, this; looking back on old memories. I really should play games more often.
I’ll just briefly reel off a few others just for fun (fun for me, if I’m being honest): GoldenEye, Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2, Power Stone and Power Stone 2, KIRBY’S DREAM LAND, Mario Kart 64, Lylat Wars, Banjo-Kazooie, Wario Land, Crash Bandicoot, James Pond II: Robocod, Jet Force Gemini, I remember being particularly amazing at the time. (In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a theme here – I was [and remain] a proud Nintendo kid.) Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty; generally considered to be pretty awful, I believe, but it was the first Metal Gear Solid title I ever played and it came out on my birthday (way back when!) and I loved it. Worms Armageddon, Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles, Super Smash Bros., Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Timesplitters 1, 2 and 3 (Future Perfect). Gears of War, SSX, SSX Tricky and SSX 3. Gosh, I’ve listed a lot: sorry.
I really will leave it there. I realise this has mostly been me just waffling about games, but I’ve really enjoyed it, so thank you for the inspiration! Hopefully there may be something of value (read: cursory interest) to you somewhere in here.
I would love to hear your thoughts on some of your favourite games, and ones which you think back on most fondly.
I hope your week passes swiftly and is stuffed full of smiles!
With warmth and well wishes,
P.S. Do you have any old-school consoles or games we could play online?