May 12, 2016

The Elite Four: Nostalgic Games

Once again, I'm stealing content from the YouTube sector of the Cartridge Club. This particular topic seems to have stemmed from one of our more recent adoptions, whom we call Musty! The idea is to name your top five nostalgic games - not favorite games, not rare games, no even most fun games - but the games that illicit the strongest memories of days gone by. This list was especially awkward for me to form because it works against everything I am as a gamer. No RPG's and only ONE genesis title?! What's goin' on here?! Let's have a look at my Top 5 Most Nostalgic Games.

5. Space Invaders (Arcade)
This takes me back to a little restaurant that was around the corner from my childhood home. The line ups there were often legendary, but luckily they had a custom table top-style Space Invaders cab that literally nobody but me seemed to touch. I expect it's because most of the food seekers didn't know how it worked, but I was an old pro in arcades at the time, so that is where I'd park my ass... often while I was eating, too. I think the owner really wanted to tell me off about eating at the cab but then again, I was his only source of quarters, so he'd let me be (I never made a mess anyway). I remember one particular incident when I came in and found my high score had been replaced, and magically turned into Sherlock Holmes, investigating the whole restaurant and interrogating the people that worked there. I wanted to know who beat my score, dammit! I never did find out, but for some time after that I would go and only order an ice cream so I had an excuse to sit and raise my score some more.

4. Doom (PC)
On PC! Does this surprise you? While I may be a console gamer at heart, some of my first and most prominent gaming experiences were actually on PC. One of the perks of having the kind of parents that only care about how they appear to others was that we were one of the first homes (that we were aware of) to have a PC (and eventually the internet, too)! I remember watching my brother play Doom all the time. I was drawn to the gore and other hellish imagery because I was so desensitized to it (remember that horror article I wrote a while back? I'll get to that soon, by the way.) but it was difficult to find as I was still rather young. On one particular occasion, my brother had called it quits for the day so he could go hang out with his friends, but I had made sure to pay attention to how he opened and set up the game that day, so after he left, I jumped in the hot seat and booted up my own game. He got home just in time to see me beat the game, and immediately jumped into cheating accusations and whatever else he could say to make himself feel better about the fact that I was better at Doom than he. Luckily, mum was right there to back me up, saying that I had been there all day so I must have done it on my own. Probably a good thing she never actually looked at the screen. Don't think she'd have been so eager to defend me had she known what I was playing!

I'll take this moment to shamelessly promote the new Doom game. The timing of its release (May 13 2016… tomorrow!) is unfortunate - as I'll be knee deep in Uncharted 4 by the time you read this - but I actually am really looking forward to this particular installment. It appears to be very true to the original Doom I've just discussed, but with a very obvious update.

3. Sim City 2000 (PC)
Yeah… odd. I don't know what it is about Sim City, but this game just makes me feel... nostalgic. I also played this one on PC back in the early '90s. I remember coming home every day and immediately jumping on the computer to check on my town. Gosh! I wish I could remember all the stupid things I named my cities!! I'm sure there were plenty of Star Trek names, though…
It got to a point where my progress was almost famous. I'd meet with schoolmates and tell them all the weird things that were happening in… Picardland or whatever… and lay out all my plans. I remember feeling especially disappointed when something didn't pan out and my city was ruined. I was used to raging when things didn't go my way in video games but in Sim City I would just be left... depressed. Interesting that such a simple game could have so much power over one's emotions. All I did was click on stuff!

I've been eager to replay a Sim City for a while now. I've got the PS1 version of SC2K on standby but I also have the SNES version (not 2000, for those of you keeping score). Can't decide which to play!

2. Dance Dance Revolution (Playstation, PS2)
If my life were a television show, the best season would be the one that showed my epic DDR parties. I don't really even remember what possessed me to buy this for Playstation (and PS2!). I knew of the arcade machines, but we barely touched those. It wasn't until they made a disc version with an accompanying, kickass dance pad that I took to DDR with a few of my pals who were usually way better than me. That said, I was the true gamer of the bunch, so it was me who actually owned all the games and dance pads (essentially just a giant D-pad you put on the floor and step on, if you've never seen DDR before) and I was no stranger to hauling my PS(2) anywhere and everywhere, so I was infamous for my impromptu DDR parties. This culminated in weekends and summers spent at my friend's lake house, which was on an island. Neighbors would see me on the boat over with a stuffed bag strapped to my back and know it was party time. Most nights everyone would sail in to watch or play with us. They brought the beers, I brought the revolution.

In time I'd convinced virtually everyone to give it a shot - my parents, my friend's parents, old people, young people… a pregnant lady once asked me to put on an easy tune to see if it would induce labor for her. Don't think it worked but she had a good time. These days I don't play DDR much... actually I can't remember the last time. But I'm always open to taking on challengers, so if you ever get to meet me, let's dance!
Gather 'round y'all.
1. Mortal Kombat (Genesis)
This one is special to me. In my arcade days, I mostly played Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, but that changed drastically after I got a copy of MK for the genny. All the inhibitions of the arcade were wiped away and it was just me and the motliest crew of them all. I've logged countless hours in this game! I would discover the moves and write them down in the manual, and get all kinds of frustrated when the fatalities didn't work out right for me. And when I learned of the blood and cheat codes?! Oh man…
I mastered all of the characters, although I definitely had a favorite in Raiden - or "Rayden" - and in time I stopped playing MK in the arcade altogether. I just preferred it on my own turf. This is, no doubt, why I've always been better at MK than SF, and I'd probably venture so far as to say I like MK better too, for nostalgia reasons!

Looking at this list, I realize most of these titles have made appearances on my lists before! But that goes without saying, doesn't it? Nostalgia is a powerful tool.

Honorable Mentions:
Robotron - This is another cab I spent a lot of time at. Someone had put a padded stool in front of it and eventually, a rumor went around that people were complaining the stool was uncomfortable because it had formed to my butt!
Final Fantasy VII - Is there such a thing as bad nostalgia? Everyone knows I'm the "Final Fantasy guy" but when I think of FF7 I'm not overcome with the happy memories of me playing the game, but rather plagued by the uncomfortable memories of helping everyone else play the game. It's unfortunate that it's worked out this way.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1, 2) - Of all the music in video game history, nothing brings me back as quickly or as swiftly as the soundtracks of Sonic 1 & 2. I played the shit out of these games and their soundtracks are simply magnificent.
Every Cartridge Club Game Ever - Hear me out! When I listen to the CC Podcast, it always makes me want to run off and play the game in question. Oftentimes it's games I already have a great deal of love for, but sometimes it's one that I don't know so well, and it still makes me want to sit in front of a tv and hold a controller. And it reminds me of my amazing internet family. Love y'all. <3

Shout out to the Cartridge Club for drowning me in these video and inspiring me to write my version. If you want to check out such videos, you'll find all my friends linked at!

Okay. Back to being over excited about Uncharted.


  1. I can't take full credit for the tag, but I appreciate the mention and I'm glad that you decided to write up your own. If anything, seeing everyone's lists has really surprised me - there are a number of games I would have never expected.
    I remember for a 6th grade class, we had to play SimCity, then after X number of in-game years, we had to print out our city, and build a scale model of some or all of it. Being a horrible procrastinator at the time, I waiting way too long for that project and it didn't come out the way that "2016 Musty" would have liked it. I now have the SNES version, and really want to give it some time.
    The only version of Doom (and Quake, too)that I owned were the shareware versions until I picked it up on my 360. The audio, pacing of that game is so perfect and I'm glad to see that it holds significance for you, too.
    I'm in the same boat of wanting to have the full Cartridge Club "set", even those that happened prior to my involvement in the group. It's been awesome so far, despite the occasionally divisive game (but it only leads to more good discussion, etc.).
    Great stuff Lo!

    1. So far as I can tell, you're the one that brought it to everybody's attention. That's crime enough for me to name you! (I'm glad you did though.)
      What the fuck school uses Sim City in the classroom and why wasn't I enrolled there?! I'm going to have a serious talk with my parents tonight. That's so cool! I would have had a ball with that assignment.
      Quake was awesome, too, I just got to Doom first, I think.
      Thanks for stopping by, Musty!

  2. I love your blogs, Lo. You put such personality and charm into a simple thing like a top five list. I feel like I was there with you in the restaurant or at the PC playing Doom. It's a great list, and I wish I could've been witness to those dance parties (although I'm glad we have a calf down version immortalized in a CC video). Wonderful writing as always.

    1. Thanks, Duke! I'm glad my "charming" personality comes through in my writing. That's something I hope to hold onto for the rest of my life.
      I will orchestrate a CC dance party some day! Then you can see all the stupid faces I make while playing...

  3. Awesome list!

    I'm here scratching my head trying to formulate my own. RamVox tagged me in this forever ago and I still haven't posted a video/blog in response.

    Now that I read your list I kind of want to add DDR to mine, as well. My game of choice was DDR Extreme 2 on the PS2. I've had some epic parties with that one, as well, over the years. It's been forever since I hit the dance pad, though!

    1. I think the key is not to think about it too much. If I did that, I'd never get these lists out. Just listen to your heart, Ry! Haha.

      DDR is the bees knees. I should throw a DDR party soon. And I also specialize in Extreme 2!