Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Bit of Coming to Terms: When You've Lost That Loving Feeling.

Recently, I decided that I was going to purchase and replay The Secret of Monkey Island. Along with it being the first blog post I wrote for this here humble establishment, it was also, ostensibly, one of my favorite games for years. It worked especially well because, for those of you that have been following along, the PC that I have been trying to stream on handles...well, almost nothing. So, The Secret of Monkey Island was just graphically unintense enough for me to play for the world to see.

For years, I have told strangers and friends alike that The Secret of Monkey Island and Chronotrigger are my two favorite games. Chronotrigger I have played multiple times since the first go-around, but I haven't touched Monkey Island since sitting in my mother's office on our old, dusty Mac and playing it through with her. Ultimately, I wonder if my attachment to the game might be some weird kind of nostalgia-driven desire to crawl back into that comfy time when life was infinitely simpler. In my own head, I was the master of Monkey Island—me and Guybrush Threepwood were two peas in a pod, just some dudes using chickens with pulleys in the middle to beat all the bad guys.

The truth is, which I learned by playing through and beating the game as of last night—I actually didn't remember shit about Monkey Island. This is evidenced by the tons of extra hours I spent meandering uselessy around the island, or talking to myself (to the chagrin of my audience) about "I know that I need to use [insert random item here] somewhere, but what the heck am I supposed to be doing with it?" My own pride of having this as my capital-f Favorite game as well as being vehemently opposed to using walkthroughs made this a bit slow going to start off. If you're interested in seeing what I mean when I say that, you can check out the recordings of the stream here.

So, now is when we get to the point of the post. While I definitely enjoyed replaying this game, and do believe that the humor inherent, as well as the actual construction of gameplay is good, I found myself wondering if this game truly merited the "F" favorite designation any longer. Perhaps I was overly frustrated and embarrassed because I have been sporting the "THIS GAME IS THE BEST" flag for the past decade-plus, but I found myself thinking that the mechanics and controls did not lend themselves to ease of play or smoothness. And, while I do still think it is a great game, I do not know if it is one of the best in my mind anymore.

This feeling has both saddened and reinvigorated me. How many of my other favorite games are favorites just because of nostalgia, and how many actually have a leg to stand on now that something like twenty years since their creation has passed? This question makes me just want to go back and replay all of them—it makes me want to dust off my consoles and play these games in their original habitat, rather than playing them in emulators. I want to remember and feel how the actual buttons and controls felt—to take myself back, as if in a time machine, and make myself remember exactly why these games are so good.

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Given that I beat the game yesterday, I find myself thinking more and more about which games I should stream next. I think I would like it to, ultimately,  be something a bit more engaging for the viewer, as there's no dying or real consequence in Monkey Island, but I'm not entirely sure which game it should be. I think, too, that I would like it to be something that I never beat all the way through as a means of not feeling TOO bad when I don't remember anything about how to actually move through the plot. Given that Tim Schafer just released his first game since Grim Fandango, which I've been waiting for for YEARS, maybe that is what I'll play through—but I'd love to see if something else strikes my fancy first. Maybe the sequel to Monkey Island.

What about you? Do you have any stories like this—games you thought you loved that ultimately just did not stand up to the test of time? Games that you thought you hated but replayed and realized were a secret treasure trove of awesomeness? Most importantly, do you have a game you'd like me to stream? Hit me up in the comments! Happy Gaming!

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