Friday, November 22, 2013

I Mean, Remember that Duck from Duck Hunt?

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I have a bunch of friends who play games exclusively on the PC. These are the same people who consider console gaming to be a poor experience when compared to the richness that a full computer, with a keyboard, a mouse, and a joystick (on occasion) can bring.

To them I say: you can keep your computers. You know why? Because dude, old console games are legitimately hard to play.

ice climber
Who’d have thought that timing that jump would be so damn difficult? Taken from Tasvideos.

The other day, I was doing a bit of reading on the history of the Game & Watch—did you know that it was inspired by a bored businessman playing with the buttons of an LED watch?—and one of the pages I was browsing through had a comprehensive list of the games that were available on the various iterations of the Game & Watch. One of these games was Ice Climber.

Well, for a former gamer, I had terrible hand coordination skills, and I was always better at something like Ice Climber than, say, Super Mario or Galaga. I had spent hours on games like those—we had one of those 100 in 1 cartridges for the NES—and, upon coming across the title again, after so many years of not even going anywhere near the NES, I was instantly hit by a pretty strong wave of nostalgia.

One of the greatest things about the Internet today, though, is that old NES games that are now free from their licenses. Ice Climber is one of those games that are in the public domain, along with other titles like Adventure Island, Chip n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers, and many, many more.

And my first comment when I started playing Ice Climber was that the game was hard. I don’t really remember getting too far in the game back when I was a kid, but I certainly remember getting to the condor more than once. Why couldn’t I get the bonus part of the game done now?

Truth be told, though, the games back then were hellishly hard. It wasn’t just Ice Climber; I remember having a rhythm when playing Adventure Island (on the Sega Game Gear, no less), to the point wherein I could play the first two stages without skipping a beat. Now I couldn’t even get past the first stage without dying at least once.

I haven’t tested any of these games on my nephew or nieces yet, so I don’t know if it’s just an age thing. I suspect that my age has something to do with it. There’s also the possibility that I’ve gotten way too used to the Playstation controller (you have to admit, that design was revolutionary). But I’m leaning towards the possibility that I’ve gotten too old to properly enjoy the classics of the NES without getting frustrated with how the game physics are like shooting buckshot in zero gravity.

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