You may have noticed a distinct lack of words yesterday, and for that I apologize. I must confess – I was having entirely too much fun reminiscing about times gone by, reacquainting myself with a collection of Super Famicom favorites such as Shadowrun, F-Zero, Dragon Quest V, Axelay, Contra III and other assorted pieces of 16-bit treasure I’d assumed long since lost in the depths of my gaming past.
In my ongoing quest for a ‘truer’ gameplay experience, playing these now-classic titles afforded me the luxury of suspending my usual rant against the lack of innovation in the industry, and focus instead on the simplicity of these titles; a return to innocence, if you will. The premise of these games is so strikingly basic, almost hasty in their attempts to get straight to what matters – the gameplay – that the result is an immediacy that many of today’s titles cannot offer. What was that? There’s only one ship left in Earth’s tired, ailing fleet after years of relentless alien assault? Then what the hell am I sat here reading introductory text for? Press start, and prepare for launch.
As for the games themselves, they’ve aged extremely well. After realizing I’d made the error of mistaking the games’ simplicity as lack of sufficiently challenging gameplay – exacerbated by delusions of my own ‘superior’ hand-eye coordination – I found that I settled right back into old habits, and I was also pleasantly surprised to find that, somewhere way back in a dusty corner of my memories, there was still room for the knowledge of exactly where to ease off the gas to successfully navigate the trickiest hairpin turn on the third track of F-Zero. How’s that for total recall?
Granted, these days there a few titles that genuinely appeal to me and I’ll certainly be giving them the time and attention that they deserve. However, for any gamer anxiously looking for the next triple-A title to challenge them, and to offer a genuinely fun gaming experience, I’d wholeheartedly recommend digging out that old 16-bit console, giving your old cartridges a quick blow to clear the sensitive connectors of dust, and settle in for some real video gaming. Developers these days should spare these classic titles that helped shape the ‘future’ of today’s games a backwards glance from time to time, instead of perpetually looking forwards.