I’m not sure when it was that I saw a post like this. It’s been sometime in the last few months, I’m certain of that. But I don’t know exactly when and I don’t know whose blog it was. It was a post where the blogger gave a list of 10 video games that they would like to experience all over again for the very first time.
I get that desire. Not just for games, but for movies and TV shows as well. With certain things, there’s just nothing like experiencing it for the first time. I even find myself envious of people who are watching Back to the Future or Star Wars for the first time.
Anyway… I got to thinking about video games I’d want to play as if it was my first time and there are plenty. Most of them would be considered old school… so be prepared for that trip down memory lane. In no particular order…
Super Metroid – 1994 – Super Nintendo
Sure, there had been two entries in this franchise before this one was released. The original is still a classic on the NES and its sequel made the Game Boy worth keeping extra batteries handy. But Super Metroid reset the bar and, for me, became the gold standard of what video games should be. I remember getting my hands on a copy and shoving the cartridge into my SNES. I flipped the power switch and there were the creepy opening scenes… The game started out like a horror movie. The infant metroid was suspended in its container… while all around lay the bodies of dead scientists. Then the game actually begins and I heard, for the first time in my life, a clear voice speaking from a video game: “The last metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace.” But I already saw the title screen… I know that peace is not going to last. New areas to explore, new bosses to defeat, new items to collect… It built on everything that had come before and topped it.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – 1992 – Super Nintendo
Again, this is the third installment of a franchise where the first two entries had been popular on the original NES. Well… the original was popular. I think Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has gained popularity over the years, but it never really did anything for me. It was a complete shift in gameplay compared to the original. Which is why I loved A Link to the Past so much. It took us back to the familiarity of the original Legend of Zelda but with updated graphics, controls, and story. It was such a visually beautiful game. One example being when you take Link into the forest… It’s a sunny day and the sun shines down through the canopy, casting shadows that shift on the ground as the player moves around the screen. Just a great experience over all.
Metal Gear Solid – 1998 – PlayStation
I’m not exactly sure what first attracted me to this game. I remember playing the old school Metal Gear on the NES when I was younger, but I was never any good at it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I hated the game because of its extreme difficulty level. I mean… you had to sneak around and not be seen by the enemy. What’s the fun in that? I’m used to charging in guns blazing… You know, like in Contra. So I really don’t remember why this updated reboot/sequel to the franchise got my attention. But I sure am glad it did. With this new and improved version of Solid Snake, sneaking around and avoiding enemy soldiers really was fun. Watching the story unfold was like watching a movie with a narrative that I could, in part, control. And its direct sequel is the reason I bought the PlayStation 2.
Final Fantasy XII – 2006 – PlayStation 2
I can find something to enjoy about every Final Fantasy game I’ve ever played. Since playing this one, it has always been my favorite. I’m not sure what it is about this installment that causes me to love it so much more than all the others I’ve played. Maybe it’s the open world feel. Maybe it’s the active combat system. Maybe it’s the story and the characters. I don’t know… I just know that I have fun every time I replay it and would love to recapture that feeling of playing it for the first time all over again.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – 1997 – PlayStation
I honestly have no idea where this one falls in relation to the rest of the franchise. I know there were three Castlevania games on the NES and one on the SNES. What draws me so much to this game is the same thing that makes me love Super Metroid. Instead of simply traveling from one end of the screen to the other and facing a boss at each level, you are given the opportunity to fully explore Dracula’s castle. Every section is unique and has its own dangers where you’re able to uncover new abilities and helpful items as the story progresses. And then, just when you think it’s over, the world literally flips upside down and you have to battle back through the castle from the highest tower, which is now the lowest point, to the deepest dungeon at the very top. It is an insane ride and I love every second of it.
I’m gonna leave this with five games. That’s all I’ve got in me for now. Because as I’ve thought about those few games, all I really want to do now is go back and play them again.