Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Someone Else's Nostalgia

This is going to sound weird, but despite being very much into video gaming since the early 80s, this is a partial list of gaming franchises that don't have a special place in my heart:

-God of War
-Mario games
-Zelda games
-Final Fantasy
-Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat/Tekken
-Metal Gear Solid
-Gears of War
-Gran Turismo

In short, just about anything on a console or handheld prior to 2005.

My gaming history is fairly odd. It started with Pac-Man rip-off Cosmic Cruncher on the Commodore VIC-20 around '82, followed by a C-64 when that came out several years later. I played that at home right up until I bought my first PC gaming rig in 1995, and I was a PC gamer exclusively for the next decade.

The reason I mention all of this in spite of overlap with the previous post is that I made an important discovery the other day. I've listened to a lot of podcasts in the last year (I'm currently subscribed to 6 gaming podcast RSS feeds), and their discussion leans heavily toward console titles. Titles from the above list are discussed with reverence, especially Halo, Mario games, Zelda games and Final Fantasy titles. I've played a lot of games from those serieses (yes, I know that's not a word), and as weird as this sounds, I always felt a small combination of guilt and frustration for not getting the same enjoyment from them that those podcasters and the majority of other gamers do. I don't know precisely why I felt that way, whether it's because of my neurosis about inclusion to the shared experience or because if that many gamers all feel that way then I should too. It finally occurred to me that with so few formative gaming experiences in common with most other gamers, it's entirely understandable not to revere popular console franchises. More important than that, I have no reason to feel bad when I don't.

That's it. I was very proud of myself for figuring out that I had that unnecessary baggage when it came to gaming. When I told a good friend of mine of this discovery, he gave me a confused look and said "why would you do that?" So much for shared epiphany, I suppose.