Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow yesterday, I started thinking
- in many ways, the movie was analogous to what many gamers who grew up
on games are missing these days. They're missing the same sort of feel
that made their games fun, that started them enjoying gaming, that made
them go "ooh" at the screen.
It was added
to when I sat down with a couple of friends, X-Arcade joysticks at the
ready, and we started playing Street Fighter III: Third Strike. We were
enjoying it. Our characters had four moves and one super move each, but
that didn't matter. There weren't endless modes of play, but that didn't
matter either. We were having fun, enjoying a game that had simple rules
but was hard to master, and improving against each other as we learned
the timing and abilities of the game and the characters better. I was
reminded of times playing the original Street Fighter II (sort of
skipped Street Fighter, as the series didn't get good until II), when
"super" moves didn't exist, but still enjoying the heck out of it.
So I started looking back at my library - I've
got a lot of titles like that, and a lot of titles that don't live up to
the hype. Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike may be cool, but in terms of
fun factor it can't hold a candle to the old arcade Star Wars, or its
Atari 2600 port. Viewtiful Joe is nice, but suffers from the
prototypical "tons of extras that you have to play through the game 500
times to open up" problem. Marvel VS Capcom 2 is good, but some days I
wish there was a REAL port of X-Men VS Street Fighter available to me
for posterity's sake. Games that grow off of their earlier incarnations,
like the Legacy of Kain series, I love. Games that let me down, like
Mortal Kombat 3, I hated. F-Zero GX is good but doesn't hold a candle to
F-Zero X - and F-Zero X is different enough from the original F-Zero as
to make comparisons impossible. I still have a copy of Einhander. I own
Myst for the PSX because I got it cheap, and wanted to have a copy that
I could guarantee would run if Microsoft ever broke the old DOS and
Win98 compatibilities completely.
I loaded up
and started playing One Must Fall:2097 (now available as freeware
download here or
Games). What a rush. I'd forgotten how cool that game was, and with
only two action buttons for a fighting game. I loaded up Crimson Skies
for Xbox, which I've always felt - good though it is - is inferior in
some ways to the first PC title, focused more on midair MechAssault
style combat than true aerial maneuvering. Then I said screw it, and
grabbed my joystick and reloaded the original Crimson Skies for some
fun. Got to love that obstacle course through Hollywood. I enjoyed those
games that were relatively simple, games that required one or two
buttons to play but were still hard as heck, and good for hours of fun.
Sky Captain was like that. There was a
simplicity in it - some movie reviewers panned it as a "dull" plot, but
it wasn't dull at all, it was appropriate for the movie. The movie
effects were well-done, visuals made to "feel" like old film, that warm
glow of cellulose that you don't really have watching digitally recorded
Star Wars but do have watching Episode IV: A New Hope.
I still have a working NES with the original
Super Mario Bros cartridges. It's good to go back through old titles,
good to enjoy old things. I own a DVD copy of
The Court Jester
(starring Danny Kaye, the only man ever to make Bing Crosby crack a
smile on camera), and a copy of
The Princess Bride,
for the same reason. I have a neverending tendency to keep reading
books, especially old books I can get from stores like Half-Price Books,
for the same reason as well.
Every once in a while, it's important to look
back. It's important to enjoy the old, not for any reason involving
appreciating the new, but simply for the sake of what is old. And then
you bring forward what's really, really good about them and make
something new. When it fails to live up to the legacy, like Episode I,
we mourn. When it manages to do so, as with Sky Captain, we are
Regular gaming talk will resume next week, I
promise. :) Just had to get that off my chest.
Got Comments? Send 'em to
Michael (at) Glideunderground.com!
Alternatively, post 'em right here for everyone to see!