There was a time in my youth that I remember only a handful of games that every kid had to have. Super Mario, Mario Kart, GoldenEye, Super Smash Bros, Unreal Tournament, Starcraft, Counter-Strike… Of course there were many other great games in the 90s and early 2000s, but there weren’t many that were ubiquitous among the community. You didn’t even have to be that good at all of these games, but you knew that somewhere during your weekend gaming hang-outs, one of these games would come up and you would spend the next few hours of raging and mocking over these games.
But it also seems like there aren’t that many of these kinds of ubiquitous games around today. We have our Call of Duty annual wintertime jam, Super Smash Bros groups, League of Legend crews, World of Warcraft guildies, but these games being largely ubiquitous isn’t a given anymore.
The Wii U version of Super Smash Bros was fine. If you’ve played any other version of Smash Bros’s Free-For-All, than you know exactly what to expect. On a side note, Wii-Fit Trainer is pretty strong.
The 3DS Version of the game, however, was a mixed bag. There were two kinds of stations, the Free-For-All station and the Smash-Run Station. I opted for the Smash-Run station to try my hand at something different… (SO MUCH WAITING) After each demo ran for about 6 minutes, with 3 people in line per station, and what you get is a timed labyrinth with enemies akin to those found in Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros Brawl where you collected stat-increases to help you fight in a Free-For-All against the CPU after the labryinth section was complete. It helped that I picked a fast character so I can at least have mobility on my side and explore the maze as much as I could in the 5 minutes alloted, but with a slow character this game mode feels opposite the pace of what Smash Bros is used to. Multiplayer smash bros is a game of high-intensity, fluid, frantic, fun but this game mode is anything but that. I don’t want to say it’s as bad as how Sonic turned itself into, because they made A LOT of strange design changes to get that to happen. But, Smash-Run is definitely not as enjoyable as the FFA modes because the mechanics of the characters aren’t designed for exploring and traversing, but for combat with a character in front of you. Guilty Gear tried designing the same explore+beat-em-up in GG:Isuka and that mode was pretty garbage as well, but they also understood that exploration was going to be slow and limited. We’ll have to see when the game gets dropped later in October 2014.
A funny thing happens when I walk by an arcade. My neck cranes, scanning the room and if I gaze on a series of the flashing arrows scrolling up a screen my eyes lock onto the machine and my body tries to move towards the machine on instinct. The feeling intensifies if the machine happens to be part of the few generations that had the best track list, but regardless of the version there is always an urge and a rush of the good brain chemicals that get me feeling excited and anxious to hop on the machine and give it another round for old times sake. The machine, if you hadn’t guessed was a DDR machine. If you talked to 13-year-old me and told him that I’d be working at a place where there were several DDR machines in the area with easy access to, he’d be ecstatic because what 13-year-old me thought was that I’d be a fan of the series for life. Maybe that was immature thinking, but the more places that I pass where there’s a DDR machine there or the disappointment that I find when there isn’t when I’d thought there would be, the more I believe I had it right back then, though my reasoning was wrong for it.
You can call it nostalgia or not being able to let go of past experiences, but there are many groups among the community that live with their game of choice and have become “Forever Fans” of their game.