When I was growing up, there was always a game where my friends and I would go back to with regularity for years. Finding a game like that is special, everyone knew the ins and outs and had played it to death, but still found ways to surprise and engage ourselves time after time. Back in the day, we competed mainly for bragging rights (and fun, of course). Since everything is online now, kill/death ratios and other statistics are readily available to show off. It’s made things even more competitive, albeit a bit less social at times (it’s too bad so few games have split screen these days).
The first game my buddies and I would play multiple times a week for a long damn time was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the original Playstation. The game had about 15 songs, and I could still probably recite most of them 13 years later. Cheats and easter eggs upped the games’ replayability; but it was the core gameplay that kept us coming back for more. Such fluidity and so many possibilities. I was the first of my friends to get over a million points in a 2 minute run, on the level The Hanger, still one of my proudest gaming achievements.
There’s a relatively new bar in Hadley, Massachusetts called The Quarters. They have a couple dozen arcade games; mainly from the 80’s, and occasionally hook up an N64 to a projection screen for some Super Smash Brothers and Mario Kart action. The bar’s been packed nearly every night I’ve been there, and nearly all the machines are being played. Asteroids, Ms. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, The Simpsons, 1943… true arcade classics. People love the nostalgia, but also crave the experiences that never got old. It’s become a tradition, playing it in an authentic booth after inserting quarters is the equivalent to watching an old classic film in a theater. I wish I’d had the idea.
Video games have now gotten a point where there are many full grown adults who have played games their entire lives. That’s part of the reason why you are seeing so many remakes, re-releases, compilations and HD remasters now; people want to relive the great times they had when they were younger, to reignite an old tradition. Classic albums, movies and TV shows get re released; it’s cool to see the enthusiasm and desire for old school games to get the same treatment.