I don’t know about you, friends, but my brain has been ticking. A billion ideas and questions have been popping into my head. Unfortunately, I feel the need to inflict them onto the rest of GamEir. My current musings are centred around nostalgia. I’m also a sucker for alliteration. So let me present to you GamEir’s November Nostalgia. I’d also like to thank Graham, Lewis and Niall for joining me on this adventure! You guys are pretty okay, for a bunch of weirdos.
Jade’s Nostalgia Game
Although I’ve been gaming on and off since I was a little kid, I didn’t actually own my own gaming platform till 2007. I was 10 at the time. My mammy bought my a pink Nintendo DS Lite and two games to go with it. Nintendogs: Dalmatians and Friends and Pokémon Diamond. Nintendogs lost its charm for me after I let my cousin borrow it and she gave my first dog away. She tried to cover it up by getting another Dalmatian that looked nothing like my original one. RIP Pippy, you were a good virtual dog. But I still have my original copy of Pokémon Diamond.
When I was 10, I had a bed time of around 9pm. But I didn’t really listen, which my mam knew well. She never enforced it too hard, because I stayed on top of all my homework and did well in school. Every night consisted of two things for me. I would Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with my grandad at 10pm. And afterwards, I’d hide under my bed covers to play Pokémon. I thought I was so clever, getting away with all of this. In truth, mammy didn’t mind, because I was happy. Thinking back on all of this makes me smile, but also brings a tear to my eye. That’s why I chose it for my nostalgia moment. It was a simple routine, in a simple time. Sometimes I’d even play Pokémon while Grandad and I were watching TV. Only on the ad breaks though.
Those memories are why to this day, Pokémon still holds a special place in my heart. Even now, as an adult, I find myself curling up under the covers to play. The only difference is now, I usually go on rambles to mammy about the different aspects of the game.
Graham’s Nostalgia Game
When I think back to the games that I have nostalgic thoughts about most go to Final Fantasy VII. However, that is simply too vanilla. I’d like to try and stretch my wings and go for something a little more off the beaten track. This is where I come to Tombi! (or Tomba! If you’re everywhere else). Tombi! Is one of those bizarre games. It has bizarre gameplay within an even more bizarre world filled with bonkers characters.
I remember going to my local Xtra-vision and getting to rent out this game. I was a young lad and had only recently gotten my PlayStation. So, when I played it I couldn’t believe the ridiculous nature barely contained within this 2D platformer. After a two-day renting period (I was only nine at the time) I was hooked. I needed desperately to finish this game. I needed to save this realm from the seven evil pigs and their nefarious schemes. Honestly, it was a simple premise. Seven evil pigs take over a land and warp it and its inhabitants for pleasure. I loved it, mainly due to its eccentric graphical style and the electric oddball characters I interacted with.
As a kid with little pocket money, it took several returns to Xtra-vision to finally finish it. It was a wonderful experience and one I come back to in my elder years as I bought the game on the digital store. There would be a sequel years later but the less spoken about that game the better.
Lewis’s Nostalgia Game
Nostalgia comes in many forms. For some it’s the glow and low hum of a large CRT TV as they played Adventure or Space Invaders on their Atari 2600. For others, it’s the audio hotpot of ingredients that include arcade cabinets attract modes, multiple conversations of patrons in the arcade and click of buttons as games are played with each 50p.
The 1980s are nostalgic. It’s been forty two years since the birth of the 80’s, so it fits the bill these days. But the 80’s was also nostalgic twenty years ago too. In 2002 to be exact and the year in reference to said nostalgia being 1986.
“Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” was a planned DLC turned sequel to Rockstar Games smash hit “Grand Theft Auto III”. This time, taking place in the fictional city of Vice City, based on real life’s Miami, Florida. Vice City follows Tommy Vercetti as he finishes a fifteen year prison sentence for the Forrelli Family and is instantly sent down South to expand their criminal empire. The player guides Tommy through a drug deal gone wrong, all the way up the criminal ladder becoming the Kingpin of Vice City, rubbing shoulders with politicians, celebrities and other local gang leaders along the way.
The then new and fresh GTA blueprint is expanded on in this game. While it can be hard to play these days with muscle memory from the standard optimized controls, the game is still a joy to play and enjoy.
Vice City introduced so many new and fun mechanics while improving on others. “Bro, you can drive bikes in this one!!” Was a taking point in school leading up to release. Rockstar Games knew this too, using one of the five screenshot spaces on the back of the box to showcase Tommy on a PCJ-600 motorbike. A cast of amazing actors fill the roles of our characters, including the first ever voiced GTA protagonist voiced by the late Ray Liotta. And while the cast is great, the stand out feature of this game and the main reasoning behind my nostalgia is the soundtrack. Vice City has hands down the best soundtrack of all time. A mixture of all time greatest hits, one hit wonders, pop, rock, synth and more.
The soundtrack to Vice City always brings me back to being 12 years old, discovering this new genre and era of music, buying physical CD’s of the soundtracks of each in-game radio station (I still have them today!) and blossoming a love of favorite 80s pop and synthwave music.
Celebrating 20 years since its release in October, Vice City is now older than the amount of years set between the date VC is set during and the games release date.
This is my second all time favourite game ever. The colours, sounds, people, vehicles, secrets and Easter eggs are forever engraved into my memory and never grow stale.
I have nostalgia for the 80’s, which is strange seeing as I was born in the 90s. The music of Vice City is the reason behind it.
Niall’s Nostalgia Game
Oh nostalgia. Perhaps the dirtiest word that isn’t technically a slur or cuss. A concept usually weaponised against modern consumers, not really related to what the good times were like, more about how you incorrectly remember them. That said, once you’ve been a gaming enthusiast for long enough you too will eventually feel the pangs of damnable nostalgia for games that influenced you, moved you, games with aspects that are all but extinct from the modern gaming environment. Yes, nostalgia may be a filthy thing but when have we at GamEir ever shied away from being dirty little piggies?
My own choice would have to be my formative introduction to Super Mario 64. I came to this incredibly influential title quite late, around midway into the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox era, my older brother having borrowed a Nintendo 64 from our neighbour. I had become accustomed to the sloppier Playstation platformers so to play a title with such incredible precision, responsiveness and sense of joy at the simple act of movement was a revelation. The gardens of Peach’s Castle are the ultimate tutorial area, you could spend half an hour before even entering the hallowed halls just jumping around, swimming, climbing trees: in a way it captured the joy of childhood exploration albeit in the form of a middle-aged Italian man somersaulting.
This joy would extend to the levels themselves. Finding out you can enter an ancient pyramid, ride a flying boat across a rainbow, meet the Loch Ness monster – the game never ceases to surprise. Amazing gimmicks such as affecting the water height of a world, secret levels hidden in walls and the tiny and huge variations of uh, Tiny-Huge Island are so playful and brilliant that it’s unbelievable to think how brilliantly they nailed the 3D platformer formula on the first go.
Replaying this on its Switch rerelease highlighted both how it has aged quite gracefully but also how much can still be learned from it. The sublime Mario Odyssey was a great spiritual successor, one I hope receives a follow up sooner than later. 64 changed my perception of what a game could be and it’s the hunt to feel that again that keeps me playing.
A Final Note
We’re coming into a season where we all feel a little more down. Be it the pressures of the outside world, or the lack of snow, ‘tis the season. So, tell us about your own favourite memories. Let us know on our social media pages, or comment down below and tell us. But most importantly, please be kind to yourself. Don’t forget to eat, and to hydrate. You’re killing it out there. Thank you for reading about us weirdos.