Welcome to Respawning’s new regular feature, Club Articles! These articles have been created as a way of all us guys getting together every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and generally waffling on about whatever takes our fancy! Today we’re delving back into the root of nostalgia for many people… What’re the best games we’ve gotten in our Christmas stockings as kids, and what gems of the past have we been playing recently?
Back when I was a kid, I always used to get around 5 games in my stocking from my Dad; over the years he got me many, many games that are still in my collection today, but none stuck out more to me than getting Rachet & Clank 2 – Having beaten the first game and relatively liked it, Ratchet & Clank 2 was the entry in the series that really cemented my love for the Lombax furball; the mixture of more open levels, expanded weaponry and brand new gadgets mixed together into a proper refinement of the Ratchet & Clank formula.
In terms of retro games I’ve been playing more of recently, I’ve been playing the retro-inspired Shovel Knight a hell of a lot on my Nintendo Switch – The difficult, precise gameplay and awesome soundtrack really do make this a cult classic, and proves there’s still a market for these types of games… Now I just have to wait for the Mega Man collection on Switch…
Christmas was always a hard sell to my parents (We’re not a Christian family) but I remember begging and pleading them one winter night in 2007 – And I finally got my first game console ever; the PS2. Sure it wasn’t as shiny as a new PS3, but I was overjoyed at the prospect of having a massive library of games to play. The PS3 wasn’t so popular at the time anyway, compared to the Xbox 360 or the Wii.
My PS2 came bundled with a copy of the original God of War… Which was admittedly completely inappropriate for a kid of my age (I was 10 years old at the time) – But as an avid fan of greek mythology, the Percy Jackson books that I read till I was 12, and action-adventure games – It was right up my alley. Of course, I had to immediately beg my parents for a memory card as well (who remembers those?!) – but after that was the best gaming experience that 10-year old me ever had.
As for which older games I’ve been playing recently, I’ve gone back to playing Resident Evil 4 with my flatmate this week. It’s a hell of a time, and it’s fun laughing at how goofy the game can be.
Video games have always found their way into my Christmas stockings, however they’ll never have quite the same level of excitement attached to them as there was as a child. It’s easy as an adult to just go out and buy whatever you want for yourself, but as a kid this kind of stuff was an extra special treat. One such treat I remember very fondly was getting my Gameboy Colour with Pokemon Blue.
Like most kids of my generation I was obsessed with all things Pokemon so to finally get the new game with an all new handheld console in glorious colour (well, about 5 different colours) was an incredible treat. I’ve probably sunk more hours into those early Pokemon games than any other game, they’re just endlessly replayable. I almost forget there was a time when everything in that game was completely new, I didn’t know what Pokemon I’d find in certain areas, new towns and cities were all fresh and new, and the catchy songs had not yet had the opportunity to sear their my way into my brain. The game has remained fun after all these years, but that first play when everything was new will only ever be a fond memory now.
Oh, and my first choice was Bulbusaur. In case you were wondering.