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Gaming Nostalgia: N64

This past weekend I had some close friends over to the house for some time affectionately known as, “Nerding.” It’s basically the same as when other folks get together with friends and play cards, or go out for lunch/coffee. Only in our case, the socialization revolves around the old nerd stalwarts of Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering. It’s something we don’t get to do very much anymore, but when an opportunity arises we tap that card like the Instant it is.

As we’re playing Magic around my dinner table (I was totally spanking them with my Goblin deck…well, at least first game), the conversation shifted to video games and then to Nintendo 64. We started talking about all our old favorite titles, Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, and of course the granddaddy of all console shooter: GoldenEye. All we could talk about then were our past accolades  in the game. How unbeatable we were, “I have all the cheats unlocked,” “Well I won a ‘You Only Live Twice’ with nothing but a slapper,” on and on. It seemed all of us were making claim to being the king of 64-bit, double-0 supremacy.

Only one way to solve it. I went out to my garage where I keep all of my old gaming consoles. Where most guys have bins/totes storing various tools, work supplies/hardware, and such; my shelves are filled with totes which store the relics of gaming days past. I grabbed my N64 one and headed straight to the living room to hook it up. Just before turning it on though, I had to set two ground rules: 1) No one can be Oddjob; 2) I get the red controller and Player 1.

So we fire up the old cartridge expecting greatness. It froze-up and wouldn’t load. Having a level 32 black belt in Nintendo-Fu (not to be confused with Shaq-Fu), I took hold of the situation by executing the one thing that every single gamer from the 80’s and 90’s knew how to do. I blew in the cartridge. Expectations of greatness achieved.

When the game loaded up, we all realized that we were idiot children when it came to this game now. Gone was the muscle memory that made PP7 headshots second-nature. Gone were the amazing graphics with the life-like faces we remembered  Instead we ran around the map trying to discern who was who. Basically shooting anything that moves. That’s not to say we didn’t have fun though.

Ka-BOOM! Right in the polygons.

See, playing that game again not only made us remember the great time that we had upon first playing it, but it also let us relive some of it. We were presented with the new challenges that come with any new game: Learning controls, memorizing maps, finding the best strategic locations. It was old and new at the same time.

We continued playing GoldenEye for about an hour before moving on to a few other games including WWF: No Mercy (where in a Royal Rumble I was pulled out of the ring to take the be L…I was robbed I tells ya!). All of the games we played sparked that same feel that GoldenEye did. Most importantly, we found these games that we never really thought about anymore outside of off-handed references to be just as fun as they used to be.

After everyone went home, I cleaned up the Magic cards, and D-20s. But the N64 earned its place back into my heart and my entertainment center.

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Joel Polkinghorne
Joel spends his days sorting through the latest gaming news from around the interwebs. He has been involved in gaming his entire life and professionally involved with web media since 2001. Joel lives in Michigan, USA with his wife and son. Follow him on Twitter @sBj.
Joel Polkinghorne

Latest posts by Joel Polkinghorne (see all)

Joel Polkinghorne About Joel Polkinghorne

Joel spends his days sorting through the latest gaming news from around the interwebs. He has been involved in gaming his entire life and professionally involved with web media since 2001. Joel lives in Michigan, USA with his wife and son. Follow him on Twitter @sBj.

Comments

  1. Aww man, you said the magic words…Rogue Squadron. One of my favorite games of all time.

  2. Ah, the GoldenEye. I always loved the map we called The Room, with Proximity Mines. It was hours of spank after spank – whoever controlled The Room controlled the game. Anybody else coming into the room was subject to a string of no less than 3 instant death/spawn/deaths.

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