As we head into another extended phase of social distancing and public lockdowns, many of us often look to old passions such as video games to settle old scores with our erstwhile younger self and at the same time, to seek the old adrenaline rush that would keep us awake many nights, mess up study hours, and occasionally be a point of contention between our parents.
Just as many of us turned to old books and magazines gathering dust during this pandemic, old passions are set alight as we get our game mode on and play the "old school" games that were instrumental when we were all coming of age. In an age of where technology was still progressing with new breakthroughs in graphics and storytelling, we came across games, mostly on our first computer, introducing us to a favourite pastime and for many, a general passion moulding them in becoming the avid gamers they are today. Games like Aladdin, Lion King, Road Rash, the initial NFS series, Virtua Cop, Tetris, and others often frolic in our mind when thinking about the old days of playing video games.
A long summer
Mikhael, a medical student says, "I recently found my love of old school video games right after the lockdown as I wanted to get into playing Age of Empires II and Civilization IV." Mikhael stopped playing games during his tenacious MBBS degree course.
Strategy games are often seen as a recluse from the highflying action arcade games many of us grew up playing and allow the player to use the mind in the use of the game. The controlling strategy and the course of action is what Mikhael likes the best of the yesteryear strategy games. Moreover, this virtual world, he feels is more near to the current world we are living in where just like in the games he is playing, a potential danger threat looms large in both worlds. With everything in lockdown and university life still on hold, he does not mind racking his brainboxes to guard his empires and build new ones on the bones of the previous ones. While both of these games are more than a decade and a half old, they still hold sway for many fans seeing them as an instrument of going back to the old times.
Just like strategy games have been on the comeback, many fans also have a strong inclination towards "House of the Dead" and "Road Rash" has a sizeable following amongst many of us.
Sanjana, a graduate, remembers the most enjoyable game of her childhood being House of the Dead with its gory detail and horror theme gameplay, which she found both exhilarating and frightening when growing up. With the work pressure gradually less and everything being conducted from home, she says, "I am not a tech-savvy person or not a gamer at all. But when my nephew told me he had downloaded some old games and I spotted House of the Dead, I immediately got hooked and started playing it".
House of the Dead alongside with Virtua Cop, are first-person shooter games which came in downloaded with our first PCs, making the memory of playing them after a long time a truly nostalgic moment. Nothing better than to shoot zombies and criminals and just for the fun of it, the annoying civilians. The guilt would be something to die for in those days.
The Sims recently completed its twentieth year anniversary this year. The Sims has been largely associated with many of us growing up with guiling life simulation gameplay enabling the player to do as he or she fits. For many gamers who like play without a centralized plot, this game goes a long way for them. With the availability of varied options on the net as well as mediums of technology, the Sims can be played with relish on the phone as well as on the desktop making it one of the most enjoyable yesteryear games.
Reconnecting with old memories
Samin Khan, a corporate worker, has always been a fan of racing games and with a busy schedule; he could not enjoy the precious family time with his young 6-year-old son. With Ramadan and quarantine taking place simultaneously, he gets to play the old NFS games with his young son after Iftar and before Sehri channelling him through the old memories that he was closely associated with growing up.
"My favourite NFS games were Most Wanted and Underground 2 and it feels great to have my son sitting on my lap playing the NFS series from the oldest to the new", remarked Samin on the road down the memory lanes embedded in the world of virtual street racing.
Pokémon games have been a fan favourite for many of us and have been a major yardstick when it comes to role-playing games. With the help of emulators, players can play the games which kick-started the Pokémon fandom in the first place with games such as Pokémon Yellow, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald on their fingertips. Nothing to fire up the inner child inside you than to have fiery gym battles and to have become the Pokémon Master Ash Ketchum waited 23 years to become.
As the crisis of the pandemic rages on, many of us cooped up in our own rooms have plenty to explore including our childhood favorite games that are easily available to us than before. At times, taking a trip down vicariously in the virtual world is one way of eking out nostalgic memories and many moments of ease.
Note: Special shoutout to Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, the coin hungry game of kids from the late 90's. A side scrolling game based on the comic book Xenozoic Tales. Four adventurers who battle boss after boss after boss while spending many a 2 Taka note. Now you can play the ported version of it on your phone.