Game Nostalgia

by on Aug.15, 2010, under Gaming

Wet-Dry World Star 6 - Race through downtownRecently, I’ve been working on the ConFuzzled Registration System. I’ve been wanting to have a go at developing a replacement for the existing system (which we borrowed off Eurofurence’s) since last year and only once I really got in to the project did I really see how much work was involved in making a full web application of that size with such mission critical demands.

It has however been rather good in that its made me look again at PHP, CSS, HTML and JavaScript and coding on something other than Windows and the .Net framework certainly allows me to appreciate it a little more.

Its also helped me value the act of taking a breaks, both mentally to clear my head when I get frustrated and physically to help prevent my hands locking up with RSI. The latter I’ve tackled by using a nice little program called WorkRave that tells be both how long I’ve been using the system and prompts me to take short and longer breaks throughout that day (or night).

The former I’ve dealt with by getting a copy of Project64 and an old copy of a Super Mario 64 ROM I found from the files I recovered from my old P: drive. Getting hold of a cheap Xbox 360 Wireless Controller Receiver for Windows from eBay meant I had proper analogue control too.

Press Start to Play!

For me, Mario 64 is a special game for me as it was the first current generation home console game I ever owned and played. Before that I had a Game Boy Pocket, but unlike most of my peers I never grew up playing on the NES, SNES, Master System or Mega Drive*. A few years prior we had been given a NES, but it had only Mario 2 and that was well in to the time when the SNES was in its final years.

The level of exploration and wonder I got every time we (myself and my brother) entered a new level or unlocked a new part of the castle was something that is very hard to replicate. I remember that when we first defeated Bowser, it came as a complete shock to us that we hadn’t just beaten the game and that was only the first quarter.

Every new adventure or story based game I play offers a little taste of that feeling again but very few offer the same amazement level that came with the first full 3D Mario title and its something I’ve been hunting for ever since. Even Super Mario Galaxy 2, a worth successor in terms of game play to Mario 64, is good because of the fluidity and refinement of the controls, not its exploration and the hunting of secrets.

Revisiting Mario 64 now, where every level layout is known and every Star a quick look up on GameFAQs if its being a little difficult, is more like a visit to place you grew up in and slipping in to a comfy old pair of shoes. Controlling Mario, like riding a bike, isn’t something you forget and the little moments like catching the bunny in the basement or riding a secret slide still make me smile.

The vastness of unexplored virtual worlds is what brings me back to titles more than anything else and I think once the Registration System is done, I’ll need to go plant a flag and see what exactly is at the end of Galaxy 2.

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1 comment for this entry:
  1. JezMM

    (For context in my comment for other readers, I am the mentioned brother).

    I remember all these things too. Q_Q Other assorted memories include Mum having to defeat King Bob-Omb for us because she knew how to do it from testing the N64, and you getting ill from me using the Mario camera because I found it cool (I don’t still), the first time you did the red coins on Lethal Lava Land we had to leave and the N64 got turned off as Mario jumped out the painting and you were about to save. I’m still annoyed about that a bit. Also the way our 120 star file was missing Mario’s hat for the longest time, and when we finally got all 120 stars I was due to go to a friend’s house and was terrified that the reward of Yoshi would be a one-time opportunity and we’d have to do it all again for me to see it.

    Nowadays Mario 64 is still my favourite game, and I play it pretty frequently (just the other day in fact), so I envy your ability to feel all this “magic” all over again. I still have the memories of course, but not the reliving of them, quite. Also I feel the need to be nerdy and call the fact that your chosen screenshot is Star 6 of Wet Dry World, though I bow in defeat that I do not remember the exact name of the star. 8D

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