About a week ago (okay six days, WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ME?) I wrote a blog about missing the good old days when gaming was easier. Well not "easier" per se, games could be incredibly difficult back then just as they could now, but playing them didn't put us through so many loops. We didn't have to have friends, or a constant internet connection, or DLC, or friends. We could just play the games we wanted as we wanted. So imagine my delight when I signed onto Xbox Live the other day and I saw Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse.
The original game was released way back in the yesteryear of 1990, a year in which I happened to be just under one year old and some of the younger readers who might happen amongst this blog may remember as the time your parents talk about. When dinosaurs still roamed the earth, gas cost less than a dollar-fifty, and cellphones were approximately the size of bricks. Way back then Blockbuster (kind of like Netflix, ask your parents) would allow you to rent actual gaming consoles as long as you had a valid membership card (Sort of like an online account, ask your parents). Between the ages of three and five, when I first got my SNES, my parents would often let me rent consoles and games, one of the first being Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. For years afterwards I had impressions of this Mickey Mouse game but couldn't remember what in the hell it actually was until a couple of months ago when I heard about the remake. Imagine, half remembering something that had a profound affect on you for the better part of two decades and suddenly discovering it again. This time with improved graphics and a soundtrack by Gregg Kirkhope!
Unfortunately, the Universe attacked. Seeing my glee from immediately purchasing the game the internet went out... and stayed out... for four days. Being unable to complete the download I decided not to be swayed from rediscovering my childhood and set out on an epic four day quest to replay the games I remember as being the best from my childhood. This time, however, I recorded the footage for prosperity.
The results varied.
You see, sometimes I was spot on. I remembered Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island to be spectacular and you know what, nearly twenty years later they still are. Unfortunately, I also remembered things like... Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage and TazMania to be pretty good too. They aren't. Not at all.
How does this all line up with Castle of Illusion? Well, it all goes back to how we remember things from childhood. Most of us have a tendency to pick out the good bits and leave the bad behind. Once my connection got up and running again I was treated with a pretty fantastic remake but it was somehow still empty. The graphics are pretty, the worlds expansive, and Kirkhope's score is an absolute delight but nothing, absolutely nothing will ever recreate that childlike wonder of experiencing the game for the first time. I had similar reactions to The Ocarina of Time and Pokemon. They're both great games, Ocarina will forever be one of my favorite games of all time, but it never feels like the first time anymore.
So I've grown a little. Sure, gaming may be more complicated but that doesn't mean that the next wave of consoles will be any lessened by it that those before them. And sure, there will be plenty of disappointing games but every console has them, that isn't any reason to avoid it. As for the footage I captured, I have every intent of turning them into full fledged fake reviews and launching them on YouTube.
Maybe someone else will be able to discover a lost favorite, as I did with Castle of Illusion.