1989 - A fine year indeed. Why do you ask? Well for one it was the year that I was born. Secondly, it is the year that we were blessed with the fun Disney platformer DuckTales. Some of you are thinking "Why in the world would I want to play some silly platformer based on a washed up child's cartoon?". Well for those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have played this game before, look up some gameplay and audio samples from the original title and it will soon become obvious why this is not only one of the most underrated NES classics that put Capcom on the map, but also to this day still a perfect example of the platforming genre at it's best.†
DuckTales has it all. From funny and elaborate characters, to simple yet engaging gameplay, to beautifully designed environments and sprites, and of course a stellar soundtrack. While the Remastered version of the game does a great job of emphasizing many of these high end qualities, the fact remains that even the original title of 1989 still holds its own and embellishes all of these values in it's own subtle ways. DuckTales has had a fairly strong cult following for many years, and even those who were not so fond of the TV show can still recite the darn title by heart (Life is like a hurricane, here in, Duckburg). There's something about the game that just oozes with charisma, and draws out the inner child in even the most veteran gamers.†
While Capcom has had it's fair share of blunders over the past decade, nobody can take away it's sheer success with the platforming genre in it's earlier titles. Mega Man is still admired and loved by gamers everywhere. Ghost N' Ghouls (Goblins) made many gamers break their controllers in rage...only to go buy a new controller and try again. Capcom really had something special going for them, and no title really shows off that magic quite as well as DuckTales. This wasn't only a smart move on their behalf to revive this classic title, but it was also a move that many gamers have been NEEDING. Much like the impact of Rayman Origins, DuckTales reminds us that games of the current and upcoming generations do not need to rely on pixel perfect graphics and gunplay. As a matter of fact, all that extra effort is often times wasted and ultimately goes unappreciated unless the game is genuinely perceived as fun, engaging and ultimately addicting. AAA games have taken many a hard knock this generation, and I believe that many companies need to actually take a step back and look at all the fundamentals and foundations that help to make for a fun game in the first place. Michael Bay is living proof that having a bigger budget does not amount to creating a timeless classic.†
I encourage all gamers to pop in a classic title (nostalgia or not) and find within yourselves what made that title so darn good? How did it make you feel? What is it about that particular game that no matter how old it gets, it will still be so very special to you? DuckTales reminds me that there are still games out there that can bring out those feelings for me. Games that can really make you appreciate a gaming genre and take you back to a simpler time. Go on, get to it! Me? I've got some treasures to find!