When the thought of a videogame can bring you back to a specific time and place, you can say that it’s been saved to your “Memory Card”. In this column, we take a look at these saved states and the games that take us back.
Ahh, the great outdoors. This month, let’s fast forward from Cub Scouts to my mid-to-late years in Boy Scouts. In my local troop, I had just joined the Venture scouts, a division of the troop for boys aged 14 and up (High school level). As you rise the ranks in scouts, there’s a growing emphasis on community service. So, a service camping trip was organized. Myself and four other guys traveled to Broad Creek, a major scout reservation in our area.
That weekend, we were tasked with doing different manual labors like chopping wood, hauling junk, painting—that sort of thing. Worthwhile to give back to the camp, sure, but not exactly very exciting or adventurous like a typical camping trip. Knowing that we would be sleeping in an Adirondak—a three-walled structure with electricity—we decided to plan ahead for some R&R. It was 1997. While Mario Kart 64 would certainly have brought us several hours of awesomeness, GoldenEye 007 was the new kid on the block. Promising awesome four-player shooter action, we decided to bring the necessary equipment to set up a multiplier session. We divided up the task: Someone brought the TV and VCR combo (necessary since the TV just had a single co-axial input), someone brought the N64 itself, and someone brought a bunch of controllers.
So, after a hard day of work, we set up our equipment and got things started. Of course we had to keep the sound down as to not disrupt the rest of the camp, but we were pretty isolated. Thinking back, it was ridiculous playing four-player split-screen on a 12″ TV. Nowadays, you can’t even do split screens because they’ve either designed around it or pushed you to go online. But somehow, as TVs have gotten bigger, people are more and more turned off by split screens.
At any rate, there were 5 of us, so the loser had to switch off. I think I was the only one who owned the game, so I tended to dominate and eventually volunteered to sit out. I think we also decided to do “No Oddjobs” since he’s too damn short. Playing online with a bunch of people is great, but there’s still no substitution for a great local co-op. GoldenEye brought some much-needed excitement to our service weekend
Ha! I haven’t seen it that way! Our TVs are getting bigger, and it seems we’re hoarding all the available space now!
Many games these days have turned me off for not having split-screen action. Online gaming is great, but not being able to share a game with someone else in the same room feels like we’re going back to being lonely once again.
Granted, I think if a game can pull off local multiplayer without doing split screen (Smash Bros, Little Big Planet, etc.), then that’s great.
But yes, there’s really not much activity on the local multiplayer front. Nintendo still seems to be keeping this alive with many first and second party titles, but doesn’t seem to be happening much elsewhere.
Oh man, on old weekend visitations with my dad, my siblings and I would have countless split screen gaming marathons with him. Almost every weekend for a few hours we would play countless sessions of Mario Kart 64, Goldeneye, Revenge/No Mercy, F-Zero X and The New Tetris. We even played a ton of Cruis ‘n USA, even though it was only 2 player, which was probably for the best because that game had insane slowdown. I hated the racing wheel for n64, somehow my dad mastered it and beat the damn Cruis ‘n USA on N64 with it, and that is even factoring in the absurd rubberband AI with Cruis ‘n USA I have no idea how he did it.
He also got insanely good at Tetris on N64. I believe that was the first console game to have 4 player Tetris, and our family played the heck out of it to accumulate enough lines to unlock all 7 wonders of the world. My dad would be in the zone when playing Tetris and you could not say a word to him. Occasionally I would find some time to play New Tetris and would give myself a pat on the bat for cracking a top 10 scoreboard, until next week I came over at my dad’s and saw he played that mode of the Tetris scoreboard I cracked and played it until he beat my score enough times that he knocked me off the scoreboard all together. He would not be fine seeing my score chilling at #7 of 10 until he knocked it off all together. I still have laughs with him over that until this day.