Games that got away
There are certain games. Games you always wanted to play. But that thing called real life intervened. The funds were never quite available; other priorities came along with a raft of other things that make up life. And in the midst of all that, sometimes without realisation the game got away. The game may come back around, but there are those time when it’s gone forever.
But thanks to services such as GOG (Good Old Games) games that got away are becoming available once again. And with game remasters coming out with some frequency there’s even more games coming back around.
With all that said, here are 3 games that got away from me. I guess I am lucky for the fact that these games a relatively accessible still. There will be people whose game that got away will be a really obscure SNES game and for those people I can only hope they eventually get to play their games.
Shadow of the Colossus
This is the big one. I had a PS2 when Shadow of the Colossus first came out. Upon seeing that cover art I was intrigued. How could I not be? There’s a sense of mystery, a sense of adventure. What is that monster? Where has it come from? What else lies beyond it?
Yet teenage me was enamoured with Tekken (5 or 6, can’t quite remember which) and just kept putting SOTC off. After all, I had infinite time to do things. And then for reasons I can’t remember the PS2 went away, and along with it any chance to place SOTC.
Then when I headed off to University I got another PS2. I fell back into playing Tekken (Tag Tournament this time). In fact I had forgotten all about SOTC. I left the PS2 at University while I took other stuff home first and when I went back to collect it another flatmate had made off with it. Great stuff. It was only afterwards I realised I could’ve yet again played SOTC. I had the means; it just completely slipped my mind.
It’s my entire fault. I had two chances at this, and fluffed one of them through sloth and other with forgetfulness. So I got to read about all the praise of this obviously great and visionary game. I just never played it.
Thank God for remakes then. Although I am tempted to buy a PS2 just to see it in its original form.
Silent Hill 2
In my 14 year old mind (or there abouts) since Resident Evil and Silent Hill both occupied the same genre they were obviously rivals and as such I had to pick one (smooth move there). Resident Evil 2 is a pretty great game though so something good did come of that stupid thought process. But looking back on that decision I missed something truly genre defining with Silent Hill 2.
In retrospect maybe it is better I missed it. 14 year old me liked shooting zombies and other T Virus monstrosities. I honestly think what Silent Hill 2 was going for (and by all accounts achieved) would have been completely missed. Silent Hill 2 is quite possibly one of the first examples of gaming growing up and using all the benefits of player interaction to deal with adult concepts and themes. I probably would have wondered why I couldn’t just shotgun Pyramid Head into submission.
Combine that with the imagery and atmosphere of Silent Hill 2 and it seems to be very possible to construct an argument that in its genre (and perhaps outside of its genre) that Silent Hill 2 has never been bettered.
I really should look into buying another PS2. They are pretty cheap these days. And Silent Hill 2 needs to be played.
Spec Ops: The Line
After the final PS2 disappearance I sat out the PS3/360/Wii generation. So not only did Spec Ops: The Line fly right on by but it also meant Demon Souls, Dark Souls and Okami were nothing but ether to me. I basically had handheld consoles (read: Pokémon) and flash games to keep me company at this stage.
In retrospect Dark Souls is the biggest miss given my adventures in gaming this year (From Software as game developers are beyond incredible) but for the longest time Spec Ops was the figure head of this generation for me. I read about it and was very intrigued by the story. It just felt so different to other games around that time. The lines of text during the loading screens were enticing enough.
The way the game changed as Captain Walker goes more and more insane was something I wanted to see and experience (his dialogue for example would get more rough and angry the further into the game the player got). And again as with Silent Hill 2, we saw a video game tackle subjects that were normally left well alone (the effects of war on people, the fragility of the human mind, how far can a human being go before they are beyond salvation).
But where as once a game would be gone now with GOG and the like, this isn’t a problem anymore. So when I finally get around to getting a good PC (this laptop is really on its way out) I’ll be able to play it. The only bad point is that I know all the story beats by now. Still, it seems to be the sort of game one should experience. It was a milestone in story telling in video games, and deserves respect for that alone.
I am going to be away for two weeks after this. In fact I’ll be in Norway. There probably won’t be any blog updates during this time. So apologies for that and I will see you all later!