The summer before my senior year of high school, when I was still a wide-eyed Australian girl, I fell in love with a greaser who would one day go on to allegedly get frisky with masseuses. Like all summer loves, it wasn’t meant to last. We had a fling and went our separate ways. I certainly did not become a black-lycra wearing smoker during any sort of carnival. Alas, this reminded me of the games in my life I’ve had a similar relationship with. I played them, I loved them in their own way, and then I let them go. Sure, I think about them from time to time, but these are the games I will never pick up again.
The Repeat Summer Fling
Like the guy or girl who lives just across the lake, the Prince of Persia series is my repeat fling. Every release is like another summer where the object of my affections has grown up a little bit. Maybe one year he is happy go lucky while another year finds him smoldering with generic rage. Still, I pick up every game, play til the end, thoroughly enjoying myself, then place the game onto my shelf and await the next release. I await my next meeting with the prince, but I don’t think I’ll be revisiting any of our past indiscretions.
Once in a Lifetime
This one actually has a bit of a sad story attached to it. While I played the original when it was first released and have since downloaded a copy from the PSN store, Suikoden II was one game I have only played through once and will never play again. It was recommended by my boyfriend at the time that I pick up the game as he claimed was one of the single greatest RPG experiences he had ever had. I was sold when I saw a video of a main character’s death which, even out of context, was affecting. I didn’t actually have a chance to play the game until after we broke up and I think me playing the game was to find a sense of closure. I loved the game and it easily broke into my top ten games of all time. However, unlike the other games on that list, I have only played Suikoden II once and will most likely never play it again. It marks a very specific point in my life, one I am not keen to revisit.
I’m Not Telling My Friends at School
Did you know there was a time when video games cast real actors to pop up during live action cut-scenes and help the storyline progress? Some games even did away with the “game” part and just threw together some mildly interactive videos that you navigated through with the push of a directional button. One such game was Fox Hunt for the original Playstation. This was a rental that for some reason absorbed an entire weekend. The acting was terrible, the storyline a convoluted spy tale, and gameplay more trial and error than skill, and I loved it. Rob Lowe even shows up! Yeah, it wasn’t my proudest moment and the bad far outweighs the good, but I still look for it when I’m browsing retro game stores. Not that I would buy it, but it’s still nice to know it’s out there.
The Townie Rebound
There are times when you suffer heartbreak right before summer and the only thing you want is to forget about the one who broke your heart. In this case, my heart was broken by the poor game selection of the Nintendo 64 which lead to the summer of WCW vs. nWo: World Tour. Now let me be clear, I know nothing about wrestling, I don’t know what actually constitutes winning a match/round/inning but damn that game was fun. You could play as this black ninja and spin kick dudes out of the ring then bash them with chairs. Was this a healthy outlet? Not really, but it helped me deal with the pain the N64 had caused me and allowed me to prepare myself for the impending release of Ocarina of Time. I don’t return to my Nintendo 64 that often, but I know that the wrestling genre has moved on to other consoles. Maybe I should look it up this summer…maybe not.
The One That Got Away
Unlike the other games on this list, the game that got away is one I only had a brief, fleeting encounter with before it was gone forever. In 1995 I rented a Super Nintendo game called EarthBound. It was right at the end of summer so I ended up neglecting the rental for time spent with my friends. There it sat, waiting for me to give it a moment of my time, a moment I simply refused to spare. The game went back to the store and I forgot about it for years. That is until the little RPG that could became a cult classic, with copies now selling for well over a hundred dollars online. Sometimes I see EarthBound pop up in other games like Smash Bros., but we both know we missed our chance together. Sometimes I hope we’ll run into each other one day, when the timing is right. Until then, I hope it’s found happiness with the other gamers who have played it.