With Steam’s Summer sale going on right now, many gamers are revisiting classic PC games such as KOTOR and the original Half Life, myself included. As I am carving my way through KOTOR’s lengthy campaign for the third time since my original experience with the game in 2003, I find myself asking a question: What is it about certain games that allows them to stand the test of time? While the answer might not be precisely the same according to who you ask, I think most gamers can agree on some basic criteria. Some games just have that certain “Umph!” that allows them to become a legend in the hearts of gamers everywhere, while others simply fade away into distant memory shortly after making their debut. Why?
What is it about Zelda Ocarina of Time (which has been kickin’ since 1998, mind you) that makes it into one of the most anticipated 3DS games of the year, and even makes a hand-held naysayer such as myself want to go out and buy it? Why is Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for the N64 the only game I’ve beaten more times than I can remember? If it were up to me, I’d say that a game’s story is the most important element of all, but I think you would agree that there is more to it than that. The game also has to have an addictively fun formula, otherwise the story would count for nothing. Even modern games have a hard time breaking away from the basic genres and formulas that were established during the glory days of N64, Sega Genesis and others. It’s those addicting game mechanics and memorable stories which allow us to look past the dated graphics and lack of autosaves in order to enjoy a truly great game no matter how much time seems to have passed.
But there is still something else to it isn’t there? That warm cozy feeling that could be compared to coming home after a long journey. It’s that nostalgic sense of immersion that we feel as our gaming controllers magically transform us into the wide eyed children we once were; claiming to be sick in order to stay at home from school and game all day long in the comfort of our cozy household and a bundle of warm blankets. It feels almost like symmetry. A sort of comforting rhythm which encapsulates the human experience. Something that only my fellow gamers can truly understand.
Whatever it is about your favorite games of old that makes them truly special, I believe we can all agree on one thing: that they were great. If you’re a PC gamer, Steam truly is offering a number of great deals on classic games right now. I downloaded KOTOR for just three dollars! So why not revisit a classic game this weekend and relive your favorite gaming memories? Perhaps you could even find a great title you missed out on in your youth. Afterwards, I welcome you to share your own thoughts about what made the experience special for you by posting a comment bellow. Just remember to save!