Resident Evil 2 is all over the gaming world right now and with good cause. The remake looks utterly brilliant and is smashing it in the reviews. I was also asked by someone if I would be picking up and I had to say no.
Partly because my gaming time is limited and I don’t want to spend it wetting my pants (the main reason for not playing Resident Evil 7: Biohazard) but also because I remember it the first time round. Yes, I’m of that vintage, but this isn’t a ‘games were better back in my day’ thing. It’s about experience.
It’s like the dogs through the window in Resident Evil. I’ll never have the sensation of shock and surprise of the unknown again. I expect the dogs now, I know where they’re coming from and I know when. It would be the same with the Resident Evil 2 remake. I accept that the design is different and the levels changed but I still won’t have that sensation of delving further into the station with Leon or Claire as I did in the 90s.
But what it did do was make me think of any other games that had such an effect on me that I simply refuse to play through them again. Not because I think they’re bad games, far from it in fact, but because I don’t dare sully the memories and experiences I have of them.
The first two are relatively straight forward. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening has been a mainstay in my greatest games of all time list for 25-years now. An amazing story, beautiful twist at the end, absolute pinnacle of top-down Zelda gameplay and in glorious yellowy-green and black screen of the Game Boy.
The next is Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube. Which, to explain why that seems against my opening couple of paragraphs, is because I played it in a time before I had kids and was stronger of stomach. I’ll never forget the switch in gunplay, the fear that only a chainsaw could bring and an utterly insane story. Insanely brilliant. Finished it once, put down the controller and never picked it up again despite multiple remasters being available.
The big one, however, is Journey. I wish I had the words to explain the feeling I had when I made it to the end. I can remember just sitting there on my sofa, PS3 controller in hand trying to process the wave of emotions that had just hit me. I still can’t do it now but it was in that moment, that I knew games were art. They were more than just a fad, or something for kids, or a medium to be looked down on.
Journey affected me as much as my favourite song; it drew out emotions like the greatest cinema. It, to me, announced that gaming was more than pictures on a screen.
I would say it was my gaming epiphany.
Dad, Gent, Geek. Occasional grumpy old man. Console Peasant. Should know better.