|Let's take a trip down memory lane and reminisce on one of the all-time great games. Remember that late 80's early 90's beauty called California Games? It was originally released in 1987 by Epyx games for the Apple II and Commodore 64 systems but became mainstream and massively popular with it's release on the original Nintendo system. If you played NES at all in the early 90's, chances are you spent time conquering the six "California" games: Surfing, halfpipe, BMX, roller skating, flying disc and "freestyle footbag" a.k.a. hacky sack.
Ah, those were the golden days of video games. You would run through all 6 competitions and then the score at the end was always just what you needed to start all over again, swearing not to wipeout on the surfboard this time. Remember how hard it was to get the angle of that surfboard just right? It was so frustrating, but then, after one too many wipeouts the shark would pop up and the theme from Jaws would play and it would all be worth it. Besides, you'll make the points up on the BMX course, right?
Out of of all those sports, rollerskating seemed like the easiest but was really the hardest of them all. Trying to get all the way to the end before you fell four times was down right nerve wracking. The tiniest crack in the sidewalk or the smallest grain of sand and you're on your face. And what was with the giant stretch of sand at the end that you couldn't get past no matter how far you jumped or how slow you moved? That is just good game design right there. It made you want to see what was on the other side so bad that you would try again and again even though you knew you were going to fall in the sand.
The hacky sack was always a crowd-pleaser. Siblings taking turns would argue about who got to sack. There were so many sweet tricks that little hippie could do, made all the more amazing by the fact that the graphics only allowed for a 90 degree bend of the knee straight out to the side and a stiff jump up for a header. There has been very little in any game since that compares to the satisfaction of doing an Axle Foley to a Jester to the super secret hidden trick, the Squinty O'Toole and racking up those bonus points. If you were smart and had awesome timing you would even hit the seagull that flew by for extra points and a good laugh.
Games today are not simple joys like that anymore. They can't be, they are far too complex. That's not to say that new games aren't fun and amazing, it's just different. All we can do is not forget about the golden oldies, those games of yesteryear that made us smile. That, or just go play it on an emulator!