Retro Game Challenge is out; have you got your copy yet? (I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s recommended.) I picked mine up last night, whereupon I took it home, played it a little…and decided I’d rather keep going than sleep at all. And I’m a somewhat responsible member of society, so that’s not to be taken lightly; the game really is as good as Parish and Ray have been preaching all this time.
Right from the beginning, RGC delivers beautifully on the promise of recreating a childhood spent in the heyday of the NES and Famicom. Parish has already described how aptly the sub-games resemble products from specific points in the console’s lifespan, but just as notable is the framework from which you access them: lounging on a young boy’s bedroom floor, probably a little too close to the television, your necks crooked painfully upwards. When you need to look up a strategy or a code, you watch yourself crawl over to pluck the desired magazine from his bookshelf. And while playing in the top screen, you can have the text open to any page on the bottom, as if it were splayed across your lap.
[[image:nn_090212_rgc_01.jpg:I always tell Arino the answer I think he wants to hear. The last thing he needs is more sadness in his life.:center:0]]
The boy, Arino, speculates on how school life might benefit from warp zones, and asks your opinion on some of the bogus playground rumors going around (some of which turn out to be true after all). He cheers when you play well, cruelly yawns when you repeatedly screw up, and groans alongside you when a game’s “ending” turns out to be a brief intermission before the inevitable second loop. His mother will occasionally call from the other room, wondering if you kids aren’t spending too much time on that Nintendo.
Sometimes a cartridge won’t work right away, and yes, you’ll be prompted to blow in it.
One unfounded criticism of the recent tide of retro-styled games has been that they can only appeal to those who have pre-existing nostalgia for their source material. At first glance (and to say nothing of the sub-games themselves), RGC might seems to lend that argument credence. But then again, the qualities of the experience it’s meant to depict are emulated so well that it’s just as enticing a historical reenactment as it is a lens for retrospect.