A lot of great memories come to my mind when thinking about those magic days. Being a kid, coming home from school, eager to spend time with my dad playing video games. I remember it was a lot of fun. He was also a fan of video games, and we were obsessed with playing and completing difficult ones.
For many reasons I feel nostalgic when thinking about those times, but is good to step from time to time into the past, and relive our childhood memories. And in what better context than our history with video games.
Being fans of challenging games, my dad and me spent a lot of time playing Contra. The best gun and run of all time in my biased opinion. Some of you probably still remember the emblematic Konami code:
Twice Top, twice Bottom, Left, Right, Left, Right B A
But hey, that wasn't our style to be honest 😄 "our mission" was to complete the game by our own merits, that's where fun is after all!
However from time to time, mostly when playing by myself, I would make use of the cheat code just to practice the top levels. Something key in this game, as in many, is memorization. After playing it many times you start to recognize patterns, but in a game where you start with only three lives and get killed by a single bullet or the minimum contact with an enemy you have to keep on your toes to be able to complete it.
I remember playing mostly Contra, Super contra and Contra 3: The Alien wars. Being the original and Contra 3 my favorite ones. Contra 3 was probably the hardest in my opinion, and the only one I wasn't able to complete with my dad. I probably wasn't thaat skilled by the time (hey, just a kiddo), so most of the time I ended up stealing lives from my dad to be able to keep playing 😂. That is a cool feature this game has by the way.
Of course that was when playing in HARD mode, since that's the only way to actually complete the WHOLE game. The hard mode adds a final boss in the helicopter escape, which ironically isn't that hard to outlast, but the really difficult part is getting to that point alive.
Completing the first Contra was one of the best and most gratifying moments of my gaming life. We spent uncountable hours trying to do it, so I also remember the moments of frustration, like from dying in the last stages time after time. But definitely the bond and feeling of camaraderie you develop with someone while spending uncountable hours trying to complete a really difficult game is something really cool.
Although I never got to complete "our mission" of defeating all the bosses from this 3 versions of Contra, I got my revenge some time later completing The Alien Wars with a friend of mine. It was a nostalgic moment for me because it took me back to those days playing with my dad, but it was also one of my favorite game completions, kind of a closure and a tribute in some way.
Now you can probably see why my biased opinion about Contra 😄, we could say I have some history with this game. That said, I don't think the latest versions are that great. Maybe this is also biased by my perspective of the retro versions, but I think it's not an uncommon opinion about Contra. If you have played the newer versions of this game let me know what you think!
Another Gun and Run
Metal Slug, definitely also one of my favorite games of all time. The first time I played this game I must have been like 5 years old, it was on an arcade machine. My dad used to take my sister and me to an arcade place in town. This place belonged to a friend o his, and we spent some great times there playing air hockey table, play station 1, arcades and some other fun stuff that were there.
I remember my sister mostly played pepsi man 😂 (good game btw), but I was obsessed with Metal Slug, not only the gameplay itself is great but the graphics, the music and the overall style of the game. If I wasn't kicking someone's ass in mortal kombat or getting my ass kicked in air hockey, I was for sure playing Metal Slug on the arcade.
Metal Slug is full of action, with heavy artillery constantly being fired everywhere. And although it has its difficulty it doesn't get as nerve wracking as other games of this type, rather the opposite I would say, it feels really smooth, probably because it's really entertaining, but also not that difficult to complete to be honest.
Something remarkable of the first Metal Slug is its ending. After a long journey through this personal war full of blast and even some comedy overtones, you would expect to get cheered on by a crowd with some rock background after completing the game.
But instead we get to a scene with an enemy soldier folding a paper's plane and throwing it to the air. The plane starts to travel all over the battlefield, peacefully transiting the entire war zone, now in ruins. The destroyed tanks, the bodies of the fallen soldiers, helmets on top of rifles. The little paper plane goes all the way to the start, backtracking through every level, showing you everything you did to get there. The music, previously triumphant, slowly transitions to a softer melody. Close after passing the first boss stage, we see a woman crying at a soldiers grave. Finally the plane dissolves into the horizon of a night sky followed by a "FIN", the end.
For me this is a brilliant and cinematic ending, you can watch it in this video by yourself, or complete the game and see it!
Another corious thing aboout this ending, that I got to know recently, is that if you complete the game in team you get to see a different ending scene. The paper plane is still present but it flies over a completely different landscape, showing you peaceful images instead of devastation, and is also accompanied by a different soundtrack with more cheerful vibes.
This is the soundtrack:
There are many other great Video Game Memories
From playing Mario Bros with my cousins, how to forget the pain of having to take turns and wait for the others to lose after just killing myself falling off a cliff in one of the first levels, or being stupidly killed by a flying turtle or something like that 😂. But also what about those legendary occasions of passing the entire game on the first try.
I was really good at mario bros, and I liked to speed run it, but being so competitive was also a risk of losing very quickly. It's amazing how serious I took that game, but that's not weird of me taking all I do so seriously and competitively 😂
Other classics of the NES I loved were tank and bomberman, those two were some of my favorites. I still remember the music at the start of tank and how fuckin hard it gets so quickly. Bomberman was really cool and somewhat strategic, I also knew a couple of cheat tricks in that game, the levels were practically infinite and it could get really crazy with the different creatures that appeared on the stage, like those annoying coins that could get through the blocks 😂.
In the Play Station 1
Uncountable hours playing Crash Bandicoot, still one of my favorites of all time. I have completed every single release of crash multiple times, including the newer ones. But nothing compares to the revolutionary it was the first Crash to the PS1.
There is a really interesting history behind the development of Crash Bandicoot about how the developers tweaked and hacked the console to get the most out of it, and get the game to look and behave in a far far superior way than any other video game of the time. They practically made miracles to optimize the disk usage and the graphic performance.
You can view an in detail walkthrough by Andy Gavin, the co founder of naughty dog (game development company behind some great video games, like crash and the last of us). Really interesting stuff, speacially if you are into software/hardware.
Castlevania, God of war, Final fantasy, tony hawk, resident evil, medal of honor and call of duty, mortal kombat just to name a few, oh man, so many great games just for play station. But this is post isn't just about the games but the memories behind those games, and there are a lot of memories indeed! But to not extend this post indefinitely, and as I already shared some of my most significant video games memories, I will call it a day and close this post sharing with you this bonus track we could say:
A nice cover of Metal Slug - Living On The Deck by Super Soul Bros. Enjoy it! And hope you also enjoyed the post!