Recently I managed to do something that I haven’t done in a long time, no not beat a Destiny raid on hard, or even finish the latest Borderlands on Ultimate Vault Hunter mode, something a lot more challenging. I finished Mega Man 2 on my NES and I shouted in joy as Wily finally gave in after his three form & succumbed to my Mega Blaster.
For some people this may not seem like a challenge, but for someone like me finishing a NES platformer is one of the hardest things I have ever done in gaming. Me and my raid team can fly through Destiny’s latest content in a day and we already have three level 34’s and the best weapons. I have flown through The Witcher’s side quests and hunts with little difficulty, but there’s something about NES games that make them so hard.
Some people may look at the style of the game and think ‘well that’s not hard at all, you just jump and shoot things. You don’t have to aim and run at the same time’. Well to those people I say play Mega Man, Catslevania & Teenage Mutant Turtles. Unlike today’s modern day games, these where simplistic in design, but incredibly hard to master. In Castlevania, Simon, the main character, feels like he is heavy and once you jump you are committed, it leaves little in the way of forgiveness, where as today’s platformers let you change direction or cut your jump short. There’s a steep learning curve to Castlevania & it can be a very painful one. The other thing that NES games have in common is they are arcade games and want you to empty your quarters into them and keep trying to beat your previous scores. There is no end game, the game is the game and you have to make what you can out of it. People turned to speed running, completing games without dying or even more punishing challenges to keep the game alive well after your first run through.
When I complete a modern day game I am done with it, unless I want the shiny Platinum trophy. However after just finishing Mega Man in around 5 hours and a hell of a lot of deaths, I feel like wanting to better my run and get a clean run. When I finished The Last of Us I felt and incredible surge of emotions, but I never want to play that game again. The same emotions where there when beating Mega Man 2, but I want to play it again and again and again. Each run will be the same, every boss battle will be the same, but I want to do it better and cleaner each time.
So after I beat Mega Man I got to thinking, have we let story get in the way of replay-ability? If a NES game with little story but amazing gameplay get us to go back 20 years latter and play them, then why can’t some modern day games?
Now before I get crucified in the comments bellow, I know there are some exceptions. Just the other week I finished Shovel Knight and straight away I wanted to beat it again. Then I look at a game like Destiny that I have sank over 30 days worth of game time into. Yes I have played it way more then Mega Man 2, but I am busy doing the post story content. We like to raid, but we don’t fell the need to raid with certain outcomes. We don’t aim to do a floorless raid & if we die restart it all again, but I find myself doing this on Mega Man.
So do we need more games like Shovel Knight that have the replay-ability of the classic NES games? Well yes. The people that make the games for our generation where brought up playing these games. I think it is something that we must not lose touch on. So i encourage everyone out there so go back and play these games and get a deeper understanding of how hard, and amazing these simplistic yet challenging games really are.
Let me know in the comments bellow what you think if NES games compared to modern day games. Do you want to go back and replay classics? Or would you rather master the nest Call of Duty?