Hello there, Happy Katana fans, and happy holidays. We will be doing a first for Happy Katana. We will be doing our very first collaboration. Along with Robot Boombox and Zack’s Weekly Record, we will be doing the greatest moments in gaming history. This was inspired by Retro Gamer’s 100th issue, in which they did an article called “The 100 Greatest Moments In Classic Gaming.” So I thought, why not do my own greatest moments in gaming article? And why just retro gaming? And then I thought “Gee, wouldn’t it be cool to do a collaboration with other websites?” Originally, the ideas were separate, but a conversation with Peter Kowalsky AKA The Flyin’ Jew from Robot Boombox brought them together. Lo and behold, this project was born. So, without further adieu, let’s talk about 5 amazing moments in the long and storied history of gaming. Keep in mind this list isn’t going to be in any specific order.
Pokémon Series- The Bond You Build
All you Pokémon fans know what I’m talking about. While at first Pokémon just seems to be a great RPG with innovative and strategic mechanics and the appeal of battling other trainer’s super powered animals with your own super powered animals (it’s probably Michael Vick’s favorite video game series) while also catching other super powered animals, it soon becomes apparent that it’s much more than that. While the series didn’t start getting more developed plots until the 3rd Generation (although the 2nd Generation definitely made some strides in that area), from the very first Generation of Red, Blue, and Yellow, you realize that at some point, you start to build a bond with these creatures. From your starter Pokémon to that last Legendary, you start to become attached. Somewhere along the line, you truly start to care for these Pokémon. They are no longer just your fighting machines used to get you closer to greatness. No, now you love them with all your heart and they are your friends and even your family. What’s strange is that at its core, Pokémon is a series that’s about training animals to fight other animals in exchange for money and glory, and you pretty much trap these animals and take them out of their habitats. In the real world, people who are like that are worthless pieces of shit who have no feelings for these animals, but in Pokémon, you truly care about these creatures and don’t just view them as money makers. It’s a feeling that has yet to be replicated in any other game, and it’s one of the reasons I love Pokémon.
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past- A Whole New World
No, not the Aladdin song, even though it is a good song. No, what I’m talking about is the Dark World. You finally get all three Pendants and the Master Sword and you go to battle Agahnim. When you finally defeat him, you feel good. You defeated the evil menace that threatened Hyrule and indeed, the entire world. You rescued Zelda and all the maidens. The world is finally at peace thanks to you, and everyone can now relax. At the same time, you also feel unsatisfied. I mean, is the game over already? Only 4 dungeons and 4 boss battles (despite Majora’s Mask only having that many)? That’s it? Wow, that was a short game. But wait! There’s more! It just so happens that Agahnim was just a puppet and Ganon was the true threat all along. Who’da thunk it? It turns out your adventure is far from over. It’s only just begun. The Dark World was an immensely creative idea on Nintendo’s part. I mean, how cool was it that you got an entire new world to explore? It made the game seem much, much larger, and it never once felt forced. They took Hyrule and basically created a darker (no duh), more twisted, and more evil version of it. While you did get to preview it on Death Mountain as you had to use it to get to The Tower Of Hera, but you were a useless, albeit hilarious and adorable bunny then, so to see it and to be able to explore it as a human and fully armed is awesome. The Zelda series is known for its amazing and creative concepts, and this may be the best. It’s a unique and innovative concept that I’d love to see not only in more Zelda games, but in more games period. It’s a huge reason as to why A Link To The Past is my favorite game of all time.
Super Mario 64- Total Freedom
You know, nowadays people take 3D graphics for granted. Nowadays, it seems like 95% of all mainstream games have 3D graphics, and 2D graphics are getting less and less common (with a few exceptions, like NSMB, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Rayman Legends) outside of flash and indie games, where that style of game continues to flourish. Because of that, people think that 3D graphics are no big deal, and I see a lot of graphics whores who complain all the time about how a game sucks because it has bad graphics. Well, let me tell you, I remember a time when 3D graphics were awe inspiring in and of themselves. I know this is weird, but since the SNES and Game Boy were my first systems and my grandparents had an NES, I was accustomed to 2D games. Most of the games I played were sidescrollers, and the ones that weren’t were top down. So imagine my surprise when I watched my cousin David play Super Mario 64 for the first time. I was only 4 or 5, so I didn’t know what 2D and 3D even were. What I did know is that you weren’t forced to move from left to right or from a top down (yet still flat) view. Needless to say, I soon became obsessed with that game and the Nintendo 64 in general. I relentlessly begged my parents for a Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64. Finally, Christmas 1998 rolls along, and I swear, you will never find a happier five year old. I of course got the 64 and SM64, and I played the hell out of it. I just loved that I could go anywhere I wanted and explore these huge 3D worlds. It seriously blew my five year old mind like you wouldn’t believe. Today, Super Mario 64 means many things to me, and one of those things is freedom.
The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask- It’s The End Of The World As We Know It
Wow. two song references in one article? And both for the same series? Damn, I’m on a roll. Well, just like the one before it, it’s at least relevant to the moment I’m about to talk about. You see, in Majora’s Mask, the threat of doom is constant. There’s a reason that Majora’s Mask is often considered the darkest game in the series. Well, a few reasons, actually, but this is the main one. Unlike the other games in the series, in which you just think “Oh, Ganon is putting Hyrule in peril again (yes, I know there are different Ganons), I guess I gotta stop him now,” in Majora’s Mask, the threat is very, very real. You see, Skull Kid (who is controlled by Majora’s Mask) feels betrayed by his friends, The Four Giants, and decides to get his revenge by possessing The Moon and sending it crashing into Termina. You know what? Fuck zombie apocalypses, psychotic demonic moon apocalypses are truly terrifying. You know, everything about this moment is just unsettling, a theme that Majora’s Mask excels in. First of all, the time limit. I know people love to bitch and moan about the time limit, but I love it. With only three days to save Termina before the moon falls, the time limit truly creates a sense of panic, and enforces the idea that time is running out fast. Then you look at the people of Clock Town. You can feel the fear and despair from each and every one of them (though they deny it at first, and Mutoh seems unfazed). Oh, and the fact that The Moon gradually gets closer and closer. And don’t even get me started on the music, two tracks in particular (Clock Town Day 3 and Final Hours) which creates a sense of ominous foreboding in the case of Clock Town Day 3 and a feeling of hopelessness and melancholy in Final Hours. And when The Moon actually falls, you feel a real feeling of guilt. You feel like you let everyone down, like you really failed. Everyone is dead, and you could have prevented it. All this adds up to the darkest, most emotional, most sorrowful fear and panic inducing Zelda game, with feelings of hopelessness and doom throughout the entire game. And yet Twilight Princess is the one with the T rating.
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time- Back To The Future (And The Past)
There are so many pop culture references in this article. It’s like an episode of Family Guy or Robot Chicken. And again, this reference is at least relevant to the moment. Remember when I said that the series is known for it’s awesome and creative concepts? Well, Ocarina Of Time is no exception. This time, you actually got to travel through time (which would be further explored in Majora’s Mask). I know time travel is a concept most often used in Science Fiction, and before Ocarina Of Time’s release, it may have seemed like quite a strange idea to transport this idea into Zelda’s Fantasy world, but amazingly, it worked perfectly. First of all, traveling through time as a child and an adult made the game that much more epic in scope. The huge world already made the game seem big, but the time traveling mechanic made the game a true epic, and I am absolutely not using that word lightly. Just like A Link To The Past, people playing this game for the first time were probably disappointed by how short they thought it was after collecting the three Spiritual Stones, but once they saw Ganondorf chasing Zelda, getting the Ocarina Of Time, and grabbing the Master Sword, they knew they were just getting started. One of the most genius things about it is that it’s not just a throwaway gimmick. You don’t just play as Adult Link the rest of the game and be done with it. No, certain puzzles could only be solved with Young Link, and some puzzles are only solvable by Adult Link. Like wise, some items can only be used by Adult Link, while other items can only be used by Young Link. It works really well, and makes for an experience that everyone should try.
Well, there you have it guys. Those are five of my most memorable moments in gaming. I gotta tell you, I loved doing this article. First of all, not only is it the first collaboration in Happy Katana history, but I got to do it with some of the best websites in the entire world. It’s great to see all these sites who all have at least one person from Syd Lexia do a community project like this. It actually warms my heart. I also loved doing this because of how much fun I had writing it. Seriously, this article came along greatly. The writing came to me naturally, and everything was just right about it. I haven’t felt this way about an article in a long time*. I want to thank everyone who participated: JEW and Frank from Robot Boombox, Syd Lexia, and Zack AKA Fighter McWarrior from Zack’s Weekly Record. All amazing websites that you should check out. If you want to read their articles, just click on these links:
- http://www.robotboombox.com/blag/franks-top-five-gaming-moments/– Frank’s Top 5
- http://www.robotboombox.com/blag/top-5-moments-in-gaming-jews-picks/– Jew’s Top 5
- http://zsoth.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-best-musical-moments-in-gaming.html– Zackery’s Top 5
- http://outskirtnoise.com/2013/12/28/outskirt-noises-top-5-moments-in-gaming/– Larry’s Top 5
Finally, I want to thank the fans for reading it. I really appreciate it. You guys all have a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Athiestmas/whatever you celebrate.