Paly Talking Point: What Game Do You Replay Every Year?
We’ve all done it! 2022 is finally behind us and 2023 stretches out with joy into the great beyond. It’s been a year of promise, a year of hope, a year of enough Nintendo releases with any luck to squeeze the almost literal tears out of our bank accounts.
But right now we’re not thinking about the future, we’re looking at the past. Ah, Sundin. the previous days Back when life was simple and games were simple because we were better at them, they weren’t actually simple, you understand. Back when we were playing the first Touchstone titles that would inform every comparison we make today.
Of course, we still come back to these games somewhat more frequently than others with the opening stages now forever etched in our minds. It has a strange feel to it. We know that game development progresses and our backlog grows larger by the day, but we return to our old favorites like they’re a pair of cozy slippers. We breathe a sigh of relief because as much as we love discovering new treasures, there’s something comforting about knowing where you are.
For this writer (hello!) it’s always been Ocarina of Time. Year after year, the first three dungeons are played at least once to check that the game still lingers in the memory (it does), and this is despite the fact that very little thought is required now. Inside the Great Deku Tree? I’ll do it in my sleep, man.
In fact, the absence of thought is what makes it better. Most of us have played Elden Ring this year, or Xenoblade Chronicles 3, or some other big ol’ game that makes big ol’ demands on our big ol’ brains. Doing something, memorizing attack patterns, or finding a new position in this title can be a feeling of complete exhilaration, it’s true, but the work it takes to get there can regularly be wasted if you’re not in the right frame of mind.
No such drain can be said for the games we’ve come to know like the back of our hands. Yes, the challenge may have diminished as we’ve grown more familiar with the classic video game vibe (wait, you mean I had to jump on the boss’s head three times?! Who knew?!) but that hasn’t diminished the sense of joy that still rides throughout Hyrule. , can be brought from entering the Gruntilder lair or choosing your starter for the 300th time.
And we’re not just talking about nostalgic classics here. There are many games you played for the first time this year, safe in the knowledge that you’ll return to them on an annual basis from now on, comfortable with the thought of starting over. Whether it’s discovering Tunic’s deepest secrets for the first time, taking a completely different approach to triangulation, or another run at Kirby and the Forgotten Lands in a self-imposed collection not speaking from personal experience, of course, there’s a certain something that clicks and you think Next time, I’m doing it differently.
We’d bet no one made it through the Elden Ring without thinking, It’s official, I’m bad at video games, but does that feeling exist during the Super Mario Galaxy reboot? Heck no! You bring your deep-built end-game moves to the basic level design and you feel like the king of the hill. Yes, you may have read a modern-day “new level” 100+ times, but can anyone really throw a Pikmin or shoot an arm cannon like you can in a beloved classic?
Our point is: gaming can be a stressful thing, and that makes the familiarity even better. Has it lost all challenges? Who cares? You can feel like a pro every time. Did it play as well as you remember? Welcome to the world of nostalgia! The backlog is already too big to play the same game again? Join the club! A title game for the ninth time is its own joy and we can’t wait to get back to them again this year.
So, what are the games that you find yourself replaying every year? Are the notes of the ocarina etched in your brain? Are your fingers twitching in anticipation of Star Fox? Can you clear the world 1-1 in your sleep?
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