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Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Replaying classic games

GameCentral readers imagine what games they’d go back to if they could somehow wipe their memory of playing them the first time round.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Stone Cold Steve Austin, and while it’s not possible (unless you know someone that’s really good at hypnosis) it was interesting to see which games people would like to experience again for the first time.

The most common choices were classic epics such as Final Fantasy 7, the Soulsborne games, and Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. Although many admitted that playing older games again wouldn’t be as fun if you still retained knowledge of modern gaming.

Time travel
I think this is basically impossible. You’d have to literally have to be a child again for this to have the effect people are imagining, much as I understand where they’re coming from. I guess wiping your mind isn’t any more plausible but I think in reality this would only work with newer games that aren’t going to look extremely old-fashioned whether you’ve played them before or not.

I mean, consider Super Mario 64, one of the best and most important games of all time, which you really needed some nostalgia googles on to appreciate in its barely changed remastered form.

Personally the top two contenders in my book are Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Persona 4 and 5. I’d love to play these again and everything to be new again but that’s just not possible. Even playing Persona 5 Royal too much of it was me going, ‘I remember this bit’. Instead of being wowed by what was going on, like I was the first time round.
Gish

Blown away
I think my proper answer for this would be something like Bloodborne but I do wonder how I’d take to Shenmue now if I was playing it for the first time. We all know the third one went down like a lead balloon but I’m not convinced it would be much different for anyone playing the old ones today either.

I remember being completely blown away the first time I played, back on the Dreamcast in 2000. At that point it seemed like a vision from the future, a game so complex and deep it just shouldn’t exist yet.

Of course, nowadays, it just seems silly and shallow, with virtually no gameplay, a story that moves at the speed of a snail, and a main character with zero personality. If you wiped my mind of it would I realise that straight away or would I enjoy it again? To be honest, I don’t want to know.
Wagma

State of art
I think I’d say Metroid Prime for me. I know there are a few games that are considered perfect, and this is one of them, but it’s the only one that I played when it first came out so for me it holds a special place.

If this Metroid Prime Trilogy remaster ever gets to come out then I’ll have a chance to see how it stands up, but it’s obvious it’s not going to impress as it once did. I’m sure it’ll play great but at the time the graphics were state-of-the-art and just as flawless as the rest of the game. That won’t be the case now and I think that’s the problem for a lot of retro games.

Even with the really old ones there was a time when they looked the best a game could look but unless you do a total remake like Demon’s Souls that’s never the case again.
Pigsy

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Top five
I couldn’t choose just one game, but I’d be happy with any of these options as the game I got to experience for the first time again.

Honourable mention: Tales Of Graces F (PS3)

Honourable mention: Persona 3 (PS2 and PSP versions)

5. WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role (PS1)

4. Metal Gear Solid (PS1)

3. Tales Of Xillia 1 (PS3)

2. Final Fantasy 7 (PS1)

1. Persona 4 (PS2/PS Vita/PC)
TheSpectre N8 (gamertag)

GC: Please don’t send lists as Hot Topic answers, they’re nowhere near as interesting as an actual letter.

Just the once
Perhaps because it’s been mentioned a bit lately on the Inbox but I’d choose Shadow Of The Colossus. It’s a fantastic game but I’ve never found it much fun to replay and I’ve tried two or three times. The only time I got through it all was with the remake and even then it wasn’t as good as the first time, because I knew how to beat all the bosses.

It’s a problem with a lot of games I think, were once you’ve played through them once the experience is kind of ruined and just doing it again isn’t the same. That’s usually a sign that the game was really good though. And personally speaking I’d rather playing something new anyway. There’s too many great looking games out there for me to be spending time playing the same ones over and over.
Cole Slaw

Again, for the first time
I’d love to play Dark Souls again with no knowledge of what it is. Not only would I be able to tackle all the challenges again, for the first time, but you’d also find out about the difficult without any warning.

I remember the first time I played it and I’d heard it was hard but that means nothing nowadays so I didn’t think anything to it. Then I was completely destroyed by the game and, well… anyone reading this knows what Dark Souls is like.
Dylan

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Let the past die
The risky part about this Hot Topic is exactly what the last part of the question was explaining, in regards to tastes which may have changed, ideas changing as you grow older, and the inevitable way life and its many events have affected me as a human being.

I would love to give games like Zelda: A Link To The Past a go, Majora’s Mask, and Beyond Good & Evil also. But ultimately I don’t think I can honestly say I could ever want to erase memories of special moments like past gaming joys. It has already been proved when I played Final Fantasy 7 Remake. I loved playing the game and getting nostalgic hits! But I kept comparing the experience to games like Final Fantasy 13 and 15.

Going back to the original Final Fantasy 7 in today’s age of gaming experiences will unfortunately make playing it more of an interesting experience, instead of a mind-changing and emotional life-changing on. I’d lose far too much and the price would be just too high.

Another example from a different angle was my first play through of Chrono Trigger. It rather annoyingly never came on the PAL Super Nintendo, and the six-page review or preview in a magazine I saw in Woolworths, was just torture. It was made worse when in a K-Mart in Woodbridge of Richmond, in the state of Virginia of that same year, I saw a demo running of the game, in the console section of the store!

So when Chrono Trigger finally came on the Nintendo DS in 2009 I had grown and playing the game on a smaller screen, with no young teenager nostalgia to be had, just did not give me that magical experience I hoped I would be getting. If only that was the next top-down view game, I had played after completing A Link To The Past! I think that would have had an effect, but it would have been a blooming positive one I can ensure you.

I would just like to build on my gaming experiences now and to play the modern age gaming equivalents that will have an effect, from an adult’s mindset, and which will then translate into an experience of new excitements – like when playing Skyrim for the first time, a few years back. It’ll be interesting to read other GC viewer’s thoughts, in regards to this Hot topic. But I know where my feelings are right now, and they feel pretty good with my past and present nostalgia.
Alucard

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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