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Gaming Stockholm Syndrome


Gloves
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Administrator · Posted

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. When I was a kid my access to games was pretty limited. We had a few games we picked up at the flea market, and we sometimes rented a game for the weekend. I played a handful of games, a LOT. We didn't get magazines or read reviews or any of the niceties of today, it was really just "does the sticker on this cart make the game look fun?" and if the answer was yes we'd buy it at the market.

Obviously this meant I spent a fair amount of time with some pretty shit games.

A good example is McKids on the NES. An objectively pretty mediocre game, that I could easily play from start to end today from memory based on how much I played it as a kid. Any game was better than no game.

I'm curious to hear of any such games you all might have stories about. Obscure or otherwise shitty games that YOU like, or that at least hold a place in your heart if only because it's all you had, so you made due, and maybe it grew on you over time through sheer force of will.

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Well back in the day, I got one new NES game for my birthday, and one at Christmas, so if it wasn't the greatest game, I would LEARN to love it anyway!  I usually chose my games pretty well (Mario's, Zelda's, Castlavania's) but for one birthday I chose T&C Surf Designs because I really liked skateboarding in real life at the time.  Well, needless to say, it's not the best game, but I have massive nostalgia for it, and I've probably logged more hours on this game than anyone else on the planet.  In fact, I can beat the surfing levels with ease and have the surfing play control down to a science - THAT's how much I've played T&C Surf Designs.  And when you play a game that much, you can't help but get attached to it, no matter how bad it objectively may be...

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I was a sega kid growing up. My fondest memories was when my Mom finally agreed to subscribe to the Sega channel. At the time I only had 4 sega games that I would play over and over, and we were too poor to afford new retail Sega games. 

I think I had X-Men clone wars, Comix Zone, Columns, and Battle Toad and Double Dragon. I must of played columns for ages, I still love the soundtrack for it. But the Sega channel introduced me to so many titles I've never heard of. If anyone was around at the time they'd know exactly what I'm talking about. It was basically the netflix for games for the 90s, with a monthly subscription and it was done through a cable hookup connection and an original Sega console. Very revolutionary for its time.

Every month they'd shuffle out and add new games to the catalogue. I never had to buy another Sega game again. I had so many memories with my genesis.

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Hydlide on the NES.  I got this game based on the cover, and was absolutely determined to like it despite the fact I had no idea what the heck to do.   I enjoyed trying, I suppose, but I never got very far.

 

This game and Impossible Mission (Atari 7800) were the only 2 games from my childhood that I wanted to finish, but simply couldn't.  I now know that Impossible Mission had a reason, but not sure what Hydlide's excuse was.

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Fun topic. Growing up, I had a neat little bunch of games, but I definitely had to commit to trying to enjoy some that felt more like a chore. Here are some of the games I felt like I had to suffer through, time and time again:

NES
Captain Tsubasa Vol. II: Super Striker (While objectively a pretty darn good game, that I very much enjoy to this day... It made absolutely zero sense to me as a kid. I didn't understand the dialogue or gameplay. I had no concept of what an RPG was, and I was completely aloof to the entire anime art style. I was just a kid who loved soccer/football, and wanted to enjoy this game. As of now, I've come full circle on this game, being involved in the new and revamped translation/redux romhack of the game. Please check out the development here: https://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=30917.0 - It's going to be a genuine high quality treat for fans of the series!)

Dragon's Lair (I really liked the aesthetics and animations. But what a shit-show. I think the infuriating trial and error kept me coming back, as it genuinely felt like a bizarre accomplishment to advance just an inch further than before.)

GAME BOY
The Rescue of Princess Blobette (Part of a somewhat beloved series - A Boy and His Blob - this game was  unique and cool enough for me to keep at it until I knew how to beat it blind. 
I think it's severely marred by guesswork and several weak puzzles. Thankfully, it's a short romp. Looking back, I definitely gave it a pass just because I owned it.)

SEGA GENESIS
ToeJam & Earl (I know this game has its ardent fans, but I'm certainly not one of them. The music and colorful graphics kept drawing me in, but it never led to any sense of achievement. It felt like the most pointless game I'd ever played, every time I popped it in.)

N64
Buck Bumble (The novelty of controlling a bee was weirdly fascinating. The entire package though, oof.)

Mission: Impossible (I really wanted this to be something as cool as GoldenEye, but it clearly wasn't. Some unique ideas though, but pretty sloppy execution. It did a lot of things, but none of them very good.)

Edited by ifightdragons
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I started with Atari 2600. Hooo Boy!

SwordQuest Earthworld and Fireworld. Never understood a damn thing. And Fireworld had very little fire in it. You could call it Wander Around and it would make as much sense. And the game is useless once the contest ended in 1982, but somehow I played it anyway.

The 2600 port of Donkey Kong was garbage (you think the NES version is flawed for missing the cement factory? Try a version that has no spring level as well, and watered down versions of the two levels it does have.) Still played it a lot.

A few others, like Sea Hunt and Journey Escape (8 bit Don't Stop Believin'!) Although a few like Mario Bros (arcade) and Space Invaders were actually good. MB in particular isn't as slippery as the arcade or NES version.

For NES, my cousin gave me Golf. Not a bad game, just decidedly mediocre. I was kind of picky when it came to NES and later, though.

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Along with consoles such as Atari 2600 and NES, I was gaming on an 8088 PC XT as a kid. It had terrible PC speaker sound and amber monochrome graphics (later upgraded to 4 color CGA). This was an awful gaming computer compared to even the C64, but I loved it, and was happy to play anything no matter how horrible.

One of my favorite games from that time:

 

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Man I got a long list. It seems like all o bought were bad games. One of my earliest was Kung Fu. I played that game everyday after school for months as a lady. 

One SNES I had Kalbooey as a legit 7 year old kid. I played the shit out of that game and got effectively no where. Lucky we got Mario All Stars + SMW the following Xmas and that was basically all I played until the N64 arrived.

I had objectively better games on N64 but I really like Quest 64 growing up. That game was my jam. Oh and Silver for Sega Dreamcast. Another weird and overall a bad game probably by todays standards but I absolutely loved it. I remember looking forward to playing both of them 2nd and 3rd times after I beat them. 

But yeah, I definitely had the same issues as a lot of other 90s kids. Only cool box art and blurbs on the back to go by. We did rent some games but I feel like I never ended up buying the games we rented. 

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@amermoe Wow, I vaguely remember hearing of this back in the day, but don't think I knew anyone who had it.  Seems almost unthinkable that anyone could have had that kind of access to a whole library of games in this manner and that time period...

@mbd39 Looks like a solid game ala miner 2049er.  Are the keys for the custodial closets?  I like how how you can compose your own music while you're on the ladders waiting for the enemies to move out of the way, lol.

This one is a bit of a toughy for me.  On the one hand I have a marked tendency to find palatable or even fantastic -games that others tend to overlook/dislike/hate w/a passion.  On the other hand, I feel like I could almost write a book on the subject.

When I was a whipper-snapper I had a lot of ripped games for the commodore, so played tons of obscure stuff before getting a NES fairly late in the game...

Just off the very top of my mind, I remember playing "Mountain King" a lot even though I had no idea what to do.  For whatever reason it was still fun to run and jump around and try to avoid that terrifying tarantula at the bottom.  I remember there being some glitches to mess around with too, like a spot where if you got up high enough and jumped you could jump into some glitched out sky area and do your best to navigate it...

Anybody for a game of "Tomarc The Barbarian" on Colecovision?  I think most would agree that this is a bad game, but it's kind of interesting just the same.  You can switch back and forth between Tomarc and the girl he's trying to rescue from a cage who can throw rocks at birds or bats that are attacking.  And Tomarc's weird jumping makes for some good aiming/jump-execution practice...

I picked up a copy of "Dance Fantasy" recently.  I was a little surprised actually, how much fun I had with it.  I made my dancer hop up on the desk and give one of the judges a booty dance; had a good laugh..

I could go on and on.....

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I can't remember any specific NES or Genesis games holding me hostage since I owned very few and mostly just rented. If you fast forward a bit to my college days when I had a PS2, I was super jealous of everyone who owned an Xbox/Halo, so I bought an FPS called Project: Snowblind. The single player was actually really cool, but the online multiplayer had serious issues. The online infrastructure for PS2 was pathetic and nearly every match devolved into a stuttering, unplayable mess. I was way too poor to buy another game or switch consoles so I forced myself to enjoy it and even learned to love it after a couple hundred hours or so. I can still visualize some of the cooler stuff they tried in that game, but mostly I just remember my Xbox friends laughing. 😭😭😭

I also stupidly spent every last cent I had buying Road Rash 3D for the PlayStation. I loved Road Rash on the Genesis and my brother and I spent countless hours hitting each other with chains and other ridiculous weapons in battle mode. I was DEVASTATED when I got home and found out the game had NO MULTIPLAYER. WTF? And the combat was dialed way back! It was more of a motorcycle racing game than a motorcycle combat game. It was nothing like the previous games, but it was basically my one purchase for the year so I dug in and played the shit out of it. Sugar Ray's "Speed Home California" still haunts my dreams.

Edited by DoctorEncore
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3 hours ago, Razzie.P said:

Hydlide on the NES.  I got this game based on the cover, and was absolutely determined to like it despite the fact I had no idea what the heck to do.   I enjoyed trying, I suppose, but I never got very far.

That was a rough release, given it was an '84 famicom RPG that waited four long years in console RPG history before hitting the west. You could probably beat it now, but you might be better off checking out one of the original versions.

 

For me, it's a game that I only recently played as part of the annual Game Boy game clearing contest. I picked up and beat Castlevania Adventure for the first time. That was a game that made me hate it over and over as I tried and failed to finish the levels, keep my whip, etc. I think it's true Stockholm Syndrome though, because once I knew how to beat it, it actually got pretty fun, and now I like it okay. The second one is still more "fun" though I'd say, aside from that BS boss fight. You know the one.

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Just now, koifish said:

That was a rough release, given it was an '84 famicom RPG that waited four long years in console RPG history before hitting the west. You could probably beat it now, but you might be better off checking out one of the original versions.

 

Hydlide should have been released here in 1984. By 1989 it probably should have stayed in Japan. Not that I've ever played it. I doubt I'm missing much.

 

 

 

 

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I always liked McKids.  
 

Star Voyager.  I played a lot of Star Voyager.  What a game.  The experience never really evolved past aliens show up and curb stomp me and I try to limp away.

Also Ghostbusters.  Didn’t care much how horrid it was back then.  It was Ghostbusters.

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21 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

 

Hydlide should have been released here in 1984. By 1989 it probably should have stayed in Japan. Not that I've ever played it. I doubt I'm missing much.

 

 

 

 

As a kid I didn't really understand the game, since I only played it at a friend's house and he didn't have the instructions anymore.

As an adult, I have an appreciation for Roguelikes, and after watching some gameplay, I have the impression that Hydlide has combat that is much more akin to how classic Roguelikes work -- so one of these days I'll give it another chance.

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I remember mastering Astyanax (picked it up in the bargain bin) -- that one is REALLY rough, replaying it as an adult, so no idea how I stuck it out as a kid.

 

From my dad's work, I actually had copies of both Captain Novolin and Packy and Marlon.  At his request, I played through both multiple times.

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1 minute ago, arch_8ngel said:

I remember mastering Astyanax (picked it up in the bargain bin) -- that one is REALLY rough, replaying it as an adult, so no idea how I stuck it out as a kid.

 

From my dad's work, I actually had copies of both Captain Novolin and Packy and Marlon.  At his request, I played through both multiple times.

I enjoyed renting Astyanax as a kid. I was impressed by the large sprites.

It's still okay, but has some heinous slowdown, and the knock back is brutal. There's a freeze spell that helps with the knock back though. And infinite continues makes it more than beatable.

I don't know if you've played Legendary Axe for Turbografx but Astyanax is like a much scaled down NES version. There's also the original arcade Astyanax that I've never played.

 

 

 

 

 

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Administrator · Posted
1 minute ago, mbd39 said:

I enjoyed renting Astyanax as a kid. I was impressed by the large sprites.

It's still okay, but has some heinous slowdown, and the knock back is brutal. There's a freeze spell that helps with the knock back though. And infinite continues makes it more than beatable.

I don't know if you've played Legendary Axe for Turbografx but Astyanax is like a much scaled down NES version. There's also the original arcade Astyanax that I've never played.

 

 

 

 

 

Astyanax is another of mine, and I love it to this day warts and all. The music is actually pretty decent. I've beaten it multiple times in weird ways including pacifist runs and no-damage runs. Fun game to master IMO.

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Just now, mbd39 said:

I enjoyed renting Astyanax as a kid. I was impressed by the large sprites.

It's still okay, but has some heinous slowdown, and the knock back is brutal. There's a freeze spell that helps with the knock back though. And infinite continues makes it more than beatable.

I don't know if you've played Legendary Axe for Turbografx but Astyanax is like a much scaled down NES version. There's also the original arcade Astyanax that I've never played.

 

I'm not joking when I said I mastered it as a kid -- could not just 1cc the game, but could beat the game without getting hit.

As an adult, it is WAY "clunkier" than I remember, though.

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1 minute ago, Gloves said:

Astyanax is another of mine, and I love it to this day warts and all. The music is actually pretty decent. I've beaten it multiple times in weird ways including pacifist runs and no-damage runs. Fun game to master IMO.

Haha, I remember beating Astyanax pacifist for that low score contest.  Good times.

 

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