Re-experiencing games without playing them

God, I’d love to play that again…

That is something that I have often said about an old favorite game,  but it isn’t long before I realize the amount of time, effort, and energy that will be required to play the game through to the end.  Enthusiasm dies shortly after, especially when there are newer games that  I have yet to experience (which could potentially become a new favorite).

Inevitably I stop after the first level or so to play something else. It’s usually after Liberty Island in Deus Ex, or after the Shinra bombing in FF7.  One arcade run with Ryu before I’m done.  The First dungeon in Vampire Masquerade.

I uninstall the game disappointed because I wanted to re experience it as I had when having more disposable time and less responsibility.  There was a time when I was blissfully ignorant of the health problems that can occur from sitting 4-5 hour stretches – meaning I could just fall into a game’s world.  There was little else to prioritize over video games.

Having your Nostalgia Cake and Eating it

Today Video games need to share space with so many other things.   There is considerably less time to enjoy them as I did as a teenager.  Video game time has to fight over old and new games and often I will go for something I haven’t seen before.  But the itch to return to the older game is still there – how do I have my cake an eat it?

The answer came when listening to the to the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack.

I needed some background noise to encourage me trough a considerable work load.  LOTR is one of my favorite film series, but as with the above old games, putting away 10+ hours to re watch the trilogy is difficult.
However I found I was replaying the movie in my head as I listened.  I know each movie so well that I could quote all of them right now.  In fact, I did (in my head) as the music was playing.

By the time I had reached the final track I was on the boat with Gandalf, Frodo and Bilbo, fucking off to where-ever with Hela and Agent smith.  Almost all the same feelings came back (‘because there some good in this world mister frodo!  …and it’s worth fighing for!’).  without even having to watch them.  I know them so well that the music alone was enough.

Soundtrack for Eyes

I want to apply this to the games I love and want to re experience, so in an exercise I’m calling ‘The Archive’, I’m replaying some of my favorite games – fully – but possibly for the last time – and uploading the footage to youtube.  They will be played in digestible, efficient chunks/segments, with little to no downtime, but still encapsulating everything I loved about them and made them stand out.  Some games, that I am very effective at, may be just one video.  So like re experiencing Lord of the Rings without watching, it will be re experiencing FF7 (for example) without playing should I ever feel the need again.

Something that doesn’t require the same time and energy commitment, but what you miss from not playing will be replaced by the sounds, visuals, characters are so on.  If you know the game well enough – then your brain will bring the feeling back.

Don’t. Open. That. Door!

Well, that’s the experiment anyway.  Lets see how long it lasts.  I do realize there are probably plenty of lets plays out there, but there something about it when it’s my own play through that internalizes better for me.

So if I, or you ever want to experience and old game (like our fist here – Resident Evil) without having an old console, emulating it or experiencing the considerable hassle of getting it running on PC, or just don’t have the time, then this is for us.

First up, we experience Resident Evil through the eyes Jill Valentine: