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Nostalgia-Rich Games That Became More Than Just Entertainment

Many video games of a certain era will provoke feelings of high nostalgia. However, only a select few of those will transcend the test of time, and become ways of life that echo through the generations. Today, certain games in that revered category have the accolade of sustaining entire online communities, and in some cases, added extra facets to the rapidly-growing world of eSports.

Tekken 3

Three-dimensional and highly realistic, the Tekken series almost single-handedly ensured dominance for the Playstation on western shores in the second half of the 1990s.

There were no supernatural special moves like fireballs or decapitations, just four buttons equating to a limb each, with everything hinging on timing, mental composure and a good sense of range. Those that stuck with the original game and played through its sequels will fondly remember learning the most devastating moves and combos for their favorite character and executing them to perfection upon an unknowing opponent. For example:

While the first two installments on the then Playstation-exclusive title were best-sellers, it was the release of Tekken 3 that truly perfected the franchise.

Fighters were given a much lower center of gravity and fluidity of movement, and two new modes were introduced to heighten the entertainment factor. The first was ‘Tekken Ball’, which was a volleyball-style game in which fighters used punches and kicks to try and hit a ball at or past their opponent. There was also ‘Tekken Force’, which saw the player take on gangs of opponents simultaneously through four scrolling stages.

Over two decades on from its release in Europe and the US, Tekken 3 has seen its successors (most recently Tekken 7) become an increasingly-popular draw for eSports tournaments with sizeable prize pools.

 

Goldeneye

Many gamers, particularly those now in their thirties, will remember well the hours of frustration spent trying to complete the Chemical Weapons ‘Facility’ level in under 2 minutes, 05 seconds on the hardest difficulty (’00 Agent’) in order to unlock the invincibility option. So too will they remember sitting cross-legged on a beanbag in a friend’s converted-attic bedroom, trying to figure out and memorize the location of the best weapons in a maze of a multiplayer level:

While Doom is widely recognized as the game that made the First-Person Shooter (FPS) genre its own, Goldeneye unquestionably went above and beyond. It brought the first widely-recognized multiplayer mode in the FPS genre, paving the way for Twitch favorites (and eSports heavyweights) such as Battlefield, Fortnite, and Call of Duty, with the latter also a favorite amongst eSports bettors at Unikrn seeking optimal value for money.

Even today, there are Goldeneye multiplayer competitions here and there, and entire online communities devoted to breaking single-player world records. Goldeneye experts such as Bryan Bosshardt and Karl Jobst (amongst countless others) have used their skill and love for gaming nostalgia to enter the game’s historic lore, setting new and seemingly-impossible standards for one of the greatest shooters in existence.

 

Streets of Rage

For those who played this fighting platformer on a SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis back in the day, the plot alone will provoke feelings of nostalgia, with the original game’s opening sequence stating: “This city was once a happy, peaceful place, until one day, an evil organization took over”. Then the action begins, and you battle your way through eight scrolling levels chock-full of villains, with each culminating in a death match against an oversized boss.

Unquestionably, the favorite nostalgia moment of many playing the original game would be fighting atop a freight elevator affixed to a skyscraper (which gains increasing height en-route to ‘Evil Syndicate HQ’) where the player can opt to throw villains over the edge to their demise.

The three protagonists – namely Adam, Axel, and Blaze – were amongst the first group of heroes in the non-RPG fighting/platform hybrid genre to have unique traits, being respectively powerful, balanced and speedy in their fighting ability. Those differential traits, alongside four difficulty levels, made every run-through a unique challenge.

Above all though, it was in the audio department that the game became legendary, with geek-worshipped composer Yuzo Koshiro combining subtle elements of techno, house, rave, and funk to great effect. Every one of his compositions for Streets of Rage is regarded as a masterpiece, to the extent that there have even been entire concerts devoted to the game’s soundtrack:

 

Mario Kart 64

Just about any bar themed on retro games that are worth the entrance fee (or the over-priced burgers and cocktails) will have this gem to hand. It boasts 16 colorful and engaging tracks, each of which has its own obstacles, challenges, and shortcuts, not to mention the powerful items (such as lightning bolts and banana skins) that can be used to gain an advantage in races when all seems lost.

From figuring out all of the winning shortcuts around Yoshi Valley to making the huge Evel Knievel-style leap across a river on the Royal Raceway, every fan has their favorite iconic moment from Mario Kart 64. Like Goldeneye, this game has a hardcore of fans devoted to getting world record times on certain stages.

Quite recently, in fact, one track in particular called Choco Mountain received great attention, when a Twitch influencer by the name of Abney attempted a world record many dismissed as impossible:

Mad though it may seem, viewers across the globe sat for practically days on end watching a man drive at a 64-bit wall in a virtual motorized lawnmower. Yet, Abney’s persistence against odds of around 64,000/1 paid off in the end and created an entirely new type of nostalgia for a game that already personified it.

 

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