by Liam “Loki” Belcher
Remember when you were a kid and your teacher would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? I remember being asked this question as an innocent young lad and my mind would always go to some of my gaming heroes as well as wanting to be a footballer/astronaut/accountant. Although being a highly paid accountant was something I’d dreamed of from the age of 4, it just couldn’t quite excite me as much as wanting to become the next red pixel from the latest Atari hit game. I swear, that red pixel just…just had it, you know?
When I was a small gaming prodigy (long before Jason Lake picked me up to play Barbie Island 3 at a professional level), I had one character I wanted to be above all else. That character was James Pond. James Pond was a rather obvious take on James Bond. They did this by rather cleverly removing the B from “Bond” and replacing it with a P. As if that wasn’t smart enough, they put him in a little tuxedo style waistcoat on the front cover of the game. Think about that – A FISH…in a WAISTCOAT. The purpose of the game was to collect gold bars or keys or some such items and they would unlock something or other and you would win…good times? Ok, so I realize I’m not making a compelling case for the game, but from what little memory I have of an awesome game, I still remember the fact that I wanted to be James Pond.
The game that changed it all for me was a rather ironic one that came out many years later. Between James Pond – Underwater Agent and this game coming out, I had floated in a land of great games but non that made me want to become anything close to a fish in a waistcoat. The game, of which I shall tell you the tale of, is Goldeneye64. Every time I see a “Top 50 Games of all time” list, I always see G64 easily making the top 15. For me, it was literally one of the best games of all time. To call this game the Mona Lisa of gaming would be an insult, not because G64 is bad, but because Mona Lisa is just a painting of a woman sitting there, staring out in a rather disappointed manner (I know this from when I saw it in Paris last year and I am course an expert on facial expressions). If I wanted that, I’d just tell my girlfriend the joke about the difference between jam and peanut butter. If you don’t get what I mean then I apologise deeply but you could Google the answer to that joke…just saying.
G64, for me, encapsulates everything that can go right with a game of its time. It was graphically competent (hahaha, I know), had a great storyline (couldn’t really go wrong when it’s based on an awesome movie), fantastically fun multiplayer and cheats that made me literally rofl an entire waffle. However there is something about G64 that some people don’t know, something minor and barely noticeable. When G64 was released, the universe was never the same again with stars realigning and the dead coming back to life… not in a zombie apocalypse kind of way though. It was more like a “Casper the Friendly Ghost – Living Edition!” kind of way. This was simply due to how awesome the game was…true story. I remember playing G64 and thinking “Damn, I need that watch that’s also a PAUSE menu”, yeah you heard me a freaking PAUSE menu…which also doubled up as a stun dart gun, laser cutter, remote mine detonator and time piece! I mean, who didn’t want to be Bond, from the movies alone?! Now you’re telling me I can BE James Bond in a game? It was too much too take but at the same time still not close enough for me.
How many of you out there still want to just go nuts and go into a Matrix style world where you can be whoever or whatever you want? Personally I think the idea of being Solid Snake and crawling around in a box with eye holes at work would be too awesome to pass up on. Or maybe even just dressing up as Dizzy the Egg and bouncing round the place like the adventurous egg that he was? Games were always a way of unlocking that childhood imagination of wanting to slay dragons and play with your imaginary friend. It’s simply the fact that your imaginary friend is now in full HD graphics and can full interact with you. The concept of imaginations throughout the world has never changed, it’s just that the technology is now able to convey it fully these days. So, whilst I’m brainstorming awesome new ways to make games a real life thing, why don’t you tell me some of the characters that you wanted to be as a kid, or still do? I love seeing some of the hilarious costumes people make for CosPlay conventions or the ideas people post for games. It’s nice to know that physically or mentally, someone, somewhere is putting their imagination into action. So if you know of any great pictures, feel free to post them. Pictures of cute women dressing up as Link from Zelda are perfectly ok with me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play with Spyro the Dragon in my garden…