Pangs, we all get them. When we’re hungry, that pang of guilt when you accidentally delete the recording of your wife’s favourite show, and the pang of nostalgia when something reminds us of the past. I recently got to satisfy one of my pangs for nostalgic retro gaming after I found a version of Amiga classic and one of my favourite games from back in the day, Pushover; on the Google play store
For those not familiar with the concept of Pushover. Think side scrolling platformer crossed with Domino Rally. You basically moved dominoes so they are knocked down in the correct order to unlock the exit of the level, with different coloured dominoes falling in different ways all within an ever decreasing time limit, simple.
To make things doubly awesome, this was all sponsored by Quavers crisps in probably one of the first game/product tie ins ever. You played as a character called G.I Ant an ant who went through each level in order to save Colin Curly’s (remember him?) Crisps.
Replaying this though has completely changed this game for me now. It seemed, different to before. Not bad as such as it was identical (except all the quavers imagery was removed) but it just didn’t seem as amazing as the first few times I played it, it just seemed well, rather ‘meh’. The challenge was still there of course, and the insanely hard difficulty of arranging the dominoes to fall precisely how you need them in order to trigger the exit of the level. But this time instead of the elation of completing the level I just got a feeling of relief that level was done and could be ticked off. A game I’d loved when I was a youngster now just filled me with indifference; and with an older and wiser head I was picking up all the flaws with it. The difficulty skyrocketing insanely quickly after about level 3 and the crappy password save system lovingly copied from the Amiga version. Saving meant starting the whole level you’d just done over again if you left the game half way through. This, as a concept would be ideal as a mobile puzzle game it should be amazing but to directly port it with no refinenents or adaptations for mobile play whilst stripping out what little story it had (even though it was essentially a giant advert) has made it a dissapointing trip down memory lane for me.
Sadly this has put me off from playing many really old games a bit. Going back to them after such a long break does mean you tend to compare them more to what you expect games of this generation to be like. Of course, this isn’t always the case; some of my faves do stand the test of time such as Gangsters: Organized Crime and Dungeon Keeper 2 and are regularly played. But others are avoided as deep down I know playing them now without the sepia tinted glasses of nostalgia and as an adult with my experience of modern gaming will send them and the memories I have of playing them the way of Pushover.