A few months ago we launched a weekly series entitled “Throwback Thursday” on our social media. Over the course of these posts, we showcased some of the experiences we had with the games we used to play when we were kids.
These publications compile lots of fond memories from the times when we were starting to discover titles, playing coop with our siblings and friends, enjoying playing online for the first time, roaming isometric RPGs, and jumping our way through our first platformers.
It is fascinating to delve into what made us into the gamers we are today and how this influenced our genre and gameplay preferences. As such, most of the respondents to the query gathering stories for the creation of Throwback Thursday have a sweet tooth for action and RPG games.
In the course of the series, our participants discussed the following games: Mario 64, Fortress 2, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Spyro, Gothic, Super Mario World, Step On It, Monkey Island, World of Warcraft, and Baldur’s Gate.
Bastien tells us about the French version of Mario 64.
Why did Mario 64 stick with you?
Peach’s mansion was such a huge world to explore. Every painting led to a completely different experience, and controlling Mario was just so much fun. Every star was different, too. It felt like I had endless possibilities.What is your favorite cutscene?
A: The ending cutscene with its music still gives me shivers every time I hear it.
Any advice for new players?
A: Collecting all 120 Stars was NOT worth it – Yoshi is a fraud!
Kyulee remembers the joys of meeting with friends to play Fortress 2, a tank shooter, in internet cafés.
Why did Fortress 2 stick with you?
It was the very first online game I played. I think we were in 5th grade, and my friends and I would go straight to a nearby PC game arcade after school, known as “PC Bang” in Korean, to play this game for hours.What is your favorite cutscene?
It’s a shooter game using tanks. So I guess the best scenes were the moments when I shot my friends’ tanks and heard them yelling from the other side of the PC Bang!
Any news on the game?
I stopped playing it after a year or two, and the game was terminated in 2011. Somehow I’ve never been able to get into any other shooter games since then.
Francesco remembers his time playing the original release of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back on PlayStation!
Why did Crash Bandicoot 2 stick with you?
Before purchasing a PlayStation, I mostly played platformers on the Game Boy (Super Mario Land and Wario Land games) and went to friends’ houses to play football games on the PS. It was great (and initially extremely challenging!) to experience my first platformer on a console! Most of all I loved the environments and the music, as well as the main character and his funny face.What is your favorite gameplay moment?
I absolutely loved the snow levels where you rode on Polar’s back! The first time I tried one I was crazy about it and kept playing it again and again!
Do you still play the game?
I finished it a thousand times and it’s still my favorite among all the Crash Bandicoot games I’ve played. I sometimes still play it, both the original version and the revamped one from 2018.
Faith recalls playing a game that most of us have fond memories of indeed: Spyro on PS1!
Why was playing Spyro so memorable to you?
Spyro was such a memorable experience for me simply because I spent way too much time playing it. For a long time, it was the only game I owned, so I would play it over and over again. When we’re children, we often feel powerless and small. Spyro is about saving dragons and defeating enemies, and I was really good at it! It somehow gave me confidence and power, which we all need growing up.Do you have a favorite level?
I loved playing the entire Ice Cavern world because it reminded me of my real world, in Canada.
What about the remaster trilogy, have you tried it?
Playing the Reignited Trilogy is such a blast from the past. I played it so much as a kid that when I play the new version as an adult, I really feel like a kid again!
Adam takes us back to the early 2000s and a deep-seated struggle between orcs and humans with Gothic on PC!
Why was playing Gothic so memorable to you?
Gothic wasn’t very user-friendly, didn’t explain a lot, and was really challenging. You could take a wrong turn and get one-shot killed by a monster you weren’t supposed to go up against yet. As a kid I tried to lure every monster to friendly NPCs because I was so scared and bad at combat. That backfired eventually because I got hardly any XP and was super underleveled to progress in the game.Do you have a favorite gameplay moment?
NPCs just get up and kill you if you annoy them too much. If a merchant charges too much, you can kill him and steal his wares. There are so many great dialogs too, like when you approach the first big town and ask the bridge guard if that’s the town you were supposed to head to and he answers, “No, the town is under this bridge, you moron.”
It was one of the first games in which you could kill nearly anyone, making it a unique experience with different approaches to finish quests. It was also quite buggy, but in a good way with a lot of funny interactions.
Karolina reminds us of an infamous plumber and his constant quest to save the princess: Mario in Super Mario World!
Why was playing Super Mario World so memorable to you?
I played the game with my brother as a kid, and it brings back the memories of my childhood and the afternoons after school competing for who could play longest without losing a life.Do you have a favorite cutscene?
I don’t have a favorite cutscene, but whenever I hear the music it instantly takes me back to this time, so it’s some real 90’s nostalgia for me.
The game was only available in English to me, and it was confusing to me as a kid, but it also encouraged me to take my English classes more seriously!
Jill explores the joy of playing Step On It! with her sister on what is still an unconventional gaming platform to this day: Mac!
Why was playing Step On It! such a fond experience for you?
Step On It! was a puzzle-platformer by Casady & Greene that was all about placing blocks to guide your characters past enemies and obstacles. I played this game with my sister when we were kids, and we had each level down so well that we knew all the secret treasure locations by heart. I think there were 99 levels (plus some bonus stages), and we must’ve played them all hundreds of times.Do you have a favorite gameplay moment?
When you reached the end of a level, the screen would give you that amazing 90’s rainbow tunnel effect. That was always a huge thrill. After that, your scores would be shown on screen while a voice shouted “Hey ho! Hey ho!” for each number that appeared. And I still get the music stuck in my head from time to time.
Any anecdotes about your experience with gaming as a child?
Growing up with only Macs around, I played a lot of obscure games. Luckily, many of them were coop, so my siblings and I (who have always preferred coop in games) had hours and hours of fun together.
Shirley brings back memories of cartoons and point-and-click games with the Monkey Island Series on PC!
Why was playing Monkey Island so memorable to you?
I played those games over and over again and again because every time you’d find some more hints and allusions to other games of that genre. Also, as you get older, you see all the references to the real world that you may have missed as a kid. It’s good shit!Do you have a favorite gameplay moment?
“A Pirate I Was Meant To Be”. Have a look on YouTube—it’s a gem!
Any anecdotes about the game?
Monkey Island (and LucasArts adventures from that time especially) is well known for its super incredible translations. Boris Schneider-Johne has grown into a legend among gamers!
Sergio recalls some of the experiences he had while playing World of Warcraft with friends back in the early 2000s.
Why was playing WoW so memorable to you?
At that time, I was not good in school. Playing WoW with the few friends I had helped me open up to people and make new acquaintances, who are still my friends today. I find it incredible how, in Wow, you can develop skills such as teamwork, communication skills, and commitment. In my case, I had get-togethers for raids on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The good old days!Do you have a favorite gameplay moment?
The first time our guild finished the Trial of the Crusader raid together. What a rush of adrenaline!
Any anecdotes about the game?
One of my friends was playing in English and it was funny when he was trying to explain something to me and I didn’t get it at all. It’s really shocking how localization changes your approach to a game.
Valerio recalls playing a gamers’ favorite and quite simply a legendary game: Baldur’s Gate on PC!
Why was playing Baldur’s Gate so memorable to you?
Why? You can pick up its D&D campaign any time you feel like it; no waiting until next Sunday, no friends bailing on you. What a dream for a teenager!Do you have a favorite gameplay moment?
The vile killing of Drizzt Do’Urden!
Any anecdotes about the game?
The motto “Spade, non sciarade!” (EN: “Swords! Not words!”) sticks to this day in the mind of whoever played the game!