Cave Story and happiness

Played a bit of Cave Story on the Wii this evening. (It’s for-pay on the Wii, but was originally released—and is still available—as a free Flash game.) It does play a bit like some sort of combination of Metroid (the first) and Mega Man, but graphically it exists somewhere between the NES and SNES.

Andy noted that none of our group of friends has played the Flash version of the game, despite reading all about the great excitement building over the (then-impending) Wii version… and theorized that it was all generated hype, and so not really worth playing or paying for. I figured Andy was just trying to rationalize ignoring the game.

Verdict? It’s fun. I haven’t played enough, however, to know whether or not it is as excellent as Kotaku claims:

Have you ever gone back to play an old Nintendo, Sega Genesis, or Super Nintendo game that you used to love, only to find that it didn’t play quite like you remember it playing? It’s as if your mind only stores the good elements of the games you’ve played in the past, and revisiting them uncovers flaws you might not have seen back when you first plugged in the cartridge and took game pad in hand. It’s like you have two games: the actual game, with all its flaws, and the ideal game, molded into near perfection by your imperfect memory. For me, Cave Story is that ideal game. It isn’t simply reminiscent of the games I used to play as a much younger man; it’s what I remember them to be.

Fahey brings up a fascinating point, whether or not you care about video games: what we remember and what the actual experience was like at the time can be two very different things. There’s a TED talk, the riddle of experience versus memory, that explores that unexpected dichotomy and is well worth 20 minutes of your time.

(This is interesting stuff! My favorite college class was an introduction to systems theory and thinking, which had a number of similar “hey, that kinda makes sense!” moments.)

I seem to put a whole lot of weight on the “experiencing” self that lives in the moment, and much less on the “remembering” self… which is why I generally prefer to stay home, in comfort, rather than travel around the world. That, in turn, might explain why I’m such a lousy storyteller in general—because I favor immediate comfort over remembered pleasure, I don’t have many stories to tell… and so don’t have much experience in telling stories, compared to the average person.

Examined in the light of my generally poor memory—an impediment to telling stories in and of itself—my homebody tendencies make some sort of sense. (That said, of course I have fond memories of the trips I have gone on.)


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