If there are times while videogaming that stand out above all others to me, it'd be while I was playing a really good game with friends. I love games like THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, RESIDENT EVIL, and ETERNAL DARKNESS that are a one-on-one experience. Sometimes those games are the ones that stay with you the longest. But then again, my best memories of gaming have always come while trouncing an opponent.
Recently, my favorite pastime has been SEGA SOCCER SLAM for the GameCube. My friend David and I play regularly - the match-up consisting of my Volta vs. his Toxic. There's something very rewarding about a guy in a kilt scoring a goal. Regardless, best out of three inevitably turns into a best of five... seven... and so on. Heck, sometimes it even settles disputes, like who was going to drive all night around to different parties (gas is expensive you know). But besides just the straight up fun, legendary moments are made. Like the time I came back from a 9-4 half-time deficit (stupid goalie) to win 20-18 (our highest scoring game). Or the game where he took twice as many shots, but my 50% goal average won out. Or even the time he finally beat me.
Friendly competition is always great. STREET FIGHTER 2 would have never gotten as far without the bragging rights... who could last the longest? I organized all-nighters of both GOLDENEYE and PERFECT DARK, and experienced some of the most interesting conversations, late-night walks, and deathmatches. Usually the next week was a recap: "hey remember all those times I nailed you with the farsight?"
Bragging rights are important. My first trip to E3 with VIDEOGAMERS.COM had me sharing a hotel room with Josh Romero, a writer for the same publication (We had six guys crammed in one bed bedroom).
I guess it's always easier to remember your victories. We'd prefer to forget those times when some kid kicks us around in SMASH BROS. MELEE, or you happen to look like an idiot dancing next to some Japanese kid while attempting to play DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION. But honestly, the ultimate moments in multiplayer gaming were cooperative ones.
I need only one game to make my point in this case. That game is an NES classic that never had a sequel do it justice. A game that I still play with friends to this day over stuff like SOCCER SLAM, HALO, and METAL GEAR SOLID 2. A game with flying Falcon Wing UFO power-ups, collapsing bridges, a giant heart boss at the end, and one hell of a co-op mode. If you haven't guessed by now, that game is CONTRA. CONTRA is so much fun to play. Finding a copy of this gem is very difficult to do now... you might be able to find it on the internet. And we may actually see it on the Game Boy Advance soon (as long as it has link support for co-op). This gives me an idea for a videogaming 101 feature, pre-requisite games... hmm....
Three new Sonic games are planned for the Game Boy Advance and GameCube, http://www.kentpaul.com.
There is nothing on store shelves to recommend this week. Unless SEGA SMASH PACK somehow makes it out a day or so early. Save your pennies for the jam-packed fall.
Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Videogame column.Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.