Surfing the internet the other day I ran into an article containing a screenshot of the classic LucasArts adventure game, Day of the Tentacle. It’s funny how something small can often trigger a string of memories and upon seeing that image I starting thinking about how I felt when I first heard about the game.
Growing up my family would go to a video rental store every once in a while where I was allowed to rent one NES game. The store didn’t have a wide selection and soon I had played through most of its stock; all except one game, Maniac Mansion. At first I was hesitant to rent the game as I hadn’t heard of it before but I decided to give it a try. Despite my hesitations, after a few minutes of playing I was hooked. It was a style of game play I had only encountered through a Commodore 64 title except that Maniac Mansion had no combat. Using items to solve puzzles was exactly what I was looking for in a game and my heart dropped when we had to return it to the rental store.
Weeks passed and whenever my family would rent a movie I rented Maniac Mansion. My father eventually would comment, “Aren’t you tired of that game yet?” Never. I was determined to beat it and once I finally did, I wanted to beat it using all the different characters. My next birthday my parents gave me the game and I treasured the gift.
Years passed and the feelings of adoration I had for Maniac Mansion didn’t abate. Even now I’ll go back and play the game every once in a while. What I didn’t know for the longest time was that a sequel, Day of the Tentacle, had been released in 1993.
When I eventually found out, I couldn’t believe I had missed Day of the Tentacle’s release and couldn’t wait to get a copy right away. Discovering that the game existed gave me a raw excitement that I haven’t since felt about a video game.
These days with the world’s knowledge available in an instant from almost anywhere such a surprise is now rare. Seeing as I follow video game industry news, I know about games months, years even, before their release. Screenshots, trailers, and demos flood the internet giving you sneak peaks into upcoming games. Press releases announce new games being developed and Twitter carries word of indie gems.
This early knowledge about games isn’t a bad thing as it helps inform my gaming purchases. I’ve discovered more games this way than I would have if I wasn’t following the industry. Plus, if it really was a big deal to me I could just stop keeping tabs on the news.
But it’s fun to think back to a time where something like A SEQUEL TO MANIAC MANSION flew under my radar. Without giving up Twitter, blogs, and the internet I don’t see that kind of nice surprise happening again. While I may still get excited about a game coming out usually I’ve had some time to digest the news. Those were different times and now I pray that there’s some sequel to one of my beloved games I still don’t know about just waiting for my thrilled discovery.