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With the recent re-release of Sonic Adventure 2 and NiGHTS into Dreams on PSN and XBLA, I am reminded of a terror that has kept me away from my childhood gaming favorites for quite some time. This beast lurks in the dark recesses of what I affectionately call my "box of retro gaming."

It is a tormentor. A devourer. It seduces you with fond and wonderful feelings, and when you least expect it, it stabs you in the back and leaves you in a ditch to rot. Few dare utter its name, and I do so here in the hopes that some may be saved from its ferocity.

This beast is known simply as nostalgia.


Let us travel back in time, for a moment, to the days of the Saturn and the Dreamcast. Those poor, doomed consoles were host to Sonic Adventure 2 and NiGHTS into Dreams — two games that sucked us in when we were younger. Everything about these games was great (in our young minds, anyway). The graphics were amazing, the gameplay was fluid, and the experience was simply sublime.

Like many of you, I was elated when the PSN/XBLA re-releases were announced. I would get to play a couple of my old favorites in stunning HD. As soon as the downloads were finished, I pulled up my chair, got comfortable, booted up the games…

…and then nostalgia reared its ugly, disgusting head. 

Yikes. The years haven't been kind to NiGHTS.

As I waded through the wreckage, I found that I wasn't getting the same kind of childish glee from these games as I did in the past. Don't get me wrong; I do still enjoy both of these games. However, I can't totally expel the objectivity in my mind whispering "this game's nowhere near as good as you remember it." Clunky graphics (which the HD only serves to accentuate), an unwieldy camera (especially bad in NiGHTS; couldn't they simply zoom the camera out a little bit?), and myriad bugs litter these games.

Oh, my. I'm not sure you want to pet that, Sonic….

A lot of games from my childhood suffer this tragic fate — particularly those from the age of the Atari 2600. One day, I had a whim to experience the evolution of gaming … backward. Immediately after playing FIFA '12, I dug out my Sega Genesis and played a few rounds of John Madden Football '92. It was jarring, to say the least.

But I wasn't satisfied. I popped in Realsports Football for the Atari 2600. The first words out of my mouth were "How did we bear playing this?" It was a nightmare. It's a bit depressing that my treasured childhood memories don't stand the test of time. 


I do enjoy my time playing all of these games, even Realsports Football most of these games. However, I must pass along a warning to readers. If you value your childhood gaming memories, be very careful about what you play, lest ye fall to the malevolent machinations of nostalgia.