As one gets older, it is not uncommon to find less and less spare time to indulge in gaming due to work, family or any other combination of factors. What was once the mainstay time-waster of most kids growing up is now at best, an ad-hoc activity randomly slotted into one's schedule when time permits.

I do not encounter such reality checks. I'm one of those rare fortunate individuals that can spare upwards of 4 to 6 hours each day on gaming while balancing a full-time job and decent social life (which includes a non-gaming girlfriend of 6 years). Perhaps I'm deadly efficient or maybe I seriously have nothing better to do. Essentially, I'm able to follow a typical schedule of the 8 year-old me 2 decades later. Thank you for the envy, I know I'm lucky.

I've played my fair share of titles in each console generation since the 8-bit days. My gaming habits remain more or less similar to the past, and its not an exaggeration to say that I've spent an equivalent (frequently more) amount of time playing games like Valkyria Chronicles as I did with Shining Force years ago. However, I notice something different this time round. Ever since the PSX era, games seem to have lost their ability to 'stick' on me.

South Figaro

There is absolutely no reason or significance to remember this

'Stickiness' is a socialogical term used to describe the ability of a derived experience to leave a long-lasting impression in the mind, essentially how 'sticky' an impression remains over time. Games of the Playstation generation and beyond have somehow lost their innate ability to leave a 'sticky' impression on me. I can remember obscure details from most games I've played from the 8 to 16-bit era but cannot for the life of me remember so-called standard knowledge of more recent games. Without any research whatsoever, I can pinpoint the exact moment the infamous Spread Gun drop will appear in the first stage of Contra. I can hum any tune and describe in detail at which point it features in FFVI, while concurrently adding tidbits of random information particular to that in-game moment. I can regurgitate the 12-digit password from Mega Max X that puts the player right before Sigma's stage with full power-ups and health tanks after a decade of not touching the game. In comparison, I could not remember how to board my airship from Rabanastre in FFXII when I booted my gamesave up a couple of weeks ago, and I invested well over 200 hours on that game previously!

The last true 'sticky' game I encountered was probably FFVII, and a select few other PSX titles. No game since has really managed to leave a permanent mark such that years later I can revisit the game again as if I never left. Make no mistake, this is independent from the quality of the game. I'm just as apt at remembering random stuff from Antartic Adventure as I do with Mappy. And this uncanny ability of mine doesn't just apply to games. I'm able to do the same for most television programming I watched as a kid. Remember the original 1986 Transformers animated movie? I have the awkward ability to regurgitate the entire script from memory up to the point Megatron becomes Galvatron. I have also watched the movie less than 10 times in total. Ironically this mutant power did not seem to benefit me in real life, my grades in school were hardly anything to write home about.

Medical science will tell you this knack for remembering stuff has to do with kid's brains possessing heightened capabilities of absorption, allowing them to subconciously retain certain details permanently after short exposure. It is also a common truth that a person's first impression is usually always the deepest. But I would not put this past current entertainment lacking certain qualities making them 'sticky' to consumers either. Personally, I have no idea what this missing magic ingredient is. Nostalgia-bias seems like the easy answer but the message here is about the lack of 'stickiness' in newer software, not quality. Uncharted 2 was undoubtedly one of the most celebrated games this generation, but beyond the incredibly hot Chloe, I doubt anyone except hardcore fans of the series would remember much of it 2 decades down the road. Naturally, this ability hardly serves any purpose other than a giant declaration of extreme nerd-dom, but remains an interesting observation in the life and times of being a gamer.

What are your thoughts? What was your last 'sticky' game?