Recently, my better half turned me on (tee-hee) to the idea of listening to podcasts instead of music while at work (a brilliant move). Laura told me about the graphic design and cooking shows she had been enjoying, so I promptly hopped on iTunes and downloaded several video game related podcasts. Of the numerous options available on Apple’s store, 1up.com’s classic gaming podcast, Retronauts proved to be my favorite. A unique mix of video game history and personal retrospective, 1up’s podcast features engaging roundtable discussions on a variety of topics in the world of video games. Across the episodes, there is a common theme of dusting off some older games, taking the time to appreciate each title, and discover new secrets that our younger selves may have missed. It just so happens that my friends and I found a secret of our own in an arcade classic.
Last week, my friends and I decided to plow through the X-Men Arcade Game on Xbox Live. While playing, we reached a moment where one of us needed to step away from the console. Instead of pausing the game, the remaining players elected to elminate oncoming enemies (followed by jumping around like kangaroos). As we waited, the usual “Move On” arcade-arrow appeared, and blinked in the direction of our progress (which is always to the right). The guidance was ignored, and we patiently waited for our friend to return to the game. After what seemed like mere moments, a set of bombs drop from the ceiling, and annhilated our characters for their lack of progress. My friends and I were flabbergasted: in all of our years playing the X-Men Arcade Game, we had never seen these malicious bombs drop on our mutant heroes.
The main reason we had never encountered the mutant killing bombs is due to the way we used to play this game. Back in Ye Olde Days, X-Men: The Arcade Game was just as its title described, an arcade machine (which could be found in every Chuck E. Cheese in America). As a child, I relied on the kindness of my parents to supply me with the necessary quarters and time to enjoy arcade games. So when I played X-Men as a kid, there was an urgency to my methods; a compulsive need to see how far I could get on the limited supplies I was provided. Since the bombs were a punshiment for inactivity, there is no way I would have seen these explosives as a child on a mission. But as an adult playing X-Men with unlimited lives on my Xbox 360, my playing style has changed drastically. There is no longer a need to rush through the game, just to see how far I can get on a handful of pocket change. I can take my time and appreciate a classic title, and consequently, get blown up for admiring the scenery.
So as the holiday season fills the shelves with tons of new games, ripe for the playing, take some time to enjoy the older games in your library. After all, who knows what new secrets you will discover in your favorite games, so many years after that first playthrough?