A collection of my guilty pleasure articles about digital frippery.
When I was a wayward teenager growing up in the 90’s and spending countless bush kif dusted afternoons playing Street Fighter on the Megadrive in my friend’s garage, we were stumbling towards adulthood in the pre-internet age. No websites. No countless free previews, analyses, hype driven puff pieces and developer interviews at our fingertips to inform our choices. Money was scant and titles were few. So we turned to Hyper Magazine. It’s monthly foray’s into glossy evangelism built upon our nascent education at the hands of ZZAP 64! and C+VG to keep us in tardy touch with the latest mysterious movements from Japan, where all the best shit originated. You didn’t want to drop $100 on Bubsy. You wanted Fatal Fury. This shit was critical.
Whilst not yet the all encompassing overground phenomenon it is today, gaming was still deeply important to teenage boys. Along with the seemingly ubiquitous high school heavy metal band and the aforementioned green thumbed garden hose theft, it was an escape from suburban drudgery. A quarter circle punch to sinister geography teachers and muted expectations borne of white picket dreams. And though I drifted away from it in years to come, it’s still a hobby and a scene I like to keep an eye on, especially now that indies are in the ascendant. It’s partly to tickle the nostalgia gland and partly because I still believe at its finest it can actually be a powerful, transporting art-form. Also Castlevania simply rules.
So it was with some bemused pride I eventually found myself over twenty years later penning some pieces for the aforementioned Hyper Magazine website. A combination of nostalgic recollection and highlighting indies and the niche, with an emphasis on the personal. I was given the freedom to wax about whatever takes my fancy, which meant I could shine a torch on what is worthy, whilst occasionally ladling some scorn on cartoon villains (sorry Goldeneye). They’re fun to write about. To re-visit. And in an era of opaque black clouds and zeitgeist anxiety it can be comforting to nestle momentarily in the folds of a more familiar age. Look only to the success of ‘Ready Player One’ and the NES classic for confirmation of that particular retreat.
So I figured I’d collect them here for you to scan if your afternoon drags. And maybe inspire you to give some of these titles a spin. You just might (re)discover something vital.