"It'll happen to you too, sonny!"

You never think about this until you get to that point, but it’s hard to talk about the past without relying on phrases such as “back in the day” or “in the good old days” or “when I was kid” because you immediately feel ancient.  At least it is for me.  So sit down, kiddies, because Old Man Specialist is about to tell a story.  A story about videogames (after the jump but before I begin snoozing).

It used to be that, before the Internet and XBox Live and all that jazz, if you and your friends wanted to play two-player videogames, you took your controller and rode your bike to your friend’s house (or vice-versa) and played videogames.  It was even better if one of you happened to have a rental.  You played the fire out of that game because you only had the weekend to finish it to the end.

At least in my neighborhood, we all had either a Nintendo or Sega (but never both).  The gaming landscape was far different than what it is today, and a lot of the things that are commonplace today did not exist in the ’80s and ’90s (the latter being my generation).  For instance, you couldn’t always get the latest trendy game because there was no GameStop where you could trade-in a new game every week.  Gaming websites such as GameFaqs were not around to bail you out of a tough spot.  Unless Nintendo Power covered it, you were basically lost unless you knew a buddy who was good at your game.

And herein is where it gets good.

Because every so often I would rent a game that a buddy of mine either had played or owned.  And usually, he was way better at it than I was.  And gladly, I let him take the controller and would watch him go through it for me.  I didn’t mind.  I stunk.  I am at best a moderately good gamer.  My skills have probably gotten better but only with age.  I think sometimes my parents got annoyed because they rented that game for MY enjoyment, but I was getting a greater enjoyment from watching someone else do it well.

Nowadays, I don’t have that many gaming friends anymore.  Those that do game play stuff like Halo or Call of Duty.  You know, those “pew pew” (first-person shooters) that everyone seems to love.  But not me.  I don’t like labels for gamers but if I had to pick one I’d choose “retro gamer” because I mostly play “old-school” stuff.  And I’m glad I’m not the only one.

You see, I still get stuck in places.  I no longer have friends that play the same stuff I’m playing and that are considerably good at it, so I turned to a rather unlikely source: YouTube.  Yes, I discovered a sub-culture of individuals that get their kicks out of playing the old-school games and recoding themselves playing.  And you what? I like it.  I like it a lot.  I still get the same level of enjoyment out of watching them as I did watching my buddy beat the game for me.

Their video exploits are called Let’s Play videos (or LPs).  They usually run through the game from beginning to end.  Some try to run the game “perfectly” (without being hit or taking damage) while others do it “blindly” (having never played the game before).  Some do audio commentary while others use subtitles.  Most stick with old-school games like Mario, Mega Man, Donkey Kong Country, or Sonic, while others try new stuff.

I’d like to briefly spotlight four of my favorite channels on YouTube that do LPs.  I first came across Roahm Mythril’s channel while looking for Mega Man walk-throughs.  He’s an ace of Mega Man games, having gone through all the main games and beating the Robot Masters while taking no damage.  He has a great personality that comes across while he does his live commentary on his runs.  From him, I began to check out the channels of PinkKittyRose, a female gamer who is just as good at Mega Man as Roahm; Brian “Shagg” Shaggario, who is not quite as good but he’s hilarious to watch and listen to as he goes through a game, fail, and then give some self-deprecating remark (he’s really not as bad as he claims he is); and Kit, the Mega Man speed-runner.

Be sure to like this comment if you enjoyed a trip down memory lane or you like LPs.  Leave your comments in the section below and share.  Be sure also to check out these channels:

http://www.youtube.com/RoahmMythril

http://www.youtube.com/PinkKittyRose

http://www.youtube.com/kuposan3 (Shagg)

http://www.youtube.com/kittah4 (Kit)

~My Two Cents

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