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Nostalgia is brilliant: how men in tights saved a weekend

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 11:47 GMT By Dave Cook

WWE 13 may not be GOTY material, but its Attitude mode serves up a heady dose of rollicking nostalgia. Dave Cook discusses why fond memories often justify flaws.

We all have special memories attached to media. Music and movies are both timeless and revisiting them years after our first experience can often throw up fond recollections of a misspent youth or a special person in our lives. That is a powerful thing indeed.

Games haven’t really been around that long by comparison, but I guarantee that every single gamer out there has at least one comforting memory tied to their experience with the medium. It could be as simple as a crushing last minute victory in FIFA, or even the first time they took a dive down to BioShock’s Rapture.

Some of the moments we wish we could erase from the mind and relive with fresh eyes. After all, the tenth time you see the heart-wrenching end of Shadow of the Colossus might not bear the same impact as that shocking initial experience.

It’s a luxury we can’t afford unfortunately, but thinking back to that first moment of shock and awe, then stringing together your place in the world at the time can be comforting. For example, when I first saw the end of Shadow of the Colossus I was a poor student back home in Scotland, working a naff job at Blockbuster video.

Not exactly glamorous, but those were good times for a range of reasons, and it’s a string of moments that I’ll never forget as long as I live. That games can do this to us makes the stigma that a few select dinosaurs still have about the gaming format seem all the more ludicrous.

Games get inside your head, they manipulate, enthuse, excited and at times, irritate. But whenever a game presents us with a mediocre experience, we can often forgive its shortcomings if it gives us a sense of nostalgia in tandem. It’s something that makes players – and sometimes critics – more forgiving in their appraisal.

But is that right? Should critics be more forgiving when fan service and nostalgia is offered up in droves? I asked myself this back in October when playing Resident Evil 6, and as some of you might remember, I savaged Capcom’s game on this very site.


Do it! Come on, I dare you both!

It’s not because I hate the series, but it’s because I’m such a big fan that I found the game to be an insult to my nostalgia. I remember playing the first game under-age at my friend’s house after school and getting genuinely scared when the zombie dogs jump though the window. You know the one I mean.

I actually, almost had a sense of forgiving nostalgia when playing Resident Evil 6 when Leon and Helena escape Tall Oaks university and start making their way through the city streets. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god, this is Resident Evil 2′s opening moments! But…in 3D. This is the best thing ever,’ which of course was a stupid thing to think.

Then the fat zombie came along and reminded me how clunky and archaic the whole sordid mess had become. That’s just my opinion of course, and again it’s because I had high expectations of a series that I held dear in my memories. The PSone-era Resident Evil games were something we’d chat about in high school, and we’d each have our own stories.

‘How did you kill the alligator? Did you use the gas canister or just shoot it?’ ‘How do you kill the giant snake in the attic?’ ‘Have you guys unlocked Tofu yet?’ Simple questions, but with a wealth of fond memories attached.

I finally forced myself to finish Leon’s Residnet Evil 6 campaign at the weekend, and once the shockingly abrupt and cheesy ending had come to pass, I was so miffed I looked at other games I had yet to start.

At the top of the pile was WWE ’13. Now, I’m not au fait with wrestling in general any more, but I used to be a huge fan back in the day, so I took to Twitter to ask if it was worth playing through the ‘Attitude’-era campaign, and the feedback was a resounding ‘yes’.

Interestingly, many people I consulted said that the game was far from perfect, and was prone to odd glitches, as well as being a little rough around the edges. But everyone said the same thing: that it was still worth playing for the Attitude content for nostalgic purposes alone.

The Attitude era was a period in WWE history that saw the arrival of the most memorable characters and plot lines ever drafted in the history of the brand. Mankind, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker’s brother Kane all lit up our screens back in 1998.

I loved those years, I truly, truly did. I hold so many dear memories of those years, such as getting cable TV in my bedroom for the first time to watch Monday Night Raw repeats on Fridays, and Smackdown on Saturday, and playing Duke Nukem 3D deathmatch with my best mate over PSone link-up before the show aired.

I remember seeing Undertaker throw Mick Foley several feet through the air and into the commentator’s table during their iconic Hell in the Cell match. I remember Stone Cold Steve Austin battling WWE president Vince McMahon on a weekly basis. I remember the first hardcore matches, the disruption of Degeneration-X, and the smack-talking antics of The Rock.

Seriously, hands up if you remember and loved this back in the day:

Thanks to John88026 for the clip.

So with those memories in mind I started the game, and quickly found it to be a clunky mess, but really I was just shit at it. The tutorials didn’t help much, but my Twitter followers urged me to keep going and yeah, it all started to make sense.

The Attitude content opens with the formation of Degeneration-X, and serves up a detailed and entertaining account – almost like a playable documentary of events that would see the WWE finally surpass long-time rival WCW in the Monday night ratings war.

Even the garbled, foamy-mouthed commentary from Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Jim Ross has been transferred from the actual matches in question, giving each memorable bout an authentic edge. Hearing JR shout about barn-burners, slobber-knockers and car wrecks never gets old either.

The whole thing has been treated with so much respect and love that even though I can’t stand wrestling now, I still became sucked back into the late ’90s, and laughed in glee at the silly pantomime insanity unfolding on my screen.

That’s just one example of the power of nostalgia. It can make our opinion turn at the drop of a classic quip, or a well-placed piece of fan service. It clouds your judgement for sure, and although critics should always leave such feelings out of reviews, many of them don’t, and mark games up based on their fan service.

Is that right, or does it muddy the verdict? Everyone’s nostalgic feelings are different after all. What’s applicable to the reviewer might not be to the reader, and so you enter this grey area where you start to wonder if a game is being appraised fairly or not.

But all I know is that I’m loving the mechanically average WWE 13 because of its fan service, even if I can admit it has issues. So to you tight and trunk-wearing juggernauts of old, I have to say thanks for salvaging what could have been a very shitty Saturday night.

Disclosure:

  • To help write this article Dave used the following promotional games sent at review stage via publishers: WWE ’13, Resident Evil 6.

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1 Comments

  1. GwynbleiddiuM

    That is true, one man’s nostalgia can influence n article. But, at the same time we know that reviewers are publishing their own understanding and opinion about the game they criticize. So, that article maybe influenced by many factors, it is still one man’s understanding of the product, the way he/she played it, enjoyed it or despised it. I for one think Nostalgia is good, it brings back memories, it also alerts you more to the things you expected, but they were never delivered. It might influence your criticism, but that influence can be positive as well as negative, I find it fair nonetheless.

    As far as WWE 13 goes, I don’t know haven’t played it, mostly because thanks to international trade sanctions against my country, price of everything is x2-3 higher. A 60 USD game that I used to buy between 900,000 to 1,200,000 Rials, is now around 2,700,000 rials. Even though this one was that WWE game I wanted to buy, There’s the BEST IN THE WORLD, C.M. PUNK on the cover, it has Attitude era, and I hear CM Punks story is great.

    #1 2 years ago

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    During yesterday’s Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo Direct showcase, many details pertaining to the Monolith Soft title were announced, and quite a bit of gameplay was shown. The Wii U-exclusive contains real-time menu-based combat and four-player online questing along with diverse environments and the ability to use Skells, which are transforming mechs. These mechs are called […]

  • Here’s a look at The Elder Scrolls Online running on Xbox One

    The Elder Scrolls Online has a limited public beta test running this weekend on PS4 and Xbox One, and Eurogamer has been playing around in it. Have a look at the Khajiit sorcerer below in the Xbox One version. There isn’t an NDA in place for the beta, so expect to see more videos as […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 leaks reveal Zombie progression system, four-player co-op, more

    More Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 details surfaced overnight thanks to a leaked pamphlet with information pertaining to Zombies XP progression, four-player co-op and more. Posted on NeoGAF, the pamphlet the shooter will contain a new movement system, a Specialist character system for multiplayer, tailored maps, “cinematic arena-style play,” and complete character customization. The […]

  • Gears of War Remaster in the works for Xbox One, according to testers – report

    Overnight, a rumor surfaced claiming a remastered version of the original Gears of War was coming to Xbox One. According to playtesters, it isn’t a rumor at all. Polygon first broke the story, citing a source who showed the site sreencaps of the Locust invasion with updated visuals. Screenshots of the multiplayer showing improved lighting […]

  • GameStop promo outs Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for November, pre-order for access to beta

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will be released in November, according to what appears to be a leaked GameStop store promo posted on Kotaku. The exact date is November 6, which isn’t a surprise to anyone. On the promo, it notes that those who pre-order will be granted beta access for PC, PlayStation 4 […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Double XP and Elite Bonus weekend has kicked off

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players can earn Double XP along with Elite Bonus on all platforms. There is even Double XP and Double Weapon XP on offer for Black Ops 2. The dry run is over. Prep for the Sunday reveal of #BlackOps3 begins now. 2XP/2XweapXP is live. pic.twitter.com/rn6SVtVJbY — Treyarch Studios (@Treyarch) April […]

  • Atlus makes “minor edits” to Dungeon Travelers 2 in order to avoid AO rating

    Atlus has announced it has made “minor edits” to four in-game images contained in Dungeon Travelers 2 to avoid an AO rating by the ESRB. According to a press release from the company, localization sometimes require changes to content in order for it to be “understood en masse,” which is why it worked closely with […]

  • Battlefield Hardline is 40% off through Origin this weekend

    The standard edition of Battlefield Hardline on PC is 40% off this weekend through EA’s Origin service. The Digital Deluxe Edition is also 40% off and includes various Battlepacks unavailable in the standard version. You can also pick up the Battlefield Hardline Ultimate edition for 23% off, which comes with all four planned expansions through […]

  • Submerged is an exploration-adventure game coming to multiple platforms

    Submerged is the latest title in development from Uppercut Games, and the exploration-adventure game is coming to PlayStation 4 and other platforms this year. The game takes place in a flooded city which Miku and her wounded brother Taku have reached by boat. Miku needs to find a safe place for her brother to rest […]

  • These screenshots for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt show superb attention to detail

    Some gorgeous new screenshots for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have surfaced, and a couple are wallpaper worthy. Especially the one with the horse, but as you’re well aware, I’m horse crazed. The images below in the gallery have been scaled to fit properly, but if you head over to NeoGAF you can bask in […]

  • Namco kicks off Humble Store partnership with Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

    Namco Bandai has started offering its PC titles on Humble Store, and this includes the recently released Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. Other titles include Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and Project Cars. “In Japan, the Bandai Namco Group companies are known for supporting different charity programs and we are very happy to be […]

  • World of Tanks: 2,000 Bonus codes to give away

    Already have a World of Tanks account? We’ve got 2,000 codes for players to top up their Gold and Premium days. This weekend sees the World of Tanks Grand Finals take place in Poland, and we’ve got a bunch of game codes to give away to celebrate. Each Bonus PC code offers 150 Gold and […]

  • Mad Max contains Top Dog camps with boss fights

    Mad Max will have bases which vary in difficulty, some of which are considered a “finale” for a particular region and feature a boss fight. Speaking in the latest issue of GamesMaster via GamesRadar, the game’s producer John Fuller said this allows players to tailor their experience by deciding how much of a challenge they […]

  • Just Cause 3 gameplay trailer reveal coming next week

    Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 28, because you won’t want to miss the gameplay reveal of Just Cause 3. Avalanche tweeted the date along with a teaser, as seen below. The box art has also made an appearance. Keep an eye on the game’s YouTube page, and we’ll be sure to post the video […]

  • First paid Skyrim Steam Workshop mod has been pulled

    Valve’s new incentive which allows modders to charge for their creations hasn’t been live for 24 hours yet, and already, one mod has been pulled. The mod in question was Chesko’s Fishing Mod for Skyrim, which the creator pulled after a community member questioned whether Chesko had permission from the creator of the character-idle animations […]

  • Resident Evil HD Remaster has sold over one million copies worldwide

    The HD remaster of Resident Evil has sold over one million copies worldwide since its January 20 release, Capcom has announced. The company attributed the sales milestone to producing a “great product” along with excellent word of mouth and praise from fans. In February, Capcom said Resident Evil HD Remaster was its fastest-selling digital title […]

  • The Crew: the Raid Car Pack and Raid Live Update now available for download

    The Crew players can now download the Raid Car Pack which is the last of four themes car packs. The Raid Live Update is also available, and it contains six new tuning specs. The car pack contains three new cars: the 2012 Cadillac Escalade, the off-road 2011 Volkswagen Touareg NF and the McLaren F1 supercar. […]

  • Geralt is very professional in the latest Witcher 3: Wild Hunt TV spot

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a new TV spot that’s short and to the point. The latest Witcher 3 trailer comes in the form of TV spot. It’s all CGI, and it looks good. If you’re more into gameplay trailers, the latest one will serve you well. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out […]

  • Steam roguelike sale is live, offers deep discounts on a stellar collection of titles

    If you’re into challenging, procedurally-generated, and infinitely-replayable games, Steam’s current sale will hook you up. Steam is hosting a sale on roguelike games. Plenty of titles in the genre are on sale for upwards of 75% off. Highlights include Risk of Rain at 75% off, Don’t Starve at 66% off, Spelunky at 75% off, FTL: […]

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 finally gets online co-op in Raid Mode on Xbox One

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has been patched to support online play in Raid Mode on Xbox One. The Xbox One version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 lacked online support in Raid Mode for a long time. Until today. A new patch has been released to bring that version in line with the rest of them. […]

  • A section in Killing Floor 2′s EULA about cyberbullying is riling up some fans

    Killing Floor 2 has recently got into a bit of trouble with some fans due to a clause in its EULA that gives the developer the right to revoke a user’s license without prior notice. The Killing Floor 2 EULA – just like many others found in modern games, has a section dedicated to cheating […]

  • World of Tanks: 2,000 free tanks and in-game cash to giveaway

    To celebrate the World of Tanks grand finals this weekend we’ve got some great freebies to give away to new players. We have 2,000 PC invite codes to giveaway, with each one offering new accounts a T2 Light Tank, 100 Gold and 1 Days Premium worth around €8.00. All you need to do is enter […]

  • Marvel announces partnership with Telltale, first game due in 2017

    Marvel and Telltale have entered into a partnership that will allow the developer to work on a new game series, due in 2017. Telltale has announced that it has partnered with Marvel Games, Marvel Entertainment’s video games division, for the development of a new game series. No indication was given as to what the new […]

  • Destiny: Bungie is not saying no to a player trading system

    Bungie has not completely ruled out the idea of bringing a trading system to Destiny. Destiny does not offer any way for players to trade items amongst themselves. But ever since the game’s release, players have never stopped asking Bungie to add one in. While the developer does not have a satisfying answer, it’s still […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for April 24, 25 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    The weekend Exotics market run by Xur: Agent of the Nine is now open for business. Destiny’s bizarre vendor, Xur, has arrived at the Tower. Xur is your man if you’re looking for Exotic armour or weapons. Not only that, but he will also let you exchange your old Exotic gear for new, upgraded versions. […]

  • Warcraft movie delayed yet again

    The Warcraft movie will no longer hit theatres in March 2016. The release date of the Warcraft movie has been pushed back by three months. The movie was expected in March 2016, but Legendary Pictures announced yesterday that it is now due on June 10, 2016. No reason was given for the delay. This is […]