I often find myself thinking back to my childhood where my love for gaming was born. I can picture it like it was yesterday, a young Arielle lying on the floor on her tummy, controller in hand, in front of my parents old bubble TV (if you don’t know what that is, it was basically the complete opposite of the curved screens of today) that used to shock you if you accidentally touched it. I remember the carpet leaving marks and patterns in my skin and me not caring a single bit because I was just so totally and completely lost in whatever game I was currently playing on my favourite thing in the whole world: my PlayStation 1. I remember the excitement I would feel when I passed a level I was stuck on, calling my parents to come and look and I remember the hours of laughter my friends and I would share when we would play together, taking turns with the controller until one of us died and we swapped back.
The game I associate these good times with most? one of my childhood favourites: Crash Bandicoot.
And my oh my, how times, and feelings have changed.
Let me take you into my world for a minute:
In December I got my own Nintendo Switch and I got it with a game that I wanted from the moment it was announced: Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy. Before we go on let’s just cover what the N Sane Trilogy actually is: it’s a collection of the original three titles “Crash Bandicoot”, “Cortex Strikes Back” and “Warped”. All remastered and reworked to look and play exactly how we always thought they looked and played back in the day (we just had great imaginations apparently):
I doubt you need my help in figuring out which side is which.
Okay now that you’re caught up, back to me:
I got the console and the game and less than an hour later I was sitting curled up in my comfy gaming chair, my partner nearby, curtains drawn for optimal lighting and snacks were within arms reach. It was a great day and everything was just right. Flash to an hour later and my chair was the single worst thing known to man, no matter how I sat it was wrong, there was this stupid beam of light shining directly into my eyes and my partner would. not. stop. CHEWING ON THE SNACKS. Earlier on in this post I told about how fondly I remember playing Crash as a kid. Well, one thing I didn’t mention was that in those memories I was actually really good at the game. I mean I distinctly remember being the friend that used to be asked to pass levels for my friends.
Flash to present day Arielle and “apparently” all those memories were nothing but filthy lies, not unlike how I thought the game ALWAYS looked good when actually, no, no it didn’t:
The difference between the look of the original and remaster is nothing compared to the difference in my skill in game, or lack thereof.
To add salt to the wound I can literally remember each and every level in vivid detail while going through them, only my hands clearly don’t share those same memories.
Memory: I was a small child with almost no prior gameplay experience, racing through all the levels, collecting all the fruit, nailing the time trails and just generally being a badass.
Now: A full-fledged adult who plays way more games than should be considered healthy, but yet when I play Crash all I do is die. A lot.
Honestly, I’m not someone who ever rages when playing games but Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy is INFURIATING – and yet, I can’t bring myself to stop playing it. The closest thing I can compare this whole experience to would be to tell you the story of that one time when I decided to make donuts and the donut caught on fire. I was left with this black, scorched rock that used to be a donut. I stood at the sink running it under the tap to extinguish the fames and, what do you think I then did? I took a bite out of it, that’s what I did. This ended up burning my tongue to shreds and I then needed to gulp down water. Of course, while still trying to regain feeling in my mouth, I took a breath of air and… took another bite. Why? Because for the briefest moment in time, before the pain set in, the donut had tasted pretty good.
And that is exactly what playing Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy feels like – like putting flames in your mouth and burning all your skin away… but for the briefest moment it tastes damn good. Regardless of the frustration the game delivers, at its core, it is still just as amazing as I remember and, somehow, that makes everything else worthwhile:
If you’re someone who played Crash Bandicoot in the past, or if you’re someone who just loves platform games, then without a doubt I recommend picking this one up. You can grab the game on PS4; PC; Nintendo Switch or Xbox One and through all of my frustrations and tantrums and wanting to throw things out of windows and tip tables over, it really is a great game and exactly how young Arielle remembers it.
Have you played the N Sane Trilogy yet? And if so, do you suck as much as I do? Let me know in the comments below… Unless you don’t suck in which case please don’t let me know, I don’t know how much more negativity I can take – the memory of young Arielle that’s constantly taunting me is more than enough.