The Oracle

Video game throwbacks

The Oracle

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Written by: Mitch Donat, Emily Yao and Lucy Oyer

Star Wars Battlefront II

Flashback to seven years ago, and it would have been hard to find me anywhere but my couch, hunched over and staring at my television. I wasted so many hours working my thumb muscles playing one of the greatest video games ever launched: “Star Wars Battlefront II”. Playing this game again with its modern equivalent, “Call of Duty Black Ops,” reminded me why it had such an impact on me and showed me how it’s better than any role-playing game (RPG) to date.

In “Battlefront II,” it’s the same old stuff: right trigger to shoot, left trigger to aim. However, “Battlefront II” succeeds in areas that each “Call of Duty” to date fails in. In “Call of Duty”, one of the biggest issues players face are the sinful “campers”—those who sit in corners waiting for their next victim to walk obliviously around them. In Battlefront II, campers are nowhere to be found.

Along with constant head-to-head action, “Battlefront II” has a better system of killstreaks than “Call of Duty.” Instead of rewarding you with unfair chopper-gunners, which scream “Game over!” the moment they are placed in the sky, “Battlefront II” rewards you with Jedi Knights. These Jedi Knights only last for a certain amount of time. This means that once you earn the Jedi, it isn’t game over for the other team. It’s clear that “Star Wars Battlefront II” holds the upper hand on newer video games.

Playing “Battlefront II’s” traditional split-screen layout brings back the joys of what video games should be. This means having fun with your friends, together, rather than over internet servers. Instead of wasting up to 70 dollars on the next big “Call of Duty,” “Battlefront,” “Crysis” or any shooting RPG, go online and get a copy of “Battlefront II” for nearly a tenth of the price and experience ten times the enjoyment.

Street Fighter II

After losing almost every single game of “Street Fighter II Turbo” to my dad 12 years ago, I wish I could proudly say, “I’ve got the power,” today. I dug up my Super Nintendo from the garage and was determined to get my revenge, but unfortunately, it was the same old story: I failed. Miserably.

Thankfully, I have learned to roll with the punches because I will admit video games are not my forte. For me, my strategy has been to press buttons randomly and hope for the best. I have come to the conclusion that the more buttons I press, the less likely I will win.

Playing “Street Fighter” after a 12-year hiatus made me realize how much my skills have deteriorated. In the two-person game, whoever wins two rounds first moves on to the bonus round, in which he or she plays against the system. While playing against my dad, the percentage of times I make it to the bonus round has decreased from 5 percent in 2003 to 0.5 percent. He even admitted that most of the time he let me win.

Part of moving up levels is experimenting with other characters in order to find the perfect one. When I was younger, I always chose Dhalsim, the Indian yoga master, because of his long legs and arms. A few weeks ago, I chose Dhalsim again and was ecstatic when I made him breathe out fire. That is, until my thumb became too sore. I knew I had to move on to someone else, so I chose E. Honda, the Japanese sumo wrestler. All I had to do was continuously press the punch button until my opponent passed out.

Playing one of my favorite childhoodvideo games taught me many valuable life lessons, but most importantly, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone . Even though I’m far away from being as good as my dad or the system, I know that no matter what, I won’t give up without a fight.

Backyard Skateboarding

These days I wouldn’t consider myself much of a gamer. Aside from the occasional  game of “Llama or Duck” on my iPhone, I tend to shy away from the world of digital gaming. But this was not always the case. Flashback about eight years to the 2004 release of “Backyard Skateboarding,” and you will see a very different scene.

I cannot begin to recount how many of my childhood weekends were spent in front of my computer playing the “Backyard Sports” computer game series. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it features professional athletes as kids. In the case of “Backyard Skateboarding”, there is only one pro: Andy Mac. The premise of the game is that one must control Andy as he skates around the four different levels, completing various missions from “tour officials” to move on to the next location.

After a hiatus in my “Backyard Skateboarding” domination, I recently decided to give it another try. I found the challenges presented by the neighborhood kids and tour officials to be beyond easy for my able fingers, and advanced past the first level in record time. Next came the Boardwalk, then The Castle. At this point however, my patience began to wear thin. The first challenge of The Castle was difficult because every time I almost finished, Andy would get stuck due to a glitch in the graphics and he would reset to the beginning at which point there was no possible way to finish in the allotted time. Given that the particular official running this challenge held the keys to the drawbridge to enter the castle, it soon became apparent that it would take much too long to get into the castle and my interest was seriously waning. I got up to get a snack and have yet to return. It’s been two weeks. Despite the sad ending to my return to Backyard Skateboarding, I don’t regret a single hour spent on the game in my youth. It was a great game at the time, but while Andy Mac and the other Backyard kids may never grow up, I have… Who am I kidding, I’ve just found other ways to waste my time.


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Video game throwbacks