Essay I Always Wished I Could Write

so this jesse miksic essay on the existential dread prompted by that brief golden era of video games encompassing the NES, SNES, and SEGA Genesis era (roughly ’89-’94) is one of the best and most-eloquent pieces of commentary i’ve read all year. miksic is extremely thorough, a brilliant writer, and makes extrapolations from classic video games to culture high and low, from the ancient Greeks to the clusterfuck that is contemporary culture in America. and have to say, fully agree with his thesis, know that sense of despair and meaninglessness that accompanies dying multiple multiple times in Castlevania II (one of my favorite games as a child) and beating my face against my 21″ off-brand TV while trying to make it to Kary in Final Fantasy. not even to mention playing Doom or Wolfenstein 3D and actually feeling my heart pound and adrenaline kick in when I ran into an ambush or unexpected fight. even more not to mention the terror that was the original Tomb Raider (falls outside the timeline, I realize, but it was PS1, so close enough). but in all seriousness great and thoughtful piece, hope you all read it. have had many of the same ideas, but never could express them so elaborately, eloquently, and with reference to such a wide array of influences.

update: had to include the scariest game music (a topic many of you know is of great interest to me):

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~ by Benji on 2 June 2012.

2 Responses to “Essay I Always Wished I Could Write”

  1. Berfrois retweeted you, which led me here. Thanks for your kind words — it’s great to hear somebody who shares the same sentiments about those games. Also, great song… never played much FF beyond numbers VI and VII, but I liked the music enough that I had one of the FFVII pieces played at my wedding.

    I went back and replayed some of Castlevania II for that essay, and the music always takes me straight back to adolescence, staying up late in the dark, thinking I was playing the greatest game that would ever be created.

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    • FFVII was the last one I played (which leads me to think we’re probably around the same age… 27 here), and glad to hear it. The thing that fascinates me most about that first- and second-generation video game music is that the folks who composed it were so limited by what the technology allowed. That they could even compose such iconic pieces at all is a feat, not to mention how good that work actually was (and still is). It really is a marvel. And thank you for your kind words.

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