Friday, March 18, 2016

Landstalker - 6/20 hours

I don't know how I put up with this game at 13. Maybe my younger self was more mature and patient that I'm giving him credit for. Maybe the slim pickings of my early game collection made me less discerning. Or maybe I just naively assumed that they wouldn't put stuff in a game if it wasn't "fair."

It may well not have occurred to my younger self that it is impossible to platform properly without depth perception, and thus when I came up to a jump that looked diagonal, but was really two parallel platforms at different heights, so that I had to jump down, towards the bottom of the screen instead of towards the corner, but the only way I could figure it out was trial and error because there was no way my eyes were cooperating with what the game wanted me to do, that maybe the game was at fault, and I was repeating the jump a dozen time or more because it was a poorly thought-out jump, and not because I suck at jumping.

I guess it has the advantage of padding out the game's playtime, though. I certainly spent a lot more time trying to get past certain cliffs and chasms than the size of the dungeons might justify.

I think Landstalker is one of those games that gets grandfathered into acceptability. In 1992, it was trying something new and pushing the limits of what home console technology would accomplish. If it made the occasional misstep, that may simply be the price of its audacity. I haven't heard of many other isometric platformers, so maybe the genre never really caught on, though if it did, I'm sure that many of the later examples learned from Landstalker's mistakes.

As long as I remember that I'm playing something primitive, I'm enjoying Landstalker. It's bright, and colorful. It has collecting. The puzzles and jumps are pretty clever (so long as they aren't screwing you over with perspective tricks). When I'm done, it will probably be retired to the permanent "nostalgia wing" of my personal gaming archives, but nothing I've experienced so far has tarnished my memories of the game, and I don't think anything will.

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