As we grow older something inside us ignites a portion of our brains (the hippocampus to be precise) to remember the past fondly and how we enjoyed it as a child. Back then, there was no question as to whom the best wrestler was (Stone Cold Steve Austin) and given the choice of eating our one favourite food for breakfast lunch and dinner we would rejoice at the opportunity. We didn’t question that strange man behind the bushes during P.E class and we males thought the idea of girls being pretty vomit inducing. Some things we were clearly wrong about, but now we look back with a clear head, and think back to those games that made our sweat a permanent feature of the control pad.

I was an avid gamer growing up, probably more so then than now as being young and impressionable I pretty much enjoyed everything that was put into my console. If it was on screen and I was controlling it, then I was happy, whereas nowadays it takes a lot to please my virtual appetite. I remember the fun I would have at my cousins playing multiplayer Goldeneye or crawling through the snow in Metal Gear Solid, all with a smile on my face, as at the time they were groundbreaking games. However, if my cousin asked me to come around to his today for a Goldeneye, or even a Perfect Dark session, I’d be less inclined to be excited.

No matter how much you would like to defend them based on the fit triggering tally of constant hours playing said games, a lot of the older titles do not stand the test of time at all. I realise, in that moment some of releases were ahead of their time, but that was then and this is now: various leaps and bounds across all genres have been made, mostly for good and very few for the worse.

Thanks to what can only described as an attack of abundant boredom and let’s pretend for scientific researches sake, I have gone back to play a select few games confident that they would still stand tall and be as enjoyable right now as they were then. I set myself a rule of nothing to be included from the PS2/GameCube era onwards. And wouldn’t you know it, some stood the test of time – maturing like fine wines to the extent that they’re just as good, if not better than I remember.

I present to you five titles that have aged with beauty, starting with a classic side-scrolling shooter that every gamer should have played. Let’s get into it…

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This article was first posted on December 6, 2012