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July 13, 2010 / Joe Osborne

Coffee Talk: Is Nostalgia More Powerful Than Quality?

After reading a recent Joystiq post highlighting some incredible artwork from various deviantART users, I began to reminisce of the good ol’ days. It was just me, my SNES and my paltry selection of games back then, but boy did I play them until it was time for the rubbing alcohol and Q-Tips.

Being one of the kids who was behind the times on my block (and arguably still is), I was popping in games like Super Mario All Stars and Super Metroid while my friends were rocking it to Star Fox 64 and Tomb Raider. While looking at these endearing renditions of some of my favorite childhood classics, all I could think about was Ardy and his goofy Kirby-knockoff sidekick, Pec. Yes, Ardy Lightfoot for the SNES is one of my favorite games of all time… and it’s absolutely awful. Find out why I love Ardy so much and more importantly, why this is all relevant, after the jump.

Ardy Lightfoot was given to me as on of the many hand-me-downs from a friend of the family including gems like Cybernator — another favorite that is good in actuality — and Earthworm Jim. Ardy’s quirky noises, catchy music and lovable characters are what interested me, but what truly brought me back over and over was the challenge. This game was hard.

Period.

Was it the infuriating homing penguins? Perhaps the fact that Ardy only had two hits in him before death. Maybe it was the games intense platforming sequences and final stage which involved jumping over real and mirrored obstacles simultaneously (particularly sadistic, ASCII).

Nay, nay and more nay. Plain and simple, it was the controls. It’s incredible where black ice can show up in classic video games and Ardy Lightfoot’s world had the stuff lathered on heavy. Not to mention Ardy’s inability to stop momentum in midair, which made platforming delightfully enraging.

Mastering the games finicky jump controls while trying to keep traction had me playing the same levels 20 times over (watch this and you’ll see what I mean). Hey, it was about all I had at the time; I made due. I could probably beat this game through pure muscle memory and if Windows Vista allowed it, I’d probably give it another go. Actually, it probably would be the first game I’d download if this issue was patched.

Why you ask? Because Ardy Lightfoot has such a big place in my heart that even its wire frame plot is exciting for me. It’s incredible how nostalgia can mask even the worst of games (Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers for the NES, anyone?) enjoyable. Have any horrible games of antiquity you just can’t get enough punishment from? Let us know in the comments.

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