We all have our “old faithfuls” – those games that we can turn to again and again every time we're in need. When it gets to December time, these are the titles I turn to. Sure, there are those new titles we get for Christmas and we're going to play the heck out of those. But as gamers our hope is always that at least one of those will turn into a new old faithful that we can rely on in the years to come.
In June 2010 a new old faithful arrived on my doorstep. I was fortunate enough that it was a game given to me by EA to review. This job sure has its perks. It was a skating title and I remember not being all that amped about it. But several hours later I realised that I had just been given a rare gem.
That game was Skate 3. Come Christmas time in 2010, I can't really remember all that I was playing – but I know I was playing Skate 3. Come Christmas time 2011, I seem to recall a couple of games next to my Xbox 360. But I remember Skate 3 most fondly.
I'm on leave and my newborn son wakes us up way too early. I go to him and rock him gently and eventually his little eyes close and he drifts off, dreaming of all the new things he is learning. Downstairs we go where I lay him gently on the couch, surrounded by cushions and sleeping snugly under his blankets. It's now 6am and the summer sun is glistening through the trees outside, sending warm beams of light into the lounge and warming the room up – all intensifying my holiday mood. I make a cup of coffee; breath in the caffeine goodness; take a welcome sip; and that familiar holiday feeling echoes in my bones.
I smile to myself and think back to some of the best holidays I've had and recall when I was 10 years old or so, rocking the Port Elizabeth streets on my skateboard. It was an early morning then, too. I taste that salt sea air in my mouth and wash it with some more coffee.
It's time to load up some Skate 3 and enjoy some brainless time. And that idea makes me smile even more.
So I fire up my Xbox 360, sit next to my newborn son breathing quietly; and while it loads up I think of all the great holidays and adventures he is going to embark on in the years to come. And I wonder about some of his old faithfuls and how gaming might look for him in the future.
Skate 3 has loaded up and within seconds I'm ripping apart some poor street corner with an even bigger smile on my face. You see, Skate 3's success for me has to do with several factors. Firstly, it provides me triple nostalgia. It makes me remember the days as a carefree kid skating with my mates all over Port Elizabeth and getting up to mischief. Then I remember all the good holidays I spent gaming until the early hours of the morning with Pronutro as a staple 1am dinner. Then I remember the good times I had remembering all of that while playing Skate 3. Then I remember the good times I've spent gaming again. Then I remember my school holidays again.
Skate 3 does this by providing the right element with regards to skating: a great vibe, plain and simple. It's got a great soundtrack. The whole game makes you feel as if you're on holiday. And it's got a huge city (Port Carverton) where there are so many nooks and crannies for you to do a hundred or more tricks in. And there are tons and tons of tricks. Every year I learn new things I can do in this game and with all this together it provides what every game should provide: plenty of replayability.
By the end of the day my wife and I are off to enjoy dinner with friends and as I'm driving the car I'm checking out the side of the road and I find myself thinking, “Yeah, I could do an ollie and then a backflip over there, and grind there at that spot.”
And you know what? That's what I'll be doing tonight to the early hours of the morning. And just for good time's sake, I'm having a bowl of Pronutro for dinner at 1am.
I'm sure I'm not the only gamer with favourite holiday titles. It'll be interesting to hear what games other gamers consider their old faithfuls.
About Ryan Peter
Ryan Peter has been an avid gamer for over 25 years, seeing the industry evolve from King's Quest to what it is today. He is the editor of Do Gaming and a ghostwriter of fantasy and sci-fi. His fantasy book When Twins War is available at Amazon.com, in the iBookstore for the iPad or at Smashwords.com.