Unlike movies, books, or music, gaming is a hobby that isn’t as accessible for the nostalgia trip. Cartridge-based games have their batteries die (not to mention the fact that your SNES is in some dusty bodega), PlayStations don’t read CD’s despite being flipped upside down and prayed over, PC games refuse to work with anything newer than Windows XP. Yes, it can be a struggle to revisit the games of yesterday.
But things are changing, friends! Thanks to official retro re-releases, more-or-less legal emulation, homebrewed compatibility fixes from fellow gamers, and even YouTube "Let’s Play" videos by people with an enviable amount of free time, it’s becoming way easier to bask in the warm CRT glow of our old faves!
And what exactly are these old faves? Below we revisit them in another edition of FHM MAKES YOU FEEL #TANDERS!
NO, NO, NO, IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN 10 YEARS SINCE...
1) Doom 3 made us believe in the power of graphics again!
Released: August 3, 2004
In a nutshell: The triumphant return of Doom after 10 long years!
Our CHILDISH reaction then: "Wow, this is so pretty! It’s also very dark. These are the prettiest graphics–which I can’t really see–ever"
Our stand now: It failed to reignite the Doom franchise in the face of other modern shooter franchises, but it kind of started the graphics arms race with Far Cry and Unreal Tournament 2004 also coming out the same year.
2) Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen made us catch 'em all for the nth time...this time with fancier visuals!
Released: September 9, 2004
In a nutshell: A remake of the first-gen Pokemon games before remakes were cool
Our reaction then: "It’s a re-release? Is Nintendo really out of originality so soon? *plays the game anyway because of nostalgia*"
Our stand now: Fuck having to keep track of 719 Pokemon (yes, they're that many now, and there's one that looks like a washing machine). FireRed let us rekindle the glory days of our youth (the originals are still the best!) but with all the convenient aspects of (medyo) modern Poke-gaming.
3) GTA: San Andreas made armchair ghetto godfathers out of us!
Released: October 26, 2004
In a nutshell: Basically GTA...but bigger than anything you’ve seen up to this point.
Our reaction then: "OMFG So many things to do! Hey, look, I made my CJ fat and have an afro! So. Much. Things. Also: gangsta dreams fulfilled!"
Our stand now: It remains a high point in the series. It's so universally loved that when it became clear that it was kind of getting a sequel, in the form of GTA V (also an outstanding game, just to remind you), every one went nuts.
4) Half-Life 2 became the best sequel ever to the best game ever in history*
Released: November 6, 2004
In a nutshell: Much-awaited sequel to the game that moved FPS titles from mere shooting galleries to more cerebral affairs
Our reaction then: "The atmosphere in this game is immense! The facial animations are uncanny!"
Our stand now: The Source game engine feels old, but it’s an undisputed modern classic, and the gold standard for immersive story telling in a shooter. We imagine it can only be topped by Half-Life 3–so never then…