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7 January 2019

Welcome to Vintage Video Games Week

While the outside world looks increasingly grim, video games have long provided an outlet to escape from the drudgery of real life. 

By New Statesman

There’s no way around it: this is a truly miserable time of year. Winter is bad even at the best of times, and January is uniquely depressing within that landscape. Sandwiched between December’s festivities, which were, at the very least, distracting, and February’s bullshit machine around Valentine’s Day, with the promise of spring just out of reach; there’s no denying January is the worst month of the grimmest season.

It’s also a time for us to all torture ourselves with resolutions. We’re eating a lot healthier, but more boringly; killing ourselves with a body-shock of excessive exercise; and many of us are giving up alcohol – the one activity that could truly draw our attention away from these dreadfully long, arctic four weeks. And this is before getting into our shambolic political situation and the impending need to start stockpiling beans and medicine. 

However, there is one exercise-free, indoor activity (that does not require booze nor salad) to use to hide away from this terrible month: video games. Old, new, computer, handheld – video games are a modern escapism that allow us to immerse ourselves in a different world and actually take part in it.

This is why, here at the New Statesman, we’ll be spending our week exploring the best video games of our childhoods: from crap consoles to sadistic Sims to the games that seemed boring, but really provided a calming alternate reality to escape the struggles of real life. 

This page will be updated throughout the week as we take nostalgic trips through video games past. We’ll also include some gaming content from our archives for those especially looking to hide from the weather and, indeed, real life. So we invite you to log-off Twitter and draw the curtains and vicariously live through our writers’ vintage video games past: 

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Why the pixelated land of Prince of Persia was my most exotic childhood experience”: Anoosh on Prince of Persia

The rise and fall of the point-and-click adventure game”: Ed Jefferson on point-and-click games

A Series of Unfortunate Events: an ode to unmemorable, just-alright GameCube games”: Amelia on the joy of games that are good-ish

Why having rigid rules in Final Fantasy made for a better game”: Stephen on Final Fantasy

We need to talk about The Sims: diary of a teenage psychopath”: Indra on The Sims

How female game characters helped me when I was growing up gay: Louis Staples on gayming”

Epic battles and beautiful scenery: why 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus was a giant success: Rohan on Shadow of the Colossus

Bring back text boxes: why video games were better before they used voice actors: Tom Tait on why he misses text-box games

Gaming in a pre-Google era was often impossible. So why do I miss it so much?: Chris Mandle on pre-Google gaming

A love letter to Goldeneye, the finest multiplayer game ever made”: Nicky on Goldeneye and the beauty of Nintendo 64

Ali is my in-game avatar. And I’ve spent more time with him than most of my real friends“: James Ball on the bonds we build with characters in video games


Check back here throughout the week as we add more of our writers stories from video games memories past.