Like a lot of people, I greeted the news of the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy with gleeful, nostalgia. I was going to be able to go back and play the first game I ever played on my gleaming PSOne console. And when I booted it up, and the Crash looked at me in all his remastered glory, I was immediately transported back to my childhood.
I found myself playing through N-Sanity Beach and Hog Wild, with memories trickling back. Memories of playing everywhere and with anyone. Memories of three brothers switching the controller on every level completed, trying to finish the game as a team. We would argue about whose turn it was, but also shout advice while trying to work out how to defeat a boss like Ripper Roo or Papu Papu. It was a real family affair.
We were very young when we all played Crash Bandicoot. As a result, we didn’t really understand the technology we were using, and our dad wasn’t much use either. Our attention spans and competitive edge never let us down, though. Every time we popped the lid of the PSOne (still the most satisfying action in gaming) and placed the game carefully into the console, we were ready to win, we were going to use every spare second of the time we had available to beat the game. The only problem was, we had no memory card!
Looking back it seems ridiculous that we played any game without a memory card. But we did. We would start every session on the sunny shores of N-Sanity beach and try to see how far we could get in a sitting. Most of the time it wasn’t very far before we ran out of lives or were called away from the PlayStation. But still, we persevered. I even had a cheeky go without my brothers tying me down, but it wasn’t nearly as fun. I remember getting further than we ever had before and exulting to my awe-struck brothers about what I had seen and done, and it only spurred us on. We wanted to discover the unseen, and the process would start all over again.
On trips away, the game and the console would escort us. During one trip to the Lake District with our long-suffering Father, we would spend the day walking, taking in the scenery and the ambience, before returning to the hotel or cottage and playing Crash until it was our bedtime. Again, it was the same sequence, start on N-Sanity beach and plough forwards into the [very] known and [hopfully] unknown.
We grew up when gaming was not as socially accepted as it is now. Our parents couldn’t understand why we would play video games rather than outside (though when we did play outside one of us always got hurt, realistically, it was pick-your-poison for mum and dad) and as a result, we had to figure everything out by ourselves.
We never completed Crash, to this day I do not know how far we actually got. By the time we discovered such a thing as a memory card, it was too late, the game had passed us by. Crash Bandicoot 2, Warped and Team Racing were staples of our diet and the incomplete Crash Bandicoot 1 was left to gather dust.
The memories we made with Crash, while hazy, I have never forgotten, and booting up the N-Sane trilogy was a timely reminder of the good ol’ days. But, if you would excuse me, I have some unfinished business with a certain Dr Neo Cortex.
So, if you would excuse me, I have some unfinished business with a certain Dr Neo Cortex.