So what’s interesting for me about playing all these nearly-20 year old games for the first time is this:
I’ve been playing games consistently for 30 years, so I know exactly the phenomenon that @exodus is describing, about only remembering the good bits about games I’m nostalgic for. I’m reminded of this phenomenon almost every time I try to revisit an old favourite from 15 or 20 years ago. It’s always fun, going back to old console generations, because you discover what design principles have carried through to the present day, and what weird experiments were happening back in those days that didn’t quite pan out or go the way the developers had hoped.
But! Despite having played a whole heck of a lot of games in the PS2/Xbox/Dreamcast era, I never played these specific ones, so I have no nostalgia for them, which means I’ve been having the inverse of the experience of revisiting old favourites. When you go back and play a game you used to love, you begin with a rush of nostalgia, and a big ol’ smile. And gradually, cracks begin to appear, and some of the luster starts to fade (except in the case of stone-cold classic bangers). With these three dumb old games, however, I’m slapped in the face by the stuff that doesn’t hold up anymore, and have to dig a little deeper to find the stuff that is still fun, and was perhaps a unique form of fun, specific to the PS2 era.
I’ll tell you what though. While “futuristic racer” and “cars exploding each other up” no longer seem like enticing pitches to me, I’d love to see a brand new take on “gigantic monsters have a free-for-all wrestle-fest in a fully destructible city.” Somebody please make that game!