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Nostalgia is a harsh mistress.

We wouldn’t respect her if she weren’t, wouldn’t kneel before her if she weren’t such a magnificent bitch-goddess. To attempt to consummate the desire for Nostalgia is to at once invite frustration and further desire. In response to our thirst, wine flows from her breast, but it’s syrup-sweet and it leaves us hungover and parched.

I have very complicated feelings about playing Legend of Kyrandia.

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Fuck nostalgia, though. I live with 24 year olds and not a day goes by that one of them doesn’t whine, “Oh, man, I hate being a grownup.” I see all these Internet things like, wasn’t life better when we were kids, and I think, no, it wasn’t. It really fucking wasn’t.

I’m more or less content with my adulthood, and if my life is small and simple well I like it that way. I have little urge to travel back to, say, the age of 12. Would I really want to go through puberty again? Having bedtime? Middle school? Jesus.

I first played Lands of Lore when I was about 12, and replaying it, I mean obviously I’m getting some resonances. I can’t tell you why I have such a soft spot for it–it’s a tough, frustrating little game, I’m not traditionally into first-person maze RPGs, it’s an unabashed dungeon crawler–and yet it’s such a beautifully-done one that I guess it’s one of those games where quality trumps. Its got some great art, some lovely monster design, and while the story isn’t anything to write home about, it’s got a decent share of twists. The evil witch Scotia is one of my favorite villains–if nothing else because, by the end of the game, she manages to cause a LOT of damage, going so far as to completely destroy the castle and kidnap the King, nearly killing him in the process. She’s a credible threat.

We talk about levels that we remember–the Mines and the White Tower, in particular, are brutal now, with a good almost 20-years of gaming experience under my belt more than I had the first time I played the game.

I remember Lands of Lore as being an overwhelmingly long experience; I beat it in about three or four days. And if the quest to beat Scotia is a little easier now with the diligence and discipline I’ve developed, we have to think about how, in those nostalgia-tinged days, I had homework and a bedtime and a dinnertime and all of that. Last night, because I wanted to, I stayed up super late grinding through Castle Cimmeria because, you know, what I fucking can.

And so I’m glad I don’t have much of a sense of nostalgia. I love that Lands of Lore is holding up–it takes some getting used to, certainly; the control system isn’t the best, the hit rate is much too low, there’s a little too much backtracking, it’s a product of its time in a lot of ways–but it’s holding up not because I was an overweight, smelly 12 year old when I played it but because it’s a good game.

Life ain’t that bad. I’m much more interested in playing an old game as an adult than I am going back to childhood to play something. Hell–Lands of Lore 1 and 2 sells for $6 on Good Old Games; slapping in my credit card and a five minute download got it onto my computer. We didn’t have that in ’95.