There is nothing sadder in this world than finding out your memory of a certain event is not what you thought it was. I can’t even begin to name all the cool stuff that I remembered happening to me as a kid that turned out to be wildly skewed, or just totally made up by my scumbag brain. But one would think that the same wouldn’t hold true for the stuff that we loved. I mean, sure there’s stuff that went out of style, but there were certain things in our childhood that were supposed to be unimpeachable. The stuff we spent hours watching/playing/talking about. Well I have some good news, a lot of it does. But more depressingly, some of it doesn’t.
I know that I’m not a special, unique flower when I say that this was my favorite game growing up. By far. The single player was awesome. I mean, even from the first level it was awesome. You got to end it by jumping off a dam. JUMPING OFF A FUCKING DAM. For ten year old me, that was all I needed in life. And the multi-player? Games of “License To Kill” or “Slappers Only” could entertain me for a full 24 hours. So what’s the problem?
The problem is, it sucks now. And look, I’m not talking about just the graphics. Obviously the “real lifeness” that we remember is not going to be the same when we go back and play a fifteen year old game (hurts, don’t it?). No, the problem is the mechanics. I don’t know if we just played it for so long that it was second nature, or if double joysticks have ruined us, but this game is impossibly frustrating to play now. My friends and I put on some multi-player for the first time in a decade, and gave up trying within twenty minutes. Honestly, I’d write this off as just technology not being able to keep up. But the problem with that theory is that Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart are still both way awesome. Sadly, my memories of GoldenEye 64 have gone the way of Pierce Brosnan’s career.
DuckTales The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp
So this came out in 1990, which means it would have graduated from college by now had it been a person, instead of a VHS tape collecting dust somewhere in my parents’ basement. I hadn’t seen this movie for at least fifteen years, but I always remembered it fondly. DuckTales was the shit, right? Well, on a recent hangover Sunday (read: normal Sunday), we decided to download it and reminisce. It didn’t go well. We all love nostalgia stuff when we’re hungover. In the last month alone, my roommates and I have watched Little Giants, She’s All That, Brink!, Disney’s Hercules, Can’t Hardly Wait, Mulan, and the entire Mighty Ducks trilogy. So we like most of our childhood movies still. But DuckTales – how do I put this delicately? – is a piece of shit. In fact, given the number of similarities it has story-wise to Aladdin, I think Disney just threw this out there as a practice run to see how people responded to genie humor. The only difference is that Robin Williams isn’t in it, and Huey, Duey, and Louie’s voices are extremely grating, which didn’t mix well with a hangover.
Sammy Sosa And Mark McGwire’s 1998 Home Run Race
Obviously I’m not gonna tell you anything earth-shattering here. If you didn’t know by now that Sosa and McGwire were rocking more juice than a spoiled kid on vacation at LegoLand, then you probably also think Mark McGwire was the lead singer of Sugar Ray (which, incidentally, would’ve been awesome). The year 1998 was a pivotal time in sports for me. The Rangers won the AL West (which was a huge deal back then). It was my third consecutive, and final, time to dress up as Troy Aikman for Halloween. And I had a huge, red Mark McGwire poster over my bed. In fact, it was directly opposing my Greg Maddux “Cyclone” poster, making it as if the two titans of pitching and the bat were facing off. It was only a couple years later that we began to realize that the baseball we had all loved so much was coming to be known as “The Steroid Era.” Now, I have conflicting opinions about PEDs, but as a kid, hearing that one of your heroes cheated? It kills you. And it seemed like that led into a downward spiral for everything else. The Rangers would be terrible for a whole decade, the Cowboys have only won one playoff game in almost 20 years, and I fully believe that Mark McGwire personally injected Dwayne Wade with all manner of illicit substances so that he could beat the Dallas Mavericks in 2005 NBA Finals. Fuck Mark McGwire.
Saved By The Bell
I know, guys, I’m bummed about it too. I know this one might end up being the most controversial, but I need all of you to go to Netflix and watch five episodes in a row before you disagree with me. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Look, I still watch Boy Meets World all the time. It’s fantastic. Mr. Feeney remains one of the most influential fictional paternal figures in my life. But other than some fun Zack Morris moments, Saved By The Bell is just bad. I blame a lot of it on the rampant cocaine use by sitcom writers back in the 90s. It made everyone think they were much funnier than they were, and since they could literally put dogshit on the screen and still pull in 20 million viewers, it didn’t matter. Sure, I still sit in my seat backwards because of AC Slater and Kelly Kapowski remains one of the hottest females to ever walk the earth. But the jokes are corny, the comedic timing is bad, and Screech might be the most insufferable character I’ve ever seen on the screen. Seriously, why did we find him so funny? There’s a reason Dustin Diamond never went on to do anything ever again. He’s a no-talent asshole who skated by on a ridiculous haircut and relying on making his voice crack to make kids laugh.
If I just ruined your day with this, I apologize. I just don’t want everyone in my generation going around talking fondly about things that aren’t nearly as great as we remember them. There are still a lot of things we grew up with that remain awesome, and I think we do those things a disservice when we talk about how sitcoms these days don’t hold up to Saved By The Bell. Don’t say that. I will do this for you, though. Start watching the show White Collar. Forty-year old Tiffani Amber Thiessen is in it, and she’s still bringing the Kapowski thunder.