A while back, I was overcome with nostalgia reminiscing about Friday after-school moments when I would run home and turn on the PlayStation 2. The games that I used to experience back in the day were 3D platformers based on movies that were all the rage. Interestingly enough, this is the same feeling I had while playing Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
Right off the bat, many would assume that this game is made for kids due to its character design and story. However, playing it as an adult, it’s a whole different experience. It reminded me of when 3D platformers were huge on consoles like the PlayStation 1 and 2. Games based on movies like Shrek, Tarzan, Harry Potter as well as games like Spyro and Lego were what people of my age group grew up with.
Comparing then and now, 3D platformer games like Sackboy: A Big Adventure are few and far between. With games becoming their own storytelling medium, we’re seeing fewer 3D platformers and more RPGs being created, basically making games look like a playable movie in the main characters’ point of view.
Personally, I feel that 3D platformers were the genre that taught me how to play video games. It taught me how to manage my jumps, time my movements, when to wait, and more. For many of us millennials, they were like the tutorials of video games.
This made me realize why playing video games came so naturally to me. Games were catered for a wider age group back in the day so that kids as young as 8 could start learning how to play. This also creates muscle memory, which is extremely important as most games try their best to keep controls of games familiar, making it easy for many to simply jump into a game.
Mechanics like double jumps, jumping and grabbing, picking up items and throwing them to other areas, timing movements – basically figuring out how to get from point A to point B allowed the audience to develop critical thinking.
Games nowadays focus more on storytelling and cinematography with few puzzles sprinkled in between so as to not break immersion. Due to this, I feel like many have missed out on how rewarding it is to figure out puzzles and continue on to a new level in 3D platformers.
Perhaps this is also one of the reasons why difficulty modifiers were introduced to games. While games such as Dark Souls and Cuphead remained true to the traditional way of gaming with only a single difficulty level to really challenge the players, we’ve seen players cry for different difficulty levels instead of adapting – something unheard of back in the day.
Maybe due to age, I’ve felt that my timing mechanics were almost completely off when I played Sackboy. I found myself amused when I died during moments where I shouldn’t have. However, this drove me to learn and rethink my timing and movements. Completing a level with all gems collected has been more fulfilling to me than completing a game such as The Last of Us Part II, which only rewarded me with the end of a story.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure is no doubt a game perfect for gamers ages 8 and above but trust me when I say that as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. From the challenging routes, quirky characters, wholesome storyline, to impressive music, I believe that this is a game everyone should pick up just to train that gamer muscle memory and relax.
Most importantly, pick up this game to relive your 12-year-old after school childhood once more. You’ll thank me later.