The trailer for the next On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness is direct in its approach. After a collage of 16 bit roleplay niceness it beams out these fateful words: ‘Return to the days of your youth’.
I didn’t have that youth, but I guess that hasn’t stopped me pretending to have had it for the best part of twenty years.
Everywhere you look in gaming (and especially in the many and various retro come-backs that Hookshot tends to cover) nostalgia is portrayed as collective, shared and universal. If you like games, and are of a certain age, it’s assumed you have the same origin story. This, though, is often rather unlikely – especially if you were a child of the UK’s early and fragmented computing industry or, if you were a posh kid like me, you’d been bought a BBC Micro.
The universal nostalgia of ‘Hey, remember when RPGs were like this!’, or ‘Platforming, old-school style!’ presents the history of gaming as something of a straight line. Major factional Playground Wars are rubbed from the timeline in the pursuit of shared gamer consciousness. The truth is that I have never fully played an old school RPG like On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3, and when I have it’s been for a tear-stained few hours trying to chase someone else’s memories so I know what to say when reminiscing in the pub.
My youth was clearly wasted. I had an inferior life experience. Your memories won the battle, and mine washed away like Rutger Hauer’s robot tears in a mild drizzle.
Okay? OKAY? Are you happy now mainstream, or do you want another piece of me? Why can’t every retro game look like Chuckie Egg? WHY GOD WHY?
Anyway, On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 looks quite good. The wit and sparkle of Hothouse’s former 3D affairs has been retained, as has the fruit fucking, and there seems to be giggles aplenty as tuxedo-wearing T-Rexes and fearsome hobos are beaten down upon. Gaming’s very own Ant and Dec, Messrs Gabe and Tycho, appear in safe hands with developer Zeboyd – and the charms of their former offering Cthulhu Saves the World more than show through.
I love this sort of game. I have always loved this sort of game. I am one of you.