I was scrolling through Twitter some time ago when I came across a tweet that got me thinking. It was from a twitter user back in the end of December where he basically said that if you use the rewind feature that’s available in the NES and SNES games on the Switch then you really didn’t beat the game (I’m paraphrasing since he used some colorful language). Of course the usual twitter fight followed in the comments with people both agreeing and disagreeing, but what got me thinking was what he said about the rewind feature. Now I have most certainly used the rewind feature in some games, especially when I didn’t make a jump when I totally should have, but then that got me second guessing myself. Did I actually beat the game? To be honest after some thought I don’t actually believe I did. Not in a true, honest way that this certain user is explaining.
The time when I used the rewind feature is when I would be playing the Mega Man Legacy Collection on my Switch. Now the original Mega Man games (for the few who don’t know) are notorious for being extremely difficult and I played through the first two with using the rewind feature on certain parts. Sometimes when I missed a jump but I remember using it a lot on those last fights with Wily and his Yellow Demon. For a while I played with “honor” and didn’t use the rewind unless I thought I REALLY needed to, but that Yellow Demon tested my patience and I caved. Now to give myself some credit I have beaten Mega Man games without the use of any rewind feature but when I was fighting those last few stages of the game I wanted to see the end so badly that I constantly hit the rewind button until I won. When I finally did I told a co-host of my podcast what I did and even he responded with, “But Ben, you really didn’t beat the game.” Now in a way I do agree with the user, especially how I used the rewind feature against those bosses that are meant to test your mettle and skill. However I do disagree in not using it at all and only in very select moments. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen to my death just because I’ve hit the jump button a millisecond too late. I have my thumb on the button and I just wasted my last life, even when I knew I should’ve made that jump. Or when my character is walking and I turn my head only to realize I’ve gotten hit with something I shouldn’t have and see a Game Over screen. I could see how using the rewind feature here is an exception to what the user said, but I also see the argument against it as well.
The user mentioned the rewind feature and because my brain is weird I started thinking about Save States in new versions of these classic games. Back in the late 80’s you were lucky if a game had a save or a password feature on it so you could continue where you left off and not have to start all over again. Now all you have to do is hit a button and make a quick save file. Of course quite a few of these older games were made to be beaten in one go, but in today’s modern society, there are those who find it hard to even just sit down and play for a good hour. Yours truly would love nothing more than to blast through Sonic 2 and earn all the Emeralds and beat the game in one go, but finding the time to do that has become more difficult. Even when I have my days off I’m busy doing something else and I am definitely not a speed runner and can’t finish games in under 10 minutes. Here I see the save states as a bit of a saving grace, especially to those whose time is very precious.
I mentioned how a Twitter fight broke out after the user’s main tweet and a few people threw the argument of, “Let gamers play the way they want” and while I do agree with them on that, I only agree in a certain sense. The beauty of retro games is that they had to accomplish so much with so little, so the challenge had to be there in the late 80’s and early 90’s. If a game was easily beaten then people wouldn’t want to play it again, so developers had to make things worth it. They pushed the player, made them think and try new things, and the sense of accomplishment they got when they finally did beat the game was euphoric. All of those game overs were now worth it. Of course every gamer has their own style of play, and how they enjoy a game is purely subjective. Some people relish the challenge and others don’t, and if someone wants to use the rewind feature to see the end of the game and not watch it on YouTube then I see no problem with that. I do see how said player didn’t really beat the game the way it was meant to be beaten.
I want to make it crystal clear that I am not attacking the original user’s views or those who disagree with him. When I first read the tweet I scoffed and thought of a retort, but then I remembered how I played Mega Man and Mega Man 2. How I frankly abused that rewind feature to win, and now how I want to go back and play it for real. So yes, if you want to play with a rewind feature then that is your choice and I can not stop you, but if you want a challenge, a true challenge to truly beat a game that gave your parents a hard time when they were kids, then I suggest abstaining from using it. It will be hard at first but the results will be worth it and you could proudly say you beat it without the rewind.