Andy Goergen recalls the wonderful memories he had of slaying zombies and monsters in one sitting.
In 2002, I entered into what was quite possibly the perfect summer, the last such summer of my life. This was year before I graduated college. I was offered a job as a Summer RA in my dorm, supervising the few summer school students and working at the front desk of the dorm, about 12 hours a week. Most of my days were spent hanging out with my friends playing video games, and generally enjoying life as a 22 year old with virtually no obligation could.
Just before that summer began, Resident Evil for Gamecube was launched to much fanfare and hype. Screenshots of the game with incredible visuals had been leaking out steadily before release. As a gamer who enjoyed the zombie genre but had never had the chance to actually play through a Resident Evil game before, I picked the game up at launch on May 1, 2002.
That summer offered me an opportunity that I've never really been able to replicate in the grown-up years since then; the chance to play a Resident Evil game in the perfect way. I played Resident Evil in basically one sitting, pausing only to go down to the cafeteria for meal breaks. I drew the curtains, secluded myself in my dorm room for an entire weekend in the dark, and proceeded to explore Spencer Manor.
What really sticks with me to this day is the experience of playing through the game so quickly in the ideal situation. In the course of 72 hours, the game really got to me in all of the best ways. I felt the oppressive nature of the house, as the camera angles rendered me helpless, and unable to know what was around the next bend. I remember the game in spurts; the memorable voyage behind the mansion to the shack and the horrible disfigured creature who lived there, the dingy laboratory which began to explain how all of this had come to pass, and the betrayal from Wesker. It felt at the time like a long dream, and that's the way I remember it.
In the years since, I've tried to play Resident Evil games the same way but it's a lot harder in a post-college, married-life world to seclude yourself in a room in the dark for three days. I played Silent Hill 2 largely the same way, but in 2 hour chunks twice a week over the course of a month or so. Resident Evil 4 took me a long time to find the energy to play through. Having played through a survival horror game the right way, it's been hard for me to want to play them any other way.
I won't argue when you tell me that Resident Evil had poor controls, cheap scares, and dated gameplay; all of those things are absolutely true. I didn't find them to be a major problem as I played the game, and as the problems began to fade, I was able to experience the game exactly as the developers intended. I was engulfed by it. I drowned in it. That's why I loved Resident Evil in 2002, and the memories of that awesome weekend and what it represented to me at that point in my life make me love the game still today.