Right now, I am listening to Life Force (NES) RRemixed – Part 1 of 2 / Part 2 of 2. It takes, what is one of my favorite games of all times, and mixes them together in an extremely different and unique way. Life Force, by all comparison to today’s games, is really nothing of a game. You have a few stages, where the stage boss is about as difficult to defeat as it is difficult for me to determine if I am going to wear a Floyd shirt for the day or not. The music is impressively done to the game, and the remixes I have come across in my life on this planet have been massively impressive. I have done a LOT to find as much music as I can from the game in the many forms, both official (Konami and their reuse of music in various games) and unofficial (people well beyond more talented than I ever could be that take an 8-bit melody and turn it into an orchestration of heavenly proportions). I get all motating and gyrating about, with goosebumps, and sometimes absolutely zone off into space. I might forget the fact my life means nothing in the grand scheme of things, or that as an adult I have all this responsibility I am suppose to deal with. Life is much easier to contend with when I can just hop into my Vic-Viper and blow shit up.
While I cannot explain for the life of me the reason my attached memories are as they are to me, at least in this case I can remember something about them. Back in the day when I was in Council Bluffs, my mother use to take me to the local arcade at the Mall of the Bluffs. There was this fun game I kind of liked. I cannot find it or remember the name of it for the life of me. It was a multiplayer game where you were flying ships, and would shoot at things, and when there was another player you could “attach” your ship to their ship. I enjoyed that game, because it was a fun game to play with other people. However, there was a game I loved EVEN MORE. For the “life” of me (pun intended), I cannot remember the reason I enjoyed it so much. The game was damn well impossible to beat, and took a lot of quarters. I actually do not remember this part of it, I only take it from the fact when I play it on MAME that I know how damn impossible it is. The game is the Konami sequel to Gradius; Life Force. “Flame eruption!” The game was released sometime around 1986(? debated), meaning I was 12-13 when the game came out in arcades.
It really shows what kind of mother I had, given the fact she was not only pumping quarters to me, but also standing there watching as I played the game. In fact, while I am not exactly sure the reason it happened, I was unable to use my “good hand” at one point, making playing the game near impossible with one hand: can’t pilot and shoot at the same time. Well, when this happened, mother decided to take over the shooting for me while I flew the Vic-Viper into victory (in all honesty, I probably was flying Vic into a fiery ball of death, destruction, and various body parts seeing how I was flying around inside a living organism.) I cannot remember some of the most important aspects of my existence, yet this thought is stuck into my mind.
I also remember that I saved up a lot of money for my NES. Back in the day when I was this age, saving up money was a big thing. When I finally had enough money saved and wanted to get one, my parental units decided to get the system for me, as well as one game. I don't remember why, nor what I did with the extra money. However, I do know that the first game I bought with my NES was Life Force. One thing I was not prepared for back then was the extreme difference between an arcade game and counsel game. This NES game I played was nothing like the arcade game past level 1. Little did I know at the time how wonderful an experience this would be. Also, for the first time I could finally consistently beat this game! This is the first game I would learn the Konami Code from. It would also be the first time I would have a "game within a game". Any gamer has their "game within a game" with their favorite games. The stage four - Cell Stage 2 boss, Skull, would come at you with bullets everywhere. After doing enough damage, his eyes would fly out at you. At one point playing this game over and over, I decided to fly around him to get away from his bullets to find that when I was on top of the screen and his last eye popped out, he would constantly fire towards the top of the screen. The only thing I had to worry about was his crazy eyes coming after me. However, once they were destroyed, I could just sit there, doing absolutely nothing. I think it is one of my favorite game within a game tricks. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I figured it all out by myself. After all, there was no Internet then as Al Gore had not invented it yet. It could simply be due to the strange brain configuration I have that makes some things extremely amusing. It could also be due to the fact the music hits certain parts of my brain. If I am dyslexic, then it would be interesting in how music works on me since it is generally processed in the right hemisphere of the brain, affecting hormones, encouraging the production of cortisol, testosterone, and oxytocin (the "love drug"). I have heard music being used as "therapy" for dyslexia. There could be a pattern there. Of course, I could be beyond crazy, so, who knows. Dyslexia would cause timing difficulties in music. I happen to excel in the "art" of music. I know one common symptom of one with dyslexia is an attempt to overcompensate for things. Mentally pushing myself to excel in music could be an effect of this. It might also explain my obsession with 24 hour time.
Maybe something happened to me that I don't remember in my experiences with Life Force. After all, my memory seems to be confused on certain time line events. My mother was no longer living in Council Bluffs when I went to Tri-Center my Freshman year (1988-1993). Information shows the game should have been released in August 1, 1988, when I would have been 13.5 years old. The NES was released in Oct 18, 1985. Now, if memory serves me, which it rarely does, I ended up with the Action Set that was released in 1988, because I had Duck Hunt and a light zapper (still have both to this day). So maybe my only real confusion is how Life Force is release in 1988 in the States so late. Of course, another source shows 1987 in the States. I will add it all to my large list of questions for God when I see Him.
I am really thankful Stingray is as into this game as he is. I wonder how he got into it. I know he was a Gradius champ.