-0.2 C
Munich
Friday, December 1, 2023

How Metroid Prime Made Me Fall Back In Love With Video Games

Must read

Metroid Prime is tied for first place as my all-time favorite game. In fact, I would go so far as to say Metroid Prime on the GameCube not only rekindled my love for Nintendo all those years ago, but brought me back into the world of gaming.

I was still active duty Air Force when GameCube launched in 2001, and I passed on it completely. It wasn't even on my radar, which was out of character for me, a life-long Nintendo fanboy. I had a Super NES at launch, and a Nintendo 64 at launch, but the GameCube, for whatever reason, didn't interest me in the slightest. Instead, I spent some of the extra money I made on overseas deployment on an original Xbox to complement my PS2, and put Nintendo to the back of my mind.

That's not to say I wasn't still following Nintendo news and developments, they just weren't at the forefront as I leafed through magazines like EGM or surfed rudimentary gaming websites of the day. Even though I didn't own a GameCube and had no plans to get one, I was still interested in the development of Metroid Prime. At the time It seemed impossible to translate the side-scrolling Metroid franchise into a 3D experience. Yeah, now 3D games are the norm, but back then, questions like ‘how will you jump?’ were legitimate concerns people had. I personally remember thinking there was absolutely no way Nintendo was going to be able to pull it off, and at the time coverage seemed somewhat skeptical of a "first person adventure." I wasn't sold on it at all.

When Prime finally released, it achieved everything it set out to and was met with an overwhelmingly positive response. Still, I wasn't interested. In fact, by 2002 I was starting to fall out of the hobby of video games. I had just gotten married (old!) and recently separated from the US Air Force. Before we knew it, we were expecting our first son and while I still played games, time constraints and a changing lifestyle made me less and less interested. Eventually my first generation Xbox stopped working and it sat collecting dust until, one day on a whim, I decided to take it into GameStop and see if they'd accept it as trade in spite of not working. They gave me $80, by the way, which I thought was fair, but in store credit rather than cash.

I bought a used GameCube, a Wavebird controller, used copies of Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, and Metroid Prime


With $80 in credit and some extra money in our bank account from a decently-paying construction job I was working, I wandered the store in search of something to buy. I don't remember exactly how much a used GameCube was, but I'm pretty sure it was $80. What an astonishingly fortunate coincidence! On a whim, I bought a used GameCube, a Wavebird controller, used copies of Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, and Metroid Prime.

When I got home and hooked everything up, I popped in Metroid Prime and was taken by it immediately. I mean immediately. The second the weird crackling beeps and bloops started up it had my full attention. I was completely captivated by just how good it felt (at the time), and the clever Z-targeting helped overcome the GameCube controller's shortcomings. It just felt right and I spent the next however many days exploring its depths and uncovering its mysteries.

There's a true sense of isolation I felt when I'm exploring Talon IV, an almost existential loneliness balanced wonderfully by the thrill of discovery. It was the first time I had entered a gaming world that felt like it was alive in spite of me. Even though the previous 2D Metroid games had also thrown Samus into the unknown, alone and with radically diminished powers, this was the first time it felt real. I couldn't believe I'd slept on this game and whatever vanishing interest I had experienced regarding gaming was now gone.

For years I held onto that copy of Metroid Prime, telling myself I'd play through it again on my Wii. Of course I never did, and eventually resigned myself to the reality I'd never play that copy I bought used in 2005 and so I sold it on eBay.

Rumors of a completed remaster had been swirling around for as long as the Switch has been out, but I figured they were just wishful thinking and connecting dots with tenuous information. When the announcement came during the February Direct that Metroid Prime Remaster was not only real, but releasing THAT DAY, I freaked out and immediately downloaded it and started playing. All those feelings I had almost two decades ago returned instantly: the isolation, the adventure, the wonder of exploration. Metroid Prime saved my love of gaming, almost by accident, and now I get to experience it again with the love and respect of a modern remake.


Seth Macy is Executive Editor, IGN Commerce, and just wants to be your friend. You can find him hosting the Nintendo Voice Chatpodcast.

More articles

Latest article