The Games that Changed Us: Crash Bandicoot
Everyone who grew up in the 90s remembers Crash Bandicoot, right? The little orange bandicoot in jeans and his wild variety of enemies practically raised me and I’ve been gaming ever since. Not only did it teach pattern recognition and coordination but also provided a crash course (pun intended) in dealing with all-encompassing game rage.
This is one of the very first games I ever remember playing. It came out on my first console, the PlayStation 1, on September 9th 1996 in North America but EU players like myself waited until November. Not that I really noticed, I was more interested in collecting the spinning Woompa Fruit that I thought were apples until I was about 20.
How it all got started – Crash Bandicoot Born and Bred
Gaming has been a part of my life pretty much since the day I was born. I remember very distinctly my first GameBoy, which I spent hundreds of hours grinding Pokémon levels on, my first PC that came with such classics as Catz 5 and Dogz 5 and my first console, the PS1. Crash Bandicoot was the first game that I remember truly capturing me. It basically began a gaming fascination that persists to this day.
The very first game’s levels were spread out over a number of islands, instead of the Warp Rooms that we all came to know and love. I remember almost quitting the game over the timings in the Great Gate (the last level on Island 1) which had me falling back down to the bottom of the level every time. There was nothing quite like the humiliation of receiving the pity Aku Aku mask from the game. That only happened when you’d wasted too many of your lives on the same level.
But despite the crushing lows of anyone’s Crash Bandicoot journey, there were also incredible highs. After getting used to pretty easy bosses like Papu Papu that could be easily cheesed by jumping on the chair in his hut, needing 9 hits to those little green blobs to defeat Dr Nitrus Brio just about drove me crazy. When I finally beat him, I think I made my parents regret ever letting me play games with my excitement. The game is so replayable that once you’ve farmed a bunch of lives from the easier levels like Sanity Beach, you could probably just keep playing until the end of time.
And I have. I used this article as an excuse to buy the remastered N-sane Trilogy for Switch…so thanks!
Why Crash Bandicoot?
After playing the N-sane Trilogy for a couple of hours, I did start to wonder why I dedicated my time and blood pressure to this game instead of the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog. I got through the first island on muscle memory alone until, once again, The Great Gate. In fact, I had to employ my sister to get me through the level.
If this was a TV show, we’d be smash-cutting to a scene over 20 years ago where I had to do the exact same thing. Crash Bandicoot was something of a team effort in my family. Sometimes it took me, my sister and my dad to get through a level. The hitboxes are almost nonexistent. The pathing makes little to no sense at all. But that’s not why anyone played Crash Bandicoot. It was something that we could all bond over. When we actually got through a level without dying even once and were rewarded with Crash’s signature dance, it was all worth it.
Other Crash Games – You’ll Never Run Out
Crash Bandicoot really isn’t a one and done kind of game. Crash Bandicoot 1 was the game that really kicked things off for me. But I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning the rest of the original trilogy.
Cortex Strikes Back reskinned the game’s format and introduced a new story where Crash was finally caught by Cortex. He tricked the little bandicoot into thinking he wanted to save the world…but let’s face it, that’s not what people really remember about the game. From riding the creatively named polar bear cub, Polar to new mechanics like swinging from the frames in Sewer or Later, Cortex Strikes Back really brought new dynamics to the game.
The Crash legacy is still in motion today and there is definitely a good reason for that. With a brand new game, Crash Team Rumble, being released in 2023, things aren’t over. If there’s one thing I can guarantee, I’ll definitely be buying at the first chance. I may be waiting the rest of my life for Jak & Daxter remaster but Crash certainly fills the gap nicely.
Read next: Games that Changed Us - Sonic the Hedgehog
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