On Tuesday, August 26, 1997, Rare's GoldenEye 007 for N64 arrived in U.S. stores for $59.99-$69.99 (depending on where you shopped). I don't know about you, but this game changed my life. That's right. I was interested in it because I am (obviously) a Bond fan, but I bought it because I loved what I played at E3 a few months earlier. I had no idea the kind of social phenomenon it would become or how integral it would be to my college years.
It started out with the single-player mode. The fine-tuned controls and intelligent level design merged with the exacting difficultly to create an engaging experience. Despite the sadistic genius of the single-player game, everyone knows the true GoldenEye experience can only be found with a group of friends, an unnerving amount of trash talk, and late night gaming parties.
We started out playing the game as many did, on a big TV in the living room. We rotated in different friends and learned the game, much as we did with the multiplayer modes in Star Fox 64 and Mario Kart 64 before it. However, the more we played and the more skilled we got, something happened: two of us (myself and another) became so familiar with the map and weapon layouts that we were dominating since we could see where everyone was at one time and shoot them as they came around corners before they could react. Just as this was starting to suck the fun out of the game, I came upon a mailbag thread on IGN64 (back in the days of Eye Tat Boy, Kabuki Joe, and Captain Insano) from someone with a novel way to enhance the game's replay value: use four monitors and make cardboard partitions to obscure other player's screen quadrants to replicate a PC FPS style experience (using the No Radar cheat obviously).
This changed everything. The playing field became much more even and we were able to regularly introduce new friends to the game. Team matches and 3v1 matches kept things interesting and the fun built on itself. We made up our own match variants and rules to keep things interesting (for example, Oddjob mode: 3v1 mode where the lone player gets to use Oddjob since his small size makes him harder to hit, everyone has -10 health, and the lone player gets to choose the level and weapon; best two out of three). Never in my life have I put more hours into a game than GoldenEye. It became our social foci for pretty much my entire college career. So many great friends, so many great times. After college, the meetings were less frequent, but the game brought us back together. These days, we all have separate lives and jobs and whatnot, but GoldenEye gets fired up a few times a year, and the good times return.
So, on this tenth anniversary, I tip my hat to the original crew at Rare for making one of the best games ever conceived, and to Nintendo for delaying the game enough times to let Rare make the best game it could. Cheers.
Use this thread to share your fond memories of GoldenEye. What game modes did you and your circle of friends create? Any classic matches or favorite moments you'd like to relate?