07 February 2010
In the year 2000 I turned 28, took on a second newspaper as editor and rented a one-room apartment across from the newsroom. With the extra responsibility at the paper came a few extra dollars in my paycheck. I treated myself to a new TV and a copy of Spider-Man for the N64.
I never once regretted choosing the N64 over the Playstation. For all the raving about Sony's first console (and, I admit, it was a revolutionary console) I will still take the N64's best titles over the PS1's any day.
Spider-Man, which came out on both platforms, is no exception.
You should know, however, that I'm a Spidey geek. I've got a sleeve tattoo of Spidey and my favorite villains as well as a life-sized statue of him in my den.
One of the greatest moments of my journalism career came when I got to interview Stan Lee. I was writing a profile of a local comic books store - trying to get at what kept them afloat in the age of eBay and kids' waning interest in reading comics. I got it in my head that I had to interview Stan Lee for what was, at best, a local human interest story. After much wrangling with his PR flack I finally got the interview.
"Please hold for Mr. Lee," his secretary said.
Ten seconds passed like ten days.
"Is this the valorous Victor?"
Then I gushed over the phone for about 5 minutes and did the least objective interview of my life.
"You have been to the mountain," said fellow reporter, the late, great Arthur Turgeon.
He was right.
So imagine my delight when I began playing Spider-Man and was greeted by Stan Lee's narration in the game's opening. I knew right away that this was going to be a quality title that would do the hero justice. It certainly did. (I still love the Spider-Man game form the Atari 2600 just as much. You can bet that one will make this list as well.)
Some things define us. For me one of those things has always been Spider-Man. I've loved him since I was a little kid. My brother once took me to a face-painting booth at a carnival and I made the lady paint my face like Spidey's mask. My 2-year-old daughter knows more about Spidey than she does about Elmo. And on the first date I ever had with the wonderful woman who is now my wife, I laid out the (abbreviated) mythology of a character who has resonated with me for as long as I can remember. I knew I loved her the minute I set eyes on her so I wanted to lay it all out there right at the beginning.
I guess it worked.
This game honors each and every memory I have of the web-slinger.
Rare is the game that can top that.
By Victor Paul Alvarez