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July 19th 2014, 05:24 AM
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CocoMonkey
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
--2002 wrap-up--

2002 was a great year for DMODs. I feel like I ought to stress, however, that a lot of the mods released that year were crap. I gave out a limbic system-liquifying six copies of the Dink Forever Memorial Award of Badness, and at least a few more barely evaded the distinction. One (Legend of Parnu) really should have gotten one, but I couldn't get it working properly. And then there are the mediocre DMODs, but those do have some value because every player is different. I was rather harsh on "Fairy Named Bincabbi," for example, while I was nicer to others that probably aren't objectively much (if at all) better. Others' experiences may vary.

The reason I (much like a flooded sewer) bring up the crap is that it often doesn't get remembered like the good stuff. The mediocre DMODs may be remembered even less than the terrible ones. Metatarasal expressed surprise at the sheer number of them. The years are a distorting lens indeed. Our memories are selective, and for that matter, some of you weren't around the community back then; to you, 2002 might be all Pilgrim's Quests and Lyna's Stories. If I perform any service in these writings, it's probably to hold up all of these not-very-good and okay DMODs and bother to remember them, for what in some cases may be the last time. I do my best to go over the well-regarded mods as well, but they were already being discussed anyway. Now you can see that the golden age was really more like a can of chicken and noodle soup. Sure, there's chicken, but maybe not as much as you remembered. It's mostly slimy noodles after all. And, um, pretend there's also nasty spoiled things in there to represent the Award of Badness recipients.

Nailed another metaphor. I am so good at writing.

So much media is currently devoted to the enthusiastic celebration of nostalgia that we might forget what it really is: a melancholy longing for something forever gone. You really can't go home again, you know. It won't be the same. Even if it hasn't changed, you have, and it was the interaction between you and it that formed the experience. When we put together slideshows about 90s cartoons, we're really remembering a time, a place, a feeling.

My favorite video game is Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and I have a strong sense of nostalgia associated with it. The game is a work; unanchored from time, it's the same thing that it was. I can still play it now; I can even do it on the original hardware. Heck, I even still have a clunky old CRT television for a really authentic experience. And it's fun, but at moments it's also a little sad. I didn't really have any friends in 1995. Kids were nasty to me at school. I was convinced the world was out to get me. So I sat in my room with my cat and played Sonic 3 and Knuckles for as long as my parents would let me. I memorized every detail of the stages. I spent my time in a world that I liked more than the one around me, and it was a sweet, cool feeling. I can still play the game, but my mind is no longer simple enough to enjoy such a complete escape. Nostalgia, even when it makes you feel good, always ends at grabbing for something that just isn't there anymore.

--Awards--

*Evil Empire Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Terribleness: The Search for the Treasure, by Vilius Tamošiūnas

This was a tough pick, but ultimately, despite a weak attempt at trolling the player with promises of treasure, there is really nothing to this appalling excuse for a DMOD.

I know what you're thinking - what about [Alphabet]? Don't worry.

*[Alphabet] Lifetime Achievement Trophy for Utter Lack of Interest of Any Kind: [Alphabet], by the [Alphabet] guy

'Nuff said.

*Portown Plaque Recognizing Unrealized Ambition: The Other World, by Mimifish

This is a 2001 DMOD, but I had to recognize it here anyway. An intriguing concept and intro. A text file informing us that much more was done... A version existed with at least 100 screens, over 50 scripts, and over 250 new graphics (!), none of it ever to see the light of day. What a shame.

*Milder FlatStomp Medal for Frustration: Fighterz, by SabreTrout and Trav666

The Mog Marshes really wrecked me. I had to restart and nearly gave up.

*The Dead Dragon Carcass of Disturbingness: Milderr!! 3, by Sharp

Sharp's nihilistic world is terrifying, but in a strangely compelling way.

*The Ice Wizard's Award in Storytelling: Cycles of Evil, by Redink1

Forget DMODs, this is one of the most interesting ways I've seen a game tell a story.

*The Bronze Pig: Cycles of Evil, by Redink1

As I said, this is my new favorite DMOD.

*The Silver Duck: Lyna's Story, by Paul Pliska

This game is so well-designed. Every screen is packed with ideas, nothing is wasted.

*The Golden Pillbug: Pilgrim's Quest, by SimonK

I had so much fun with this that 8 hours didn't feel like they dragged on at all.