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Gamer Nostalgia: While these East Coasters still enjoy playing the video games of their youth, gaming just isn’t “the same” anymore.

Bridget Driver grew up watching Mario Kart 64, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 and Guitar Hero Legends of Rock.

Charlottetown woman PEI played these games both at home and at friends’ houses on different gaming platforms – Mario Kart 64 on the Nintendo 64 and Guitar Hero Legends Of Rock on PlayStation 3.

“Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 was played on the original Xbox, which I still have and still works,” says Driver.

She appreciates all these games for different reasons. When she was young, she and her mother played Mario Kart 64 most nights before bed.

“When I was older, I appreciated Tony Hawk for the sandbox-like approach to character modifications as well as the soundtrack,” she says.

However, Guitar Hero Legends of Rock remains Driver’s favorite game, which she says subliminally taught her to play the guitar.

“I would play this game any chance I got,” she says. “Thanks to the game’s graphics, I can keep unlocking things about my guitar and piano playing, all thanks to this game.”


One of the aspects of Pony Boat that immediately catches your eye is its arcade, something Charlottetown hasn't had in years that features games new and old from Guitar Hero to Pac-Man and even Skee-Ball.  - Cody McEachern
One of the aspects of Pony Boat that immediately catches your eye is its arcade, something Charlottetown hasn’t had in years that features games new and old from Guitar Hero to Pac-Man and even Skee-Ball. – Cody McEachern

What makes these games so popular, says Driver, “is that it was part of an era where co-op gameplay could happen on the couch with a single console. Playing cooperatively now is very different.”

Driver is still a gamer today, but doesn’t play nearly as much. She “likes to play Skyrim and Fallout 4, along with all the racing games, when I have time.”

But it’s the video games she loved so much that mean the most to her.

Grew up in arcades

Randy Cormier from O’Leary, PEI grew up watching Megamania on Atari as well as Mortal Kombat II, Killer Instinct and Ms. Pacman in the arcade.

Although he grew up with an Atari system, Cormier says it was the arcade that drew him to it.


Randy Cormier of O'Leary, PEI says he grew up gambling in arcades.  Nostalgia for the games he loved led him to build a mini arcade in his own home.  - Contributed - Contributed
Randy Cormier of O’Leary, PEI says he grew up gambling in arcades. Nostalgia for the games he loved led him to build a mini arcade in his own home. – Contributed – Contributed

Luckily for him, all of his favorite games are emulated to work on modern computers today.

“The camaraderie of playing with friends and family and the nostalgia factor take me back to a simpler time in my childhood,” he says.

Cormier is still a gamer today – but his love is still the games of his youth.

“I collect retro consoles, from the Atari 2600 to Vectrex to Nintendo and Sega consoles from the ’70s to the ’90s,” he says.

“I have also invested in several modern arcade cabinets to have my own personal arcade in my home.”


“The camaraderie of playing with friends and family and the nostalgia factor takes me back to a simpler time in my childhood,” says Randy Cormier, who loved playing arcade games as a child. – UNSPLASH

A simpler time

Brenden Fraser from Charlottetown, PEI misses games like the original Animal Crossing and Pokémon Yellow.

“I also played a lot of the original Spiderman on PlayStation 1. I started playing Minecraft as a teenager, but a lot has changed since then,” he says.

“There used to be an element of surprise and adventure that I don’t experience in the newer versions.”

Growing up, Fraser mostly played video games at home on his Game Boy Colour, the family desktop PC, or on a Play Station 1 and GameCube that he shared with his older brother.


“There used to be an element of surprise and adventure that I don’t experience in the newer versions.”
— Brenden Fraser


It’s the same games he played as a kid that he prefers today – and he’s found a way to play them.

“All the games I used to play can be run through a program on the computer called an emulator and played with a mouse and keyboard. However, some games require you to pay for the files to get the game,” he says.

Like Cormier, Fraser says playing these video games takes him back to a simpler time in his life when he didn’t have much stress. And he’s still a gamer, he adds.

“I participate in a real-time strategy game for PC called StarCraft II and have been working on mastering the game since 2015,” he says.

“The closest I can compare the game to is a much more exciting version of chess. I play in tournaments against the best players in the world. Personally, I’m in the top 500 players in the world, but I have several of the top 10 -players beat a streak in these tournaments.”

cartridge king

Mitch MacDonald hails from Cape North, Cape Breton, but is better known by his nickname: “Cartridge King”.

Some of the games he misses are Super Mario All-Stars, Street Fighter 2 and Doctor Mario, which he used to play on the Super Nintendo at home with his brother as a kid.

MacDonald says you can get some of the games today, but they’re not the same versions of the game he had as a kid.

“I loved these games as a kid because I could do them with my siblings. Online multiplayer is king these days, and I miss the old couch co-op,” he says.


Mitch MacDonald plays video games with his son Jimmy.  - Contributed - Contributed
Mitch MacDonald plays video games with his son Jimmy. – Contributed – Contributed

In comparison to today, MacDonald says, “People don’t leave their homes to play with their friends because they meet in online lobbies instead of getting on their bikes to play with friends at their homes, or in Going to arcades (to play retro games). . It’s not the same anymore.”

Still a gamer today, MacDonald teaches his kids how to play video games and helps them get better at it.

“As the “Cartridge King”, I specifically stream retro games live on Facebook. I run and enjoy co-op games with a few close friends through a program called Parsec and use Discord for voice chat,” he says.

But, he says, he misses the old days.

“It’s not the same. I’m not side by side on the couch hitting each other, but it scratches the itch.”

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