A Disney Afternoon in Time

Come my friend, it’s time to put on the nostalgia glasses and come back with me to an era when after school cartoons were a thing and the Internet was a movie dream shown by a young Matthew Broderick or Tron.

If I didn’t manage to make it home in time for X-Men then Goof Troop, Duck Tales, and TailSpin kept me in good company as I did my homework (if I had any).

When I first got wind of the Disney Afternoon Collection it went to the top of my wish list. I remember renting both DuckTales and Rescue Rangers growing up and beating them triumphantly. Due to how often I rented them my mom even got DuckTales for a birthday for me back in the day. Having beat it, my young mind went for an unopened exchange of Base Wars at Walmart instead. The collector me of today still cringes at that decision. (Though I’d love a Base Wars remake at this point actually, staying true to the original. Hey, they did it for NBA Jam.)

Have I beaten them all again yet? No. I hung my Playstation Network trophy hunter hat up when Final Fantasy XIII entered my backlog of shame (I’ll get to it eventually, I swear!) What I have done is finished off exploring DuckTales and mentally comparing it to the HD Remaster of that game from a few years ago that rests on my PS3 hard drive.

Take that Flintheart!

My teenager son caught me playing DuckTales. He took one look at it, turned around, and left. He returned to the safety of Terraria, Minecraft, and Garry’s Mod instead. I don’t blame him, really. He beat the remaster, so like young me who traded one game for another, why play a worse looking copy? Again?

Nostalgia.

What’s strange is I didn’t like the remaster. It felt too foreign. The controls were polished for today’s generation. I had trouble adjusting. It was as though muscle memories from decades ago were trying to claw their way forward and screaming in frustration because ‘the thing isn’t doing the thing the same way!’ The difficulty was certainly still there, the stage maps still felt ‘right’. The remaster experience for me was unsatisfying. Maybe I was simply too distracted with how pretty it was, trying to find all the differences rather than appreciate the new. Meanwhile, the first time this emulated DuckTales had too many sprites on screen at once and the game actually slowed down? My pure nostalgia joy alarms were triggering left and right.

I eventually landed on buying this game for the PS4 because I only have one Steam controller and I wanted to share it with my younger kids. I’ve exposed them to these characters thanks to DVD collections. They know Uncle Scrooge, Chip, Dale, and my personal favorite: Darkwing Duck. I’m proud to say that they even know who the Disney Gummi Bears are.

Younger son (almost 9) and middle daughter (6) happily picked up controllers and I released them into Rescue Rangers and the robot dogs of yore to see how they’d fare. Son quickly learned he could pick his little sister up and throw her in a hole, cackling as she yelled in shock at the audacity.


Dale looks a little too happy about falling to his doom.

No strangers to platformers they understood the basic concepts pretty quickly and it was like I’d stepped back in time. I was now my dad, watching kids play and struggle through levels that had given me the same pause. Something that especially pleased them was how the little chipmunks hid in the crates and boxes they could pick up.

Anybody else just get a Solid Snake flashback?

What eventually ended their play was the toddler (3), who amazingly already knows how to log into the PS4 and repeatedly usurped their controls. They'd quickly regain access, but it was long enough that poor Chip or Dale went careening down a hole. I purposefully haven’t shared the rewind feature yet, mostly because I know the son would likely abuse it (he has a history of pausing ad nauseum in Smash Bros), but I’m sure they’ll discover it eventually.

Final review or thoughts? I hope the communal ‘they’ goes out to the archives and brings back more collections like this. The license nightmare alone must have been daunting to get this collection released. I’d still like to know why it’s not on the Switch too. There are hidden treasures waiting to be inflicted on new generations of gamers that don’t need remastering, they need preservation and restoration (and preferably PC/cloud releases so we don’t lose them to hardware retirement *cough* Simpsons Arcade *cough*). A classic re-release of some of the Ogre Battle games would be grand. Maybe a re-release of arcade Rastan? Hey Nickelodeon, how about loosening your license controls on the Ninja Turtles again so I could see the original and turtles in time both in arcade form? I dread the day I can’t play original TMNT arcade or Re-Shelled because my PS3 finally rolls over and plays dead.

Personally, I look forward to going ahead and dusting off the trophy hat and trying a game I didn’t have the chance to play in my childhood without the rewind feature: Darkwing Duck.

What games, without dusting off a legacy system, would you want to share with today's group of gamers?

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