I must confess I was a bit let down by Twin Cobra. The graphics seemed bland and repetitive, there was little variety in the enemies, and nothing in the way of story at all. I The game is fairly difficult, too, perhaps since I'm not quite as sharp in the reflex department as I used to be. Twin Cobra doesn't have a health bar or shields to help you. To the game's credit, most of its contemporaries didn't either, but it still felt frustrating to me. I can only imagine how many quarters it would have taken to beat the game. My solo playthrough was nothing special at all.
However, my friend's appraisal was quite a bit more forgiving than mine. Once he arrived, we stood shoulder to shoulder, blasting away at tank after tank, poorly dodging bullets and pressing the credit button a truly embarassing number of times. As you'd expect, the game was more fun in co-op than it was alone, but still, it wasn't really spectacular. When we were finally done, my friend seemed quite pleased. "It's not nearly as good as I remember, but it still brings back old memories", he said.
For him, playing Twin Cobra was a much better experience than it was for me. I had no previous connection to the game, and thus, I looked at it more critically. When compared to all the other shooters I've played in the past twenty years, Twin Cobra came up short. But when tied to his memories, to a long ago experience, to a time that can never again be recaptured, the game was much more enjoyable. Perhaps, just for a moment, he was back in that convenience store, a Slurpee and candy nearby, his bike laying on the sidewalk outside. That little reminder of the way things used to be was enough to make Twin Cobra a classic for him.
When you hear the word "classic", immediately, cars, music, and movies come to mind. Most people wouldn't consider any video game to be classic. Yet, for those of us who grew up playing games, they are classic, in the truest sense of the word. When we play a dated old game that was something we enjoyed when we were younger, we don't see the flaws, we just remember old times and enjoy ourselves. Playing classic games can reawaken memories that we have all but forgotten. Modern games with high def graphics, compelling stories, and innovative gameplay are great, but sometimes, a little glimpse into the past is the most fun of all.