Bugs Bunny Lost in Time and the gaming that no longer exists

Bugs Bunny Lost in Time and the gaming that no longer exists

Putting Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time in the title of an article is a bit like making a huge clickbait. Also because yes, in this article there will also be Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, but the truth is that it is a pretext to talk about a video game market that no longer exists, an era made up of instinctive and unjustified purchases, of simple and unpretentious products, of an audience open to any experience.

If you clicked, it is probably because you have more than a few memories related to Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, a 1999 title developed for Sony PlayStation by Behavior Interactive, now known for Dead by Daylight, and published by the now forgotten Infogrames. A title in which they took on the role of the most famous rabbit in the world, walking through the historical eras that characterized the animation of the Looney Toones, collecting golden carrots and facing legendary enemies.

Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, for some strange reason, is a video game that has remained in the memory of millions of fans. A video game that on GameRankings could boast an average of around 6, which did not bring revolutionary mechanics to the plate, which unrolled along a path of small problems related to gameplay.

Sometimes an image is enough to get your hands on in the hair. But also to get lost in the river of memories. Yet it was Lost in Time, and come on, anyone who has had a PlayStation has played Lost in Time, and probably many of those gamers were experiencing the classic honeymoon phase with the console, taking 100% from whatever happened underneath. hand, experiencing the explosion of childhood wonder to the fullest, preserving tons of precious memories linked to those carefree moments.

Then there is the question of the real numbers of the video game market. We are used to reading an avalanche of estimates on the number of copies sold, on the proceeds of software houses, on the amount of downloads of a single experience. At that time these data existed but were treated with velvet gloves, and often they were completely unable to assess the real diffusion of the products.

Even if today we ignore it, and we treat the great PlayStation exclusives as titles capable of selling "only" 10 million copies compared to the hundreds of millions of consoles placed, the real numbers of the Sony home market were actually much more substantial. The choice of the CD-Rom, while proving to be a winner over time, has in fact opened its doors to the piracy market, which in the space of a few years has reached frightening dimensions.

PSX has been "chipped" around one year since the official release, and it is estimated that in 1998 at least 20% of the installed base used pirated software, with even higher peaks in Europe and South America. This means that, potentially, some PlayStation titles may have experienced four times the spread estimated through analysts' data, and it cannot be excluded that the work dedicated to Bugs Bunny has had the same fate, alongside productions such as Hugo or Rescue Shot. .

Don't lie: we know you've seen this screen! If the names Hugo and Rescue Shot tell you something, it is probably because they constitute two of the most pirated PlayStation titles of all time, capable of reaching such a diffusion as to rest even under other covers. This means that the grandmother, at the market, went to the stand of the mastered video games convinced that she was buying the brand new episode of Pokémon for Sony PlayStation, but in the end the grandson found the adventure of the bunny of Rescue Shot on his hands, perhaps told in Japanese.

All this to say that being able to read the actual popularity achieved by PSX titles is an extremely difficult task, but this is not necessarily the case with Bugs Bunny. After all we are talking about Bugs Bunny, not the latest arrival, a character who at the time of the launch played basketball against the Monstars together with his royal highness Michael Jordan.

But let's go back to Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time : half platform, half collectathlon, 90% Looney Toones licensed title, 10% a forge of weird game mechanics. Today, it is very difficult to assess how successful the Lost in Time operation has been, because the river of fans' memories has to deal with a work at the limit of sufficiency from many, too many points of view.

From the unmanageable camera to the system of controls far from precise, the technical fabric that unrolled between the world "Nowhere" and the galaxy of Marvin the Martian was at times like hands in hair. And it is for this reason that today we are talking about a gaming that no longer exists, because at the time passing over limits of this genre was the norm, and indeed, the public was able to build extraordinary memories on more than ever fragile foundations.

Bugs Bunny Lost in Time, let's remember, was released a year after Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. A case that is particularly dear to me is that of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, developed by Big Ape Productions and published in 1999 by LucasArts for Windows and PlayStation. This title was a mandatory purchase for any young fan of the saga, or rather, for anyone young enough to be able to appreciate the beginnings of the second Lucas film trilogy.

The problem? Even The Phantom Menace was a videogame studded with tons of flaws and imperfections, told through a camera to say the least unmanageable and built on a gameplay formula that was leaking from all sides. The action dynamics clashed with the possibility of observing only the few meters behind the protagonist, while a long series of unfortunate platforming ambitions had to collide with a system of jumping and movement to say the least inaccurate.

But below this shaky skeleton also hid interesting game sections close to RPG inspiration, dozens of small secrets hidden on the edge of the maps and several easter eggs designed to whet the imagination of fans. Enough to turn such an unstable huddle into an immersive experience, bordering on the memorable for those who got lost in the 64-bit era.

And this is precisely the point we are interested in touching: today there is no more room for medians, the market does not forgive mediocrity, it is not willing to turn a blind eye, so much so that even the "AA" "they must necessarily embody some degree of artistic measure in order to hope to conquer a space on consoles. Today a product is consumed quickly and ends up being destined for only two categories: either it's a good video game or it sucks.

The Phantom Menace for PSX is my personal secret sin. What is yours? This polarization represents the true face of the problem that is afflicting the contemporary videogame market, and not only that. We do not want to open a further digression but the fact is that even the conferences and directives organized by the largest publishers are now subject to this classification procedure, reducing only to sensational successes or sensational failures. We have to get everything right, otherwise it would have been better not to show up on stage at all.

And how should we evaluate, today, brands like Gex, or Croc, but also famous names like Medievil and Spyro, which have reached the size of the mass while bringing along edges that are impossible to file even within the confines of a remake? In the past we have been able to overlook the defects and build a special relationship with dozens and dozens of imperfect works, while today we find ourselves fleasing any project, solving it in memetics and almost "enjoying" the slips of the developers. And the bigger the developers, the more noise they make when they fall.

Now the curtain could be raised on a further layer of discussion, looking for the hidden reasons behind the paradigm shift that the audience of mass. Perhaps it is an economic question, closely linked to the financial evolution of the medium and the presumed awareness that accompanies the purchases of enthusiasts. Perhaps it is a cultural question, close to that extraordinary and disturbing social explosion that has greatly changed the critical approach to any product.

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Today you have to be perfect. But no matter how hard you try it is never enough and some are always unhappy. But solving the equation is not the goal of this analysis. The purpose, on the other hand, is to reflect on the works with which we have formed a strong emotional bond, those titles that yes, perhaps they are imperfect, which would even be unacceptable according to the contemporary canon, but which have managed to imprint themselves in our memory, sometimes even in the mass market. To reflect on the fact that perhaps, as a community, we have become demanding to the limit of fussy.

Now we ask you: is there any "mediocre" video game, or at least easily attackable, that has marked yours career as a gamer? Here: how would you react if that game were released today?

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