As an 80s kid whose first gaming system was the NES, it’s easy to look back at awful games and remember them fondly.
One such game is Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. The game’s themes were a departure from much of what I was used to at the time. It didn’t have the bright colorful worlds and lightheartedness of the Mario or Megaman series.
Simon’s Quest also seemed more mature than everything else I’d played back then. I remember the game having a lot of text, but lacking the reading coprehension skills at the time to make full sense of everything going on. Still, I felt like a big boy with all the reading asked of me.
What drew me in at the time, even as a kid, was Castlevania’s gothic atmosphere. The music, to this day, is some of my favorite in videogames.
The game’s religious themes also fascinated me. The player could walk into a church and a priest would allow them to stay and recover health. For me, at least, it added a sense of mystery.
I played the game for several days over the summer of ’89, if memory serves me correctly. During this time, my best friend and a cousin were spending the summer days at my house. They were attending CCE at the time. It was some sort of Catholic summer school thing that all of my friends (except for me) went to every day. Looking back, I’m not sure it if was every day, or if it just seemed like every day. Those weeks of summer were kind of a blur of Simon’s Quest and episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with my friend and cousin.
They were complaining about Sister what’s-her-name, or singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!” I’d often just sit there and say “Shut up! I’m trying to kill Dracula!”
That didn’t help, they’d just keep singing.
It was a great time that I will always have happy memories of. They learned something about the Bible. But that summer, I learned that all it takes to kill Dracula is a whip and a few vials of holy water.