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The Joy in Metroid Dread

Metroid is back! The internet celebrated! Over the past weeks, reviews, thoughts, and just gleeful tweets and Instagram posts have gushed over a return to form for one of the most beloved video game series in gaming. But why is it so special? Why does this moment, the release of Metroid Dread, create such a shared joy? It’s a game that, unbelievably, only has 5 games in the main series despite being around since 1987! Dread is the 5th game. There is also Metroid Prime, a universally loved trilogy of FPS (First-person adventure?) games that appeared on the Nintendo Gamecube and the Nintendo Wii. There have also been remakes, and I’m pretty sure Metroid and Super Metroid (games 1 &3 in the series respectively) have appeared on every Nintendo console since the DS/Wii.  There were a couple of side steps, Metroid Federation Force, and Metroid: Other M are not as beloved, but by and large Metroid punched above its weight every time. There is in fact an entire genre of video games called Metroidvanias (Metroid shares the genre title with another gaming giant, Castlevania). Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, and others have taken the basic building blocks of Metroid and improved upon the existing formula.

So why such joy in Dread? It’s actually a pretty tense and sometimes spooky game. I’ve been able to see, through my smartphone lenses, the collective joy of people just enjoying the game. People posted their times beating the game and reload to play the game on HARD mode, to complete it on 100%. I have not actually beaten it yet. It is a difficult, but wonderful game, and honestly, I’m trying to explore every nook and cranny and get every item I can, going for the 100% myself.

Super Smash Bros was actually my introduction to the character of Samus. Metroid Prime was my first game to play as Samus on one of her adventures. I know I know, how did I miss Super Metroid on Super Nintendo? It was a little before my time, I really got into video games around ‘94, about when I was 7, so I missed out on some early adventures. But I finally got around to it a few years ago on the Wii U, and then again on the Switch when the SNES got put online. 

Metroid Dread has been one of my favorite games to play this year. Its gameplay is amazing, Samus feels fast and sleek, the enemies, even just the normal guys in between boss fights, are all threats, and don’t get me started on the E.M.M.I’s. These things are terrifying and unbeatable. 

So I was so glad to jump in with internet friends, twitch content creators I enjoy, and everyone else when the game was released on October 8th. I played 30 minutes after midnight, which was all I could afford to do rest-wise, but every return has been exciting, and a non-stop thrill ride. I personally think that, as of now, Metroid Dread is the best action game released this year. 

I think that there has been an added fun to the community aspect of it, despite it being a single-player game. It reminds me of when I was young and I would talk about my favorite game that I played or was playing because, in the 90s/early 2000s, we didn’t have social media to talk about. Just the people in our lives. I think it’s been really neat seeing that being shown again through social media now. People talk about the gameplay, share screenshots, and post the times in which they completed the game. A few friends have started second playthroughs. There’s been a shared joy in the game of Dread, the return of a long-dormant franchise. Hopefully, Nintendo will dig into this and make more adventures for our heroine Samus Aran. 

Adam is a father, husband, student at SBTS and serves as youth minister at CBC Lancaster. You can follow him on Twitter @adamclodfelter for nerdy jokes and follow him on Twitch at twitch.tv/adamclodfelter to see him play games, decently.

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