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A Look Back on Gex the Gecko
I recently finished a Let’s Play of Gex 3, so I had a good amount of time to reflect on it while simultaneously reliving some childhood gaming memories.
Nowadays the Gex series seems as just another fond favorite of its players from their childhoods, and while the constant repetitions of catch phrases and references of 1980s and 90s TV culture seems annoying, I really feel like the Gex series had something going for it.
It may not have the recognition, addictive gameplay, level design and mechanics of Spyro, Crash, or even Ape Escape,
but it made it up in concept; A game about A TV loving gecko being pulled into an alternate dimension of television and thwarting a villain whos goal was to make all television awful fit right in with other platformers of the PS1/N64 era using the same gameplay formula; complete an objective in a level, get an item, get enough items to unlock more levels, repeat until final boss fight.It was also strong in replayabilitity; while games like Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo Kazooie had wide, open-ended levels where exploration was key but the goal was still clear, Gex kept levels small and easy to familurize yourself with, occasionally you’d have split path and end up clearing an objective you didn’t intend to, you just take the other route the next time you came to the level. Each return you’d be a little bit better as you would remember where the enemies were, and where all the health and life flies were at. After all, Gex was one of those where you wanted to keep playing, even after beating the game getting almost every remote, I kept returning to level after level, enjoying journey of completing the objectives and reaching the end of the stage, instead of the end result.
Gex is a series I think is due for a revival. Keep the formula, but make it more current. For starters, don’t just make the levels references to genres of western television, make them parodies, or even satires of modern television. If I told you there was a game that had a level that was directly making fun of Jersey Shore, you’d play it wouldn’t you? Better then that, go beyond TV; have levels parodying movies, video game series, and even Youtube. Think about that, a game that not only used modern entertainment as the setting, but also made fun of it while having fun with it. People would laugh because of the humor itself, but they could also laugh because they would get the jokes; have a shooter game level where at one point you have to use a grenade launcher, after word all enemies would yell at you for “spamming the noob tube”, how about a platformer level where one objective had you defeating fire breathing turtles inhabiting castles, and each time you defeat one, an NPC tells you that the remote is in another castle.
Gex is, was, a charming game with the right premise and game play formula for it’s time, and I believe that with appropriate updates in game play mechanics, and an improvement in it’s humour to fit the modern scene of gaming and TV culture, it might just be an even better game today than it was before.