N-Europe Turns Twenty-Four

It's that time of year again. N-Europe is Twenty-Four years old, (as of a few days ago) if you'd like to know a bit about the site's history, then you can check out the Twenty-Second celebratory article, which was posted two years ago, then we skipped a year, and here we are in 2022, shortly after the New Year has just begun.

And what a two years it has been since taking on the role of Editor-in-Chief. At the start of 2020, I was all set to steer the ship of N-Europe through whatever seas we would find, and it soon became apparent that these seas would be anything but calm. It seems that 2021 proved to be a turbulent year, with 2022 still seemingly set to make waves, whichever way you look at it.

There's a storm which was on the horizon, maybe it was always there, but now that we're in it, everyone has at least witnessed some of its effects. This has understandably caused many to reassess what is important to them, which is a good thing, as we always have a choice, which is important to remember. I'm grateful to anyone who has decided to stick around, as while a ship can keep on sailing, it usually does better when it has a functioning crew, but I also understand that many have left for different reasons, which I respect.

Docking the ship analogy for now, steering back to games, and everything seems to have come full-circle. N-Europe originally started as N64 Europe, the Nintendo 64 was so influential as it brought 3D videogames into existence. Each subsequently released console has had more advanced iterations of these 3D games, though these early 3D games seem to return in some form, at some point in the life-cycle of the console.

On the Nintendo GameCube, there were two Zelda games ported onto disc which were playable despite the questionable quality of the official emulation, then at the launch of the Wii in 2006 there was the Virtual Console, which made several N64 games available, offering multiple controller options and better overall emulation. On the Wii U, there were no N64 games until 2015, though when they did arrive, this offered yet more ways to play the games, despite the trade-off with the emulation. And now, since the end of 2021, N64 games have been made available as part of the Nintendo Switch Online service via the Expansion Pak. Although you can't own the games this time, the N64 titles available do seem to work well enough, (again, with various emulation trade-offs) and now have the option of playing the game with an official replica of the N64 controller, for a price.

It's good to see that many more people will potentially have the chance to play those early 3D games which launched on the N64, games which many of us had the chance to play when they were first released over a quarter of a century ago. It can be interesting to look back at these videogames, these windows into three-dimensonal worlds, made up of many triangles, rendered into characters, locations, items and moments which have been committed to memory as things which we may still remember fondly.

Returning to these worlds can bring us back to "simpler times" perhaps, recalling where we were when a particular game was experienced, or who else was present in the room while those who were playing were becoming focused on being present in a different way, making those rendered triangles on screen appear "sentient" with the push of a stick, or the press of a button.

The allure of an interactive medium in the form of virtual playgrounds, interwoven with stories, can be powerful.

Personally, I've found the allure of videogames to be less powerful in recent times, as while there are many digital distractions available on the Nintendo Switch, these may only be appealing if you're looking for a distraction. There are times when a distraction can be very welcome, I've recently read that playing Tetris can potentially lessen the effect of trauma, for example, as it can alter your thought process.

Taking your mind off something using videogames as escapism can be a useful tool, though it's not something I would choose to rely on. I used to do this regularly, there was a time when I'd play through a game I'm familiar with, just because... and that's fine, as you don't need a reason to play a videogame, although; equally you don't need a reason not to either. It can be beneficial to just take time for yourself as well, away from all distractions.

But this is N-Europe, a website dedicated to Nintendo games, and of course that's what most people probably come here for. It's useful to reflect at these times though. In any case, this is the start of a new year, and while I would attempt to temper your expectations of what to expect from our long-running site, being that this is an independently run Nintendo site, and that it takes energy to put together any article... it is reasonable to assume that there will be some limited news coverage, including the usual weekly eShop article, some reviews of new Switch games either from review codes or personally purchased copies of titles, and features as they arise.

Our site has recently been rehosted thanks to Chris Short, one of our site Administrators, who has rebuilt the site, resulting in much quicker loading of the main page for our readers, and simpler software for the uploading of articles, which should mean more articles, once all of our staff members are familiar with the software. (Either that, or I'll be personally putting up most of the content on the main page)

Thank you to Chris for upgrading the site, also thank you to all staff members who have written articles for N-Europe over the past year, or indeed during the entire history of the website. Also, a thank you to our readers, forum members, and anyone who has contributed to our Patreon, as it all helps go towards server hosting costs, and all funds are either put straight back into the general running of the site, or put towards site related endeavours.

A special mention to Dennis Tummers, who has been a staff member at N-Europe for many years, contributing many reviews, features, and the weekly eShop news articles. He has decided that it's time to step down, and I wanted to thank him for all that he's done for the site. We wish you all the very best, Dennis and we'll surely see you on the forums. We'll carry on posting the Nintendo eShop new releases in a similar format to that which our readers have become accustomed to.

Let's see what 2022 brings for N-Europe, Nintendo and in general for us all. There will surely be games to be played, lives to be lived, and experiences to be... experienced. I'd like to wish for the very best for everyone, whatever that looks like to you, and again, as with the N-Ew Years message; here's to health, hapiness and freedom of choice for everyone, in every aspect of life.

Sam C Gittins

It'll be Twenty-Five years next year, that's a quarter of a century. Perhaps we'll have a more timely article around this time next year, though having an article after the fact seems appropriate for this year, as does the repurposed banner from a couple of years ago. For the 25th though, we'll surely come up with something special, I'd imagine. Though no promises, so as not to put too much energy into a hypothetical moment in time, which is all too easy to do. Let's enjoy the moment.

If you'd like to see some of our staff and forum members reminiscing, or indeed if you have N-E memories which you would like to share, then you can always join in with the discussion on our forum.

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