I still buy physical media.
Now why would I do that? Who else still does that, when we have downloads and streaming for everything? As far as downloads go, it’s mainly a personal preference that varies based on the type of media (for computer games and music I relish being able to download everything I could want on Steam or iTunes; for movies and books, however, I find the practicality and share-ability of a single disc or paperback preferable to being limited to use on certain devices). Both downloads and streams, however, streams moreso than downloads, have one serious problem: we can’t trust them to last.
Two recent game fads demonstrate this problem: Flappy Bird and Namco High. Neither are masterpieces of the craft of game design, but both left an impression, and both could disappear forever despite that. Flappy Bird was a mobile download, so everyone who downloaded it the first time can still enjoy its simplistic torture, and it’s simple enough to be replicated in a billion different other ways, but the original game has disappeared from the App Store. You can’t find it at a used game store, though you can buy someone else’s phone if you want to play it (at one point phones with Flappy Bird were going for obscene amounts on eBay).
Namco High is a more enjoyable experience than Flappy Bird, but it’s at greater risk of being lost forever. The game, written by Andrew Hussie of Homestuck fame (speaking of, it’s 4/13 in a month, fellow Homestucks!), is a dating sim involving obscure Namco game characters (INCLUDING THE GALAGA SHIP, THE MOST ALLURING THING IN THE UNIVERSE!) and a few Homesuck characters as well just because. It’s a browser game playable at http://shiftylook.com/games/namcohigh… For now. Because Namco Bandai is shutting down ShiftyLook, the American division that’s created Namco High as well as various cartoons and comics based on other obscure Namco characters, the in-game purchases end March 28th while the game itself stops being playable June 30th (this isn’t the first time Namco Bandai has shuttered a relatively successful American division because it wasn’t as successful as they wanted; see the sad tale of Bandai Entertainment USA). Since Namco High‘s appeal is in its characters, art, and writing rather than its extremely minimal gameplay, it can’t be cloned like Flappy Bird.
So enjoy Namco High while you still can. Paying for extra characters probably feels like a waste with the game disappearing in a few months, but there’s still six free routes (including GALAGA!). It’s not going to set your world on fire (unless you really like dating spaceships and don’t mind the really short length), but it is sad knowing this will go. It seems like this will be a pretty common occurrence in the age of streaming content. Other eras have their lost works of art, too. The legends of the original cut of The Magnificent Andersons and The Day the Clown Cried as the best and worst movies ever made respectively might be more powerful if we never actually get to see them, if they stay in our imaginations. So perhaps it is time we start creating the new legends, legends of Namco High, legends that are greater than this silly little browser game could ever be.
Just be true to yourself, as Pac-Man says. Be true to yourself. Namco High.