Muscle Memory

We joke about how we can remember the jingle to an old commercial or quote a movie from 20 years ago but we can’t recite the first three sentences of the Constitution or know where Iran is on a map. But the fact is that repetition is one of the best teachers.

I’m reminded of this when I started playing Resident Evil 4 HD on the Xbox 360. Like getting on a bike after years without riding, I knew exactly what I was doing. After over FIVE years, it was as if it was only yesterday. It was strange, but there was no need for a tutorial (which is good, because I don’t remember there being one). In fact, I was freaking out that they had left out the “quick-turn” ability. You can’t play the game without that ability. Luckily, instead of pressing ‘B’ and pulling down on the control stick, you use ‘A’. Once I got that figured out, it was like olden times.

There are other games like this, but Resident Evil 4 and me are pals.

I imagine that Diablo 3 is going to be like this.

What games do you go back and it’s like you never left?


  1. Punch-Out!! is that game for me.

    When it first showed up on the Virtual Console, it had been, what, fifteen years since I played it last? Perhaps longer. But I went right back into it, and even ran into the same problems I used to (I’m looking at you, Soda Popinski).

    More recently, Star Fox 3D brought the old memories back. Again, like I never stopped playing. I actually got annoyed with all of the tutorials. I muttered to myself, “I already know this game, just let me play!”

    Totally the opposite of this was Ocarina of Time 3D. For a game that I still count as my favorite game of all time, it was very strange that I couldn’t remember how to get the sword in order to see the Deku Tree or how to break into the castle.

    • Yeah! I had the same experience with the Punch-Out! version on the Wii. Even though some of the controls were obviously different, it still felt natural.

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