Talking Point: Everyone Has A Bad Game They Love, So What’s Yours? Leave a comment

Lord of the Rings SNES© Nintendo Life

Recently, I set out on a quest to track down a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Volume 1 for the Super Nintendo – a game that I awarded a paltry 3/10 to some time ago. I didn’t seek out a copy as a strange kind of punishment, or to be ironic – I wanted to re-own it because, despite being pretty terrible, I’ve got a genuine, heartfelt connection with it.

Back in 1994, when Lord of the Rings originally hit the SNES, I was already a seasoned fan of the acclaimed fantasy series. My introduction to Tolkien’s world wasn’t the book trilogy – or even the child-friendly prequel novel, The Hobbit – but Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated version of the first two Lord of the Rings books – The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers – and, following this rather uneven (but still beloved) primer to Middle-earth, I read the original books a few years later. By the time I’d hit my teenage years, I was hungry to consume as much media relating to the series as possible – which, back in the early ’90s, wasn’t as easy as you might assume (Peter Jackson’s blockbuster movies were still some way off).

As you can imagine, I was keen to get my hands on Lord of the Rings for the SNES, despite the only other game based on the series that I’d played – War in Middle-earth on my Atari ST – being something of a disappointment. Interplay, the company behind the SNES outing, had already created two Lord of the Rings games for personal computers, but I’d only seen screenshots in magazines and had never actually played them. Therefore, I was entering into the SNES version with a degree of optimism – optimism which only increased the more I read about the grand scope of the game in magazine previews of the period.

The release of Lord of the Rings: Volume 1 was delayed somewhat, and by the time it eventually arrived in 1994, excitement was building for the next generation of gaming, with the 3DO and Atari Jaguar already available and the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn both looming on the horizon. Still, I was a committed fan and the fact that Interplay’s SNES game borrowed heavily from the 1978 animated film only cemented my desire to actually play it.

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