Remembering and forgetting

Not all phases of life are equally present for us, because our memories are not evenly distributed over the years of life so far. While early childhood is often completely absent from memory, the time between the ages of 15 and 25 is usually very vivid in our minds. This (for almost all humans) characteristic distribution is characterized by many researchers as imperative – and without the underlying process of forgetting, our memory would eventually collapse due to overload. From our childhood, therefore, often only isolated moments or scattered fragments can be recalled before the inner eye. In addition, we very rarely remember proactively – mostly stored fragments of childhood are triggered and flushed up by smells, music, places, images or feelings. My childhood memories are often triggered by video games. No wonder, since several central memory triggers (soundsplacesimages & feelings) are naturally unified in this medium.

Team Xtreme: Operation Weather Disaster has earned its place in my personal list of favorite video games not for qualitative reasons, but because the game triggers multi-layered, interwoven childhood memories. I first encountered the game as a demo version that was on the issue CD of my very, very, very favorite video game magazine: Fun Online. Only ten regular issues were published within three years – but for my ten-year-old self, each of these issues was an absolute highlight. I can still relate to that indescribable anticipation when the release date of the next issue approached. Even the magazine shelf and the checkout area of the gas station where I bought Fun Online each time for a hefty 5 USD on the day of publication are still vivid in my mind. My gosh, did I love that magazine. Besides typical previews and reviews, there were also comics with Zocky McHacker (the crocodile magazine mascot) and the already mentioned magazine CD – packed with shareware, fun programs, videos and demos.

On Kult Cover Disks there are even more issues of Fun Online

The demo of Team Xtreme: Operation Weather Disaster left such a lasting impression that I absolutely had to have the full version. Unfortunately, no one at the local electronic store had ever heard of this game and it didn’t show up in their database either. So ordering from the software order catalog, which was located in the center section of Fun Online, was the only way to get my hands on this game after all. After days of persuasion, my parents finally entered their bank details on the order card. I don’t know if they were overcautious or if there were well-founded arguments against filling out such order cards at that time. In retrospect, perhaps the high cost factor was also the reason for my parents’ hesitation, because Team Xtreme: Operation Weather Disaster was not exactly cheap at 100 USD. I don’t remember how I was able to convince my parents in the end – but I remember all the more clearly my unbridled joy when the game finally arrived in my mailbox after a long wait. I also remember my unbridled frustration shortly afterwards: Team Xtreme: Operation Weather Disaster always crashed exactly at the point where the demo ended. Each time with the same error message: Data load error.

Parallel to this, my memories are now also jammed. Did it work at some point? Could the problem be solved by a reinstallation? I have solved the puzzles and tasks of the playable (demo) part countless times and would still have the procedure ready today. But did I ever finish the game? I asked my father and he actually remembered: After an angry (the man had paid almost 100 USD because he let himself be talked into it by a ten-year-old!) call to the publisher’s hotline, he was supposed to send in the CD. In fact, it turned out some time later that the data loading error was caused by a faulty CD burning process. He was put off for a long time, but eventually an error-corrected CD arrived. However, I would not have been happy then – my interest had probably vanished. The full version of Team Xtreme: Operation Weather Disaster landed in the box a short time later. There it is, beside numerous floppy disks and countless CDs, still today. When I rummage through this box in a nostalgic fit and discover the error-corrected CD with the full version of Team Xtreme: Operation Weather Disaster, I immediately want to be ten years old again.

From the promotional text by Fun Online: A disgruntled TV weatherman, bored with the stable weather conditions of his work place, changes the world climate in radical ways. A disaster task force called Team Xtreme is called to restore normal conditions to all places in Earth and fight the evil madman.

This post is also available in: German