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Uncharted 4's Crash Bandicoot cameo made me nostalgic for a game I'd never played


Like many, I’d heard about the Crash Bandicoot’s cameo in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End before I witnessed it myself. I knew the basic premise: Nathan Drake plays the PS1 classic. And I’ll be honest: I thought this seemed like a terrible idea.

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Nathan Drake spends this game scavenging the world in search of treasure, but the real treasure is in his home all along.

On paper, it sounded like overly cutesy fourth wall-breaking fan-service. A clever, subtle homage can reignite a spark of warm, fuzzy nostalgia, but an overt in-your-face one is an immersion-breaking humblebrag. Yes, Naughty Dog, your studio has been around for over two decades. Yes, you made a game a lot of people enjoyed in their youth. Yes, the original PlayStation had a comically colourful logo. We get it!

And yet, this scene miraculously works. More impressively, it works for me, a person who has never played a Crash Bandicoot game in their life.

The key to this is the context. The idea that a married couple in 2016 would be playing a 20-year-old game, on a PlayStation One, that’s inconspicuously hooked up to their bigscreen TV, was always going to be a tough sell. Yet the writers, actors, directors, designers, and all the technical staff brought their A game and cleverly crafted a scenario that feels entirely believable.