Memory is a fickle thing. We often forget even things which made an impression on us, even if we made a conscious mental note of remembering that thing. This can be anything from the name of an actor or actress, a name of a song (super frustrating when that happens). Sometimes you can’t remember the name of a game. Especially if it’s an older game you used to play as a kid and wish to revisit recalling its title might be difficult…
So with that in mind, we prepared a short guide for you, whose purpose is to give you proper tools to find anything you’re looking for, using the vault of infinite knowledge known as the internet. This is our guide to helping you play again old games you remember.
A few words on Google algorithms
Since you’ll be using the internet to reach your quarry, you should probably know a few things about the algorithms that govern your searches. Know this: Google will keep a record of your previous search quarries and establish a history of online activity.
This means that the browser will attempt to give you things connected to other things you searched for in the past. For this reason, if you’re looking for something very obscure, I recommend using the Incognito mode (or your browser’s equivalent), as it will ignore your previous history.
Of course if you’ve disabled Google’s recording of your activities, which is possible to some degree, you’ll have that clean slate from the get-go.
Making a list
Now that your browser and mind’s eye are open, start constructing the list. You’ll want to write down as many facts about the game you’re looking for as you can remember.
Start with things with immediate relevance like the genre, the developer and/or publisher, the year of release, and the platforms the game was available on. The more qualifiers you include, the more precise your search will be, but it’s possible that you misremember something.
If you can recall the developer or the publisher, try going through their list of released games, e.g. in their Wikipedia entry. Going down the list can be time-consuming depending on how prolific the company in question is, but that’s the best bet for finding the thing you’re looking for.
If you don’t remember things clearly enough, you can unintentionally create a contradictory set that will yield no results whatsoever. If that happens, try removing some of the things that you’re not certain of and keep going.
If you can’t recall things that would be relevant to algorithms, try to think of things of secondary importance and look for those instead. For example, if a specific character made an impression on you, try describing them.
Where can I go to have people help me find a game?
You can also try using public resources. Yes, asking a friend or a family member can be effective, but there’s also plenty of places online where people with various interests congregate.
The video games-related parts of Reddit, in particular, are a very good resource. There’s plenty of subreddits devoted to specific and often highly obscure things. If you can remember the genre of the game you’re looking for try a relevant subreddit first and ask if anybody remembers the specific thing you’re looking for.
Post your query in multiple places at once to maximize your chances of getting a response and be patient. Searching for things on the internet is very much like hunting. Start with big, popular subreddits like r/Gaming and then move on to the less popular ones.
If Reddit isn’t exactly you cup of tea, you can also find help in other places around the internet.
One of them is the “G2A Game Advisor” group on Facebook, which will not only gladly help you find the game you’re looking for, but will also suggest some you weren’t even aware existed, but fit your criteria.
Or you could go to Quora, a service dedicated entirely to answering people’s questions, and ask there. It’s very likely that Quora’s millions-strong userbase will include somebody who can divine what you’re asking about.
What if only a miracle can help me find a game?
If it comes to pass that Google searches keep returning nothing of value, you can’t remember the developer’s name and all social media are us dumbstruck as you are, there’s another option you can fall back on.
Have you ever heard of Akinator? It’s a free browser game that became a little bit of a phenomenon in 2010. This internet Genie will ask you a series of question attempting to zero-in on the thing you’re looking for, like a game of 20 questions.
It works best with characters, so that’s your best bet. Over the years its algorithms were steadily updated to the point where it’s now truly uncanny and can often guess even the most obscure things in the world. This is, of course, a Hail Mary of sorts, but you’d be surprised how many difficult searches the genie helped me resolve.
This is pretty much all I can do to help. The most important aspect of searching is perseverance. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the thing you’ve been looking for immediately. Keep lurking, keep asking questions and sooner or later you’ll find it.
Games are usually not the hardest to find because they tend to make a lasting impression and virtually every game has its ardent fans, so given enough time and determination, you should be able to find what you’re looking for.