There is a language to video games. Certain items, certain shapes, mean certain things. Spikes – in many cases gray triangles – mean instant death, as just an example. Play one of any number of early games and you will learn this quickly. Metroid, Castlevania, Mega Man. These pillars of the Old School established a lexicon that modern games use today to tell a player where to go and what to avoid at all costs. Cave Story builds on this language and with it engages both the player’s present and their nostalgia. It feels like it could have existed on the NES or any other earlier system. It didn’t though. Developed by Studio Pixel over five years, Cave Story was released in 2004 as Doukutsu Monogatari by Daisuke Amaya. While receiving some attention after its release, the real explosion of popularity came from a fan translation that patched English into the game. Today, this game with its Old School archetypes and unique story gives a experience not to be missed. Luckily, the game can be found, for free, on any number of systems including Linux, PSP, Xbox, Amiga OS and even Mac OS X.