Don’t get me wrong, I love modern gaming and this generation was when my gaming career truly took flight. This was mainly due to the plethora of amazing games released in the past eight or so years and the wonderful friends I have met along the way. I am also eagerly awaiting the next generation of game consoles and the wonderful new games that will be released on them. All that being said, a part of me still remembers the days of classic gaming and what I miss about them.
For me, classic/retro gaming was the NES/SNES era. The first game I remember playing was Super Mario Bros. on the NES, you know, the one that came paired with Duck Hunt. I was still rather young at that time though, the game was released 4 years before I was even born and I imagine I may have been around 5 years old when I played it. That was the beginning, I suppose. Growing up with an older brother meant lots of video games, without his presence I may have never been turned on to gaming at all. Throughout the years, he and I played many a game together and eventually shared an Xbox 360, which brought a whole new level of gaming to the table. I think my favorite “classic” systems were the PSX and N64, I spent most of my adolescence on the two. I still have my N64 hooked up in my room for when I need a good fix of Ocarina of Time or Perfect Dark. Getting to the point, there are many things about classic gaming that I miss even today in the brilliant days expanded technology and upgraded graphics. A few of the main reasons are what I will be writing about today.
One of the main things I miss is the lack of achievements and trophies in older games. I love earning an achievement or a trophy, but I feel like it has almost become a hindrance. I find myself playing games I don’t even like over and over again just to get trophies and I can’t even understand why. I suppose the benefit is that it drives people to spend more time with a game and experience all the things a game has to offer, but there are also some negatives. Gamerscores and PSN levels have become status symbols, causing certain individuals to believe that if don’t have 100,000+ Gamerscore or are a level 20+ on the PSN then you aren’t a real gamer. I appreciate the dedication it takes to receive high levels and earn these rewards in gaming, but at the same time I pine for the days when gaming was gaming, not a race to some kind of invisible finish line. Things were just a lot more simple in the earlier days of gaming, I suppose.
Another thing I tend to miss is the time spent bonding and socializing with friends and family through gaming. I love all the friends that I have met through the internet and online gaming, and I appreciate them immensely, but I miss just sitting down and actually communicating with the person next to me while playing. My brother and I used to trade-off playing single player games and play multiplayer games the old school way – with a player 1 and player 2 system. While I love spending time in an Xbox Live chat party or communicating with my friends in-game, I miss the times in which the person I was playing with was right next to me.
In addition to that last bit, I miss classic split-screen! Why are multiplayer games slowly steering away from split-screen multiplayer? I like to play a game like Borderlands or Gears of War with my boyfriend while we are hanging out, which is great when it’s possible but not all games feature the option. I hate it when I buy a game that features co-op or multiplayer though and it doesn’t allow for split-screen play. It seems like the only company that understands the concept of playing games together is Nintendo, as even their more recent games still allow for two or more people to play at the same time. I feel like gaming is becoming more solitary since players either have to game alone or with random folks on the world-wide web. Sure, we all have buddies that we have met on the opposite side of the country but it’s hard keeping up with personal schedules, time zones, and other distance related obstacles.
I love the direction gaming has taken in the past decade or so, but at the same time I find myself reminiscing about the good ol’ days here and there. Maybe I’m just being a curmudgeon or maybe I need to get with the times. Regardless, I feel like some of the things left in the past need to be resurfaced in order to keep gaming alive and thriving. I’m a pretty flexible person (not cartwheels and doing the splits kind of flexible) but every so often I just need to plug in my PS2 and play Dark Cloud for a few hours. What are some of the things that you miss most about retro gaming? I know I can’t be the only one out there who a few things from the past, so share your thoughts!