[Here’s a guest post from Man With No Mane of Plastic Video Game Comic, a webcomic that takes some toys and lets all hell break loose, with some discussion about the gaming industry and various other topics along the way.]
I said once before that I don’t remember living through thatgolden age of gaming, where all games were original, good, cheap, long and glitchfree. But if the Internet is true, there was once such a time, because somepeople can’t stop telling us how great the past was. But I can’t remember thattime.
They talk about how original games were. I remember gameslike Sonic and Mario spawning lots of sequels. Street Fighter 2 has how manyversions again? How many platformers did the NES have? And how many fightinggames existed on the SNES? Yeah, the old times were not as original as wethink.
Oh, but they were good, right? Well, yes, there were verygood games. But the NES had hundreds of games. Some of them were awful. Don’tbelieve me? Go see the Angry Videogame Nerd videos. In fact, if you start tomake a list with the great games of the NES, you may discover that you willhave a hard time getting up to 50 games, and you will be left with hundreds ofso-so or outright bad games.
But they were cheap, right? PSone games were, like $40! Yes.They were about $40, but if you adjust for inflation, they would be $60. Yes,the same price we pay for them now. And the SNES had some cartridges that couldgo up to $80, not adjusted for inflation. Not a collector’s edition, just aplain game.
So, today’s games are shorter, right? You remember playingSonic and Mario for days! But do you know that the speed run records for thosegames are under two hours? In reality, you spent hours upon hours dying,getting back to the first level and playing it again and again and again.
I may concede that games were less glitchy in those days.They couldn’t patch them. But glitches existed, mind you. And many games hadtimes where you simply lost one whole afternoon because of a glitch.
But why do you just remember the good things? Easy. We, ashumans, don’t want to remember (or maybe we just can’t) all the awful stuff. Itis easier and more pleasant to remember the good times when we were kids,playing with friends. We forget the frustration of having to play the samelevels again because a cheap boss or a failed jump killed us. We forget howmuch games cost because when you are children, it was not you who was payingfor them. We forget the crap games because we either only bought the good ones;quickly threw away the bad ones; or just thought the bad games were good, onlyto play them today and discover that we were wrong and the game IS bad.
Nostalgia is a tricky thing. It can convince us that an oldtime was awesome, while hiding from our minds all the bad things. The past wasnot that wonderful time we wish it was, but neither is the present such anawful time. We now have to pay for our games, so we give them more value anddemand better from them.
Take off your rose tinted glasses. The past may not be asbeautiful as you remember.