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Soapbox: The 8-Bit Era Laid the Groundwork, but Modern Day Progress Shouldn't be Discounted

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Tom feels that enjoying both retro and modern games is vital

This week we've published a few features to celebrate the Famicom's 30th Anniversary. It's an extraordinary landmark, particularly because so many games from the 8-bit machine are still treasured to this day, many of which are deserving because they're enormous fun. I think there's something powerful about how retro games can still delight, simply because we're dealing with technology; so much old technology is dead, the preserve of a small number of collectors. Yet digital releases of something like SNES classic Earthbound can cause a frenzy of online excitement in 2013; it's the power of quality over the ravages of time.

So I'm a fan of many retro games, with a ludicrous amount of money spent on the Wii Virtual Console in particular — born in 1984, as a youngster my family had a ZX Spectrum, then a SEGA Mega Drive, and then a Nintendo 64, so I was late to the Nintendo party. In fact that was one of the most magical features on the Wii, as growing up we could only afford one console at a time and, when the crunch came in the 16-bit era, SEGA was the choice. And yet I've now played a lot of NES and SNES classics on the Wii and have enjoyed some wonderful Game Boy titles on the 3DS VC.

Some may regard it as a mistake to come out, as a writer on a Nintendo enthusiast's website, and say "the N64 was my first Nintendo system". But I don't see it that way, because we all have our own paths we've followed in this gaming hobby, and that diversity is fantastic. Am I ineligible to comment on NES games because I've played a lot of them as a grown up via the Virtual Console? Absolutely not, it's just I have a different perspective. I remember 5-minute load times running games off cassettes on a ZX Spectrum — a bit like a British Commodore 64 — but if someone 10 years younger than me has one as a collectible and wants to chat about it, that's great. I don't have more authority on the matter because I was there, I just have an alternative experience.

And yet attitudes are often evident in gaming that if you didn't own specific systems decades ago — due to age or circumstances — you can't understand why that system is special or can't share a metaphorical pint to talk about it with someone that owns 600 games and the original model. It's a snobbery I saw over a number of years studying Literature, too, when for example a Professor snorted with outrage at Charles Dicken's Bleak House being adapted to snappy 30 minute episodes on BBC TV. I pointed out that it made more people aware of the material, but he seemed to expect everyone in the world to sit down in a cosy Drawing Room and read the 1000-page (or whatever, it's very long) epic, rather than experience it any other way. Yet any form of entertainment is there for the masses to enjoy in whatever way they see fit, and I can tell you from extensive study that Charles Dickens wouldn't have had it any other way.

Back to retro gaming, and beyond that level of snobbery, as I see it, is a perspective I find quite difficult to rationalise — that retro games are better than modern games. That's fine as an opinion, which I can respect, but I get frustrated with the assertive vehemence that sometimes follows that point of view, as if disagreeing makes you a gullible non-gamer suckered in by supposed evil mega-corporations like EA, Activision and Ubisoft. My perspective is that you can't dismiss the relevance of retro games, as they've fundamentally shaped the industry as it is today, but equally I think it's a shame if anyone decides that modern games are no cop and don't live up to the "good old days".

For one thing, there are no good old days in my view, nor is the current-day market smelling of roses. The modern industry has problems, such as poor-value DLC, potentially manipulative free-to-play models and major publishers frightened to take risks. But the old days certainly had their problems too, with examples like appalling licensed games that have made some YouTube reviewers famous, and enough plastic tat to make the Wii's range look conservative; games also cost more, lest we forget. And it's ironic that cynical marketing is so roundly condemned nowadays — you know, Doritos and Mountain Dew et al. — yet some still consider it cute to look back at Nintendo Power's old days, cereals and other goods that were designed to hype kids about games that may have been a bit pants. There was no internet to check multiple reviews back then, either.

So it's tit-for-tat between the eras in some respects, and I also feel modern games get hammered unfairly by some for failing to match their predecessors. Sometimes the points raised are fair, but often I think we're just spoiled, with unfair judgments sometimes passed on a lot of games against the very best from days gone by, often disregarding the mediocrity we faced in the '80s and '90s in many cases. There can be lazy dismissals of those that enjoy a bit of Call of Duty, for example, yet I relished a recent comparison made by our own Dave Letcavage and Stephen Kelly of Contra as the NES CoD. There are big differences, yes, but I can see what they're driving at — both are frantic and high paced shooters. I personally like Contra and don't particularly enjoy CoD games, but I appreciate the comparison and won't be caught dismissing the merits of Activision's series off hand — I may criticise the occasional tasteless airport "mission" or nasty online bit of voice chat, however.

Another personal example is from attending the Eurogamer expo last year, and an individual I consider to have a wonderful balance in simply enjoying all that gaming has to offer. NL contributor Jamie O'Neill has an impressive knowledge of retro games, yet he's a keen modern-day gamer as well. At the expo we had fun in a terrific retro area, which was a treat, but we also spent hours enjoying the Wii U at the Nintendo booth and various other big-name titles on show for other platforms. They were all just games, after all, and the modern games were as enjoyable to play as their retro contemporaries, just with a vastly different style.

I also think we should acknowledge that, while it can be argued that game design is King in whether an experience works, technology has evolved in important ways. A game like Pikmin 3 just wouldn't have been possible on the NES or SNES, and even in the portable arena the likes of Super Mario 3D Land or N64 remake The Legend of Zelda: Ocarian of Time 3D are only possible on the go with the progress of systems' power. Even genres that were possible on older systems can, in the right developer's hands, utilise the extra resources available to take experiences to new levels, with more data and variation than could fit on a retro cartridge.

Ultimately I hope that, as the years pass, gamers of all types can find their own balance of appreciating what's come before while enjoying modern titles. Because, in my view, we've never had it better. Games are cheaper than they used to be, the technology has improved and opened up new styles of gameplay, there's staggering diversity — assuming you look in the right places — and we can buy older games — and download-only releases — for less than a cinema ticket. If all you play is retro games, or vice-versa current-day games, you're probably missing out on a fuller picture.

So which is better, Super Mario Bros. 3 or New Super Mario Bros. U? It can be argued either way, but I for one will happily enjoy both. Games are fun, and rather than expend energy on saying why modern games aren't cutting it, or why retro games are relics to be left behind, maybe we should all just pick up our controllers and play. Because two things are beyond dispute. No gaming era is perfect, yet they all have have plenty of delights to offer.

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User Comments (60)

Bass_X0

#2

Bass_X0 said:

I want a Zelda game that goes back to mostly exploration of a wide open world and very little story to interrupt your exploration. Just like the NES original but with modern day 3D gameplay.

Peppy_Hare

#5

Peppy_Hare said:

That was an awesome article that demonstrates how someone younger can also appreciate the classics. However, having been around since the mid-70's I can, I believe, somewhat objectively, say that those older games truly provide better experiences than new games. SORRY but it's true.

Big_L91

#6

Big_L91 said:

this is why nintendo remains my favorite after all these years they mix modern and classic gaming to perfection.

unrandomsam

#7

unrandomsam said:

I dunno I can see why small teams do 8 bit. (You don't need someone proficient at pixel art to do it).
What I don't like is 2D games with loads of distracting visuals that take away from actually playing the game. (And hence they reduce the difficulty completely to compensate).
For a 2D Megaman then the Saturn version of X4 is what I would want them to aim for not the NES version. (Or even what the NES version would look like on the TG16).
The best things have ever been for 2D was the Saturn but nearly everything is Jap only. (And many things are bad playstation ports but at its best I don't think it has been better than that).

The thing you don't get with modern games (Other than incidently G-Rev's arcade ports - dunno whether they are modern they were on the arcade version of the Dreamcast for ages.) is the entire game at the full difficulty from the very start. And you can play them to completion without ever getting better at the game. (NES version of the lost levels you will never finish by luck).

The quality of 2D pixel art improved NES/Master System -> TG16/Mega Drive -> SNES -> Neo Geo/CPS -> Saturn

But they try to re imagine the NES which is the worst example of it.

unrandomsam

#8

unrandomsam said:

That era of vector arcade games was ignored as well those are genuinely not like anything else. (I went somewhere that had a number of them just for a few days). None of the computer versions play anything like it - weird analog control but nothing like what would be considered as analog control today.

DerpSandwich

#9

DerpSandwich said:

Great article. It bugs me when people claim the good old days were just "better." Nostalgia goggles blind the best of us. Every generation of gaming has brought something new to the table and advanced the art form.

Varia01

#11

Varia01 said:

This article is just AMAZING! Fantastic job, Mr Thomas. Everything that you said is VERY true and I couldn't agree more with everything. I mean, all of it, its just awesome. :D

JGMR

#12

JGMR said:

@Suicune You can say that again! Jeez. I feel almost insulted by such a statement LOL. Crap Of Duty has nothing on Contra/Probotector...EVER!

jtgillia

#13

jtgillia said:

I personally don't see why people can't just enjoy the games they like playing, classic or modern.... I consider myself a retro gamer, but one that owns a wii u for updates (sequels) of classic franchises. I can't get into modern day shooters and games that rely more on story than actual gameplay. And I'm fine with that, even though others may not understand....

Kirk

#15

Kirk said:

There's great old games. There's terrible old games. There's great new games. There's terrible new games.

That's a fact.

I just happened to find more games I was genuinely impressed with that I fully enjoyed on a regular basis in the old days, in the times of my SNES, than I do now.

Certainly when we're talking about the big titles coming to each console.

I remember clearly that there was pretty much at least one true future classic in the making being released every month back in the days of my SNES, which you can actually see clear evidence of if you look at old issues of Mean Machines and see that nearly every single month there was at least one 90+ rated game or another (on each of the main platforms of the time, SNES and Megadrive, and often more than one each too), whereas I really don't see that these days and certainly not on Nintendo's home consoles.

These days we're lucky if there's one 90+ scoring big first or third party game every quarter on a Nintendo home console.

Maybe I'm slightly exaggerating, I can't say for sure, but I just know that I feel like I'm forever waiting on the great games to come to Nintendo's consoles these days whereas I remember on the SNES there was so many great first and third party games, coming on a regular basis, that I could hardly keep track of them all.

Also, if you actually look back and list all the 90+ games on Wii vs. SNES for example I'm pretty sure the SNES will have more...

So, maybe that's why we look back on the retro consoles and games with such revere.

PS. Super Mario Bros 3 is a better game than New Super Mario Bros imo, certainly if we're comparing the SNES version of SMB3 as seen in All-Stars to NSMB on Wii, and if it weren't for those modern graphics in NSMBWii I think everyone would agree (unless you're all about multi-player of course, which I personally didn't enjoy).

erv

#16

erv said:

Great article. I must admit, as an owner of the Nes system all the way through this generation I am still not that enthousiastic about retro - even though I'd fit the profile.

We are at the best place ever regarding games, and of course some classics are worth remembering for the awesomeness they brought. Yet here I am, constantly looking for newer experiences, and getting them both through gaming and accepting the new. I really encourage anyone to let go of whatever it is you enjoyed some time in the past and reliving that nostalgia, only to embrace and keep on making more awesome memories through gaming experiences the current day and age provide.

Let go of the retro, and just get on board the fun train.

JaxonH

#17

JaxonH said:

I agree. We all know NES, SNES and N64 have their masterpieces, but more current games are following suit as well. The Gamecube hosted a library of some of the best games ever made (Metroid Prime 1 and 2, Zelda Windwaker and Twilight Princess, F-Zero GX, Star Fox Assault, Pikmin 1 and 2, Paper Mario Thousand Year Door, etc) and the Wii- despite it's shovelware, had its gems as well (Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Xenoblade, Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn, Sin & Punishment Star Successor, Zelda Skyward Sword, Metroid Prime 3 and Other M). Wii U is also shaping up nicely with the fall lineup, and has quite a few excellent games of its own on the way. In 20 years, I wonder which games will be seen as classics?

startropics3

#19

startropics3 said:

As someone who also grew up on NES, SNES, and N64, I think it is very tempting to have an elitist attitude towards your entertainment medium of choice, similar to music, film, or literary elitism. While biased, that background gives a person a perspective to judge modern games in light of the many games that may have already mastered a particular genre. Yes, many modern games are heavily influenced by classics of their genres, yet they can still be entertaining if designed with gameplay in mind. I recently played the new Donkey Kong Country Returns on Wii and I didn't hate it. I thought I would because I had such fond memories of the original on SNES. The new DKCR will never have the same influence on me that the original did, but that doesn't make it a poorly designed game. That wasn't the case when I recently played the new Goldeneye game. I did hate that COD-clone, but not because it didn't live up to my expectations of the original, it just didn't feel rewarding when I progressed. That was probably due to the way the designers underestimated the gamers' ingenuity. I don't expect new genres or even updates to genres with modern games, but I do have high standards because I've played many games. There will always be disposable entertainment in all mediums attempting profits. I played a lot of that trash on the NES, SNES, and N64. I just have a keener eye for it now.

sdelfin

#20

sdelfin said:

First, it doesn't matter if the writer of the article or anyone else is "late" to a particular console. Experiencing a system like the NES young or old may be a different experience based on age, but it's not better or worse, just different. As for retro vs. modern, I think there are positives and negatives to both. I've recently gone back to play a lot of old favorites from my youth, games I missed out on from then, and retro-style games on the DS(Megaman Zero, Metal Slug 7, etc.). I forgot just how much fun the older games(currently playing Bubble Bobble) could still be. But there was plenty of crap released then as well. Youtube compilations of the worst Genesis games are quite amusing. Modern gaming can be great as well, with story telling being a strong point in some cases. But some games focus too much on story to cover up weak gameplay or something else. A modern trend I don't like is an overabundance of content for its own sake. Just because a game lasts 60-100 hours doesn't mean it's fun for the entire duration. Another trend I don't like to see is the runaway costs of game development, partly due to this arms race of content.

Looking at a previous post, I see a suggestion to let go of the past. Thinking about the games I've played over recent years, while I've played many good modern-style games, I've come across more games than ever that have aspects that do not appeal to me, such as motion control, overly-complex control schemes, bad storytelling, quick-time events, among others. And some games may have gotten too complex for their own good. Aside from being at the right place at the right time, Angry Birds and other mobile games have done well by being easy to pick up and play, but hard to put down.

sinalefa

#21

sinalefa said:

No wonder you are my favorite writer here, Tom.

I recently downloaded Mega Man 3, having never played it back in the day, and I am really appreciating its level design and the gameplay, even if it is sometimes hard and frustrating.

Some other thing about being elitist regarding retro games comes when some people say that all games should be hard as hell to be worth your time. There should be a balance between challenge and fun, and that balance is different for every person.

thepitt

#22

thepitt said:

I don't discredit "newer" games because they are new or introduce new concepts of game play to gamers, but I do not like games that play themselves or are super easy, come with in-game guides, etc .... I find these games are the cheap crap that newer generations of gamers say about some retro games.

A lot of A+ titles don't deserve a F due to the sole lack of design. All I see are clones of clones of clones and that is also how it was back with the NES, but not as bad. You'd have one successful game and then others with no creativity would produce their own game based on others and somewhere along the line it became fine to make 100 FPS titles in a consoles lifetime and then if you speak badly about them then you're "too old" to play.

I also dislike the fact that gamers have no game. They have gamefaqs (I remember when the site launched), cheat codes, walk throughs, save points, game guides, etc ... I see no reason in even wasting your time pretending you have game to only resort to cheating.

Hey, I still love my Grandparent's board games, but don't let them catch you cheating in Monopoly or you're "out of the game".

Ickaser

#23

Ickaser said:

I come from the younger end of the spectrum. (I wasn't old enough to enjoy games until well into the Gamecube's lifetime.) I personally find that I have a harder time enjoying a lot of older games; they aren't as approachable for me. For example, I've tried to start the original Legend of Zelda several times, but never lasted long enough to really get into the game. I have all of the Ambassador games, and haven't really enjoyed a lot of them (which isn't to say that I haven't tried).

Zodiak13

#24

Zodiak13 said:

All I can say is that it seems like new games never effect me in any meaningful way. Most new games just feel like they are forced through a meat grinder, with no joy put into their production. I really love the indie game movement because the joy of making games shines through. I don't think this is just an opinion, but more a fact, older games were just more fun. Even my son who is 9 years old seems to prefer the games from the 80's and 90's. If you ask him why he will just say they are just more fun too.
Current gen games have some merit, but overall they have a different feel. New games seem to be more of an undertaking, in fact most of my friends/co-workers tend to complain about the games they play more than anything. I personally stop playing games if they make me unhappy. But than again I don't just play games because IGN or Game informer say I should or to be sheep and be like everyone else. Games should just be for fun and if the new or retro games are just that than you should play them.

AtomicToaster

#26

AtomicToaster said:

I don't so much discount new titles over old so much as hate the overall direction the rest of the industry is headed in. And looking back the Nintendo and Sega consoles just seemed a lot more compellig to play than Sony and MS old consoles. When all the extra, dated non gaming features are pealed away, you're left with the games and consoles like N64, Gamecube, and even Wii had some of the best of their generations. I do think you can look at newer games of a similar genre and appreciate the refinements being made. Look at link between worlds, looks phenomenal! Even Mutant mudds improves upon what they could accomplish in the 8 bit gen a great deal!

ricklongo

#27

ricklongo said:

One of the best reads I've had here. Very well-written, and I agree with pretty much every word (even down to enjoying Contra and not so much COD, heh).

micronean

#29

micronean said:

It's not so much that older gamers are 'snobs' toward younger gamers when it comes to retro, but just like history itself, it's just a completely different mindset between a person who lived that history, and someone who just read about it. You could compare it to a sports pundit. It's considered important to have someone who played the sport talk about it rather than someone who knows all the stats but never entered the field. It's the same with retro gaming--especially when you talk about in terms of the time period. The mid to late 1980s was a golden period for games, not just with what people see on the screen, but with everything around the world back then: the local arcades, the stores, the t-shirts, the movies, the trading cards. When gaming was on TV it was a big deal because there was no internet, never mind a movie like "The Wizard". It was just a time when everything was being done for the first time--and it was incredibly exciting! That kind of experience is hard to replicate, and that's what the older gamers feel "snobbish" about. It's hard (at least for me, who was enthralled by the, now ugly-looking, Pacman, simply because it was such a new experience) to hear someone who never lived those days talk about it and consider himself an expert.

pitchblack

#30

pitchblack said:

I like having the old fashioned way of buying the cartridge and don't mind having the digital downloads. It should be cheaper for us to buy them if it's digital.

Austroid

#31

Austroid said:

I wholeheartedly agree with this article. Everyone experiences playing games, whether retro or modern, in their own ways.

Having VC on Wii was and is a great way to experience games you remember from your youth, or ones you've never heard of but want to try for youself.

I had fond memories of playing Mario 64 and SSB at friends' houses, but I never owned an N64 myself. So buying them on VC was a great nostalgia trip as well as a way of finally owning them myself.

Houkyds

#32

Houkyds said:

Agree with your article, very good. But on the point of 'the good old days' and owning a system around the time it was released, i think while it is a matter of perspective, playing a game for the first time decades after its release could give a less appreciative view.

Theres something special about playing a game when its the new, 'best thing yet' - as these games were to some, at one point.

Simply not knowing how much better these games are going to get, could make you appreciate a game in a way that would be hard to understand having already played 10 - 20 years worth of a game, genre, or even systems evolution. I think personally, it only makes it easier to pick the faults, even if you 'forgive' said faults because its old.

I cant recall the amount of games i've played and thought 'this s**t looks real' only to hears later when the new s**t looks real and wonder what the hell i was thinking.

Zombie_Barioth

#34

Zombie_Barioth said:

I think part of the problem with games these days is many do feel like they're churned out, like cheap, mass-produced furniture. Capitalizing on popular genres is nothing new but unlike back in the day games weren't changed to fit other genres, you never saw a contra platformer or Resident Evil RPG. The only difference here is you have thousands of workers rather than rows of machines. The reason people think retro games are better is the games that come to mind are genuinely great while the modern games aren't or don't fit their tastes.

I grew up playing retro consoles but these days I go back to the old consoles for experiences modern ones can't provide, and games no longer made. On the flip side some of my favorite games these days are relatively new franchises and old favorites not possible without more powerful, modern hardware.

micronean

#35

micronean said:

...also, retro games that have lasted this long were the best of the best. There was definitely a lot of crap that has been largely dismissed, and today non-existent, as well as other titles that were good, but people may never know about them. Heck, my avatar is from a 1990 game called "Al Unser Jr's. Turbo Racing", which I consider the best racing game on the NES...but it wasn't popular then, and if not for YouTube, I doubt people would even know it existed. Small details like these that get missed over when looking back at the period today.

GreatPlayer

#36

GreatPlayer said:

I remembered my first console was NES and it was crap. Sorry but that was how I felt. Shortly afterwards I had a Mega Drive (Genesis), which was much better. I do not blame people who dislike retro games. There were some very good retro game (e.g., Mario 3) but for new gamers, your first impression looking at these games was probably "Poor graphics. Primitive control. Yak!" I remembered when I first saw Zelda as a kid and I was totally turned off by it.

Not everyone HAS to be the friend of Mario, Zelda or Metroid. My first impression of Mario 1 was not very positive. Mario 2 was better but it was not even supposed to be in the Mario series (it was originally named something like Dream Factory in Asia.) I believe that Mario 1 was an okay game but not as great as people think. Retro console NES has many more crappy games than good games - in NES era, many publishers just try to cheat a few bucks out from consumers by making bad games.

Retro games may be better than modern games because modern games usually have worse control than retro games - just like 3D Mario is not as intuitive in control than 2D Mario. I enjoy 2D Mario games more.

Sanqet

#37

Sanqet said:

very well written i have been lucky to own all nintendo consoles and there is just as many crap games from all the consoles anyone remember superman 64 i still get nightmares about that one

MAB

#38

MAB said:

All I really need to say is... SEGA consoles & arcade machines (I want to go back to those better days) ;)

thanos316

#39

thanos316 said:

nice piece. very well written. gamers need to enjoy all games. budgets for games today is a major problem. and your right about devs not taking more chances. but hey get out there and play some games no matter what era.. i still enjoy playing doctor mario..

TheAdrock

#40

TheAdrock said:

A decent opinion piece.
Analogy: The new 2014 Corvette is amazing. But the 1956 is also amazing even though its eclipsed technologically. Only a fool couldn't appreciate each for what they are.
But I remain convinced that the emotional attachment to a specific gaming "era" has to be deepest with whatever you had as a kid growing up. For me, that's NES. Everything was better in the 80s. ;)

eviLaTtenDant

#41

eviLaTtenDant said:

Woah, that was a quite touching read.
I'm glad that we're getting classics as downloads and also brand new 2D games again. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of amazing 3D games, but mostly having them during the Gamecube days left me wanting for a bit more of variety.
And while i enjoy a lot of 2D games i never played before i doubt they can ever come anywhere close to my love for Super Mario World, Star Fox, Contra 3 and the likes. They've just been too formative to me i guess. I still like games like Mighty Switch Force and Mutant Mudds a lot though. I don't get where the hate for them is coming from really.

ScruffyYoshi

#42

ScruffyYoshi said:

I've played games since the 8 bit days and even now I still love to play the old ones, but also play as many as I can of the new ones, on all systems! I am a very well rounded gamer lol. (except beat em ups and sports ^_^)

ScruffyYoshi

#43

ScruffyYoshi said:

I don't think there is no right or wrong, old or new, xbox or nintendo. I think if your a true gamer you'll appreciate good games on any system you can get your mitts on! A good game is a good game, everything else is irrelevant :)

JamieOStaff

#44

JamieO said:

I settled down to read this feature, I often find that a Sunday evening is a great time to catch-up on Nintendo Life articles that have caught my eye, which I did not get chance to read during the weekend.

I definitely wasn't expecting to find a personal compliment about my attitude towards enjoying a mixture of retro and modern games, though. @ThomasBW84, you are such a gent! It was lots of fun sharing time between both the retro section and the Wii U booth at Eurogamer expo 2012

This feature is completely spot-on, it doesn't matter if you are familiar with a game from playing it on the day of its original release, or twenty years later as a digital download, it is your individual experience and enjoyment of it that matters. It is the joy, laughter and happiness the game brings to you that are important, wonderful nostalgia can be created from playing a game, but these memories are not confined to a narrow window of a title's first launch.

I find my appreciation of great games is widespread, I hold Super Mario Galaxy 2 in the same high esteem as Super Mario World, I admire Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Skies as much as Space Harrier, and I'm sure I will sing the praises of Mario Kart 8 as much as I do with Super Mario Kart.

An awesome game is an awesome game regardless of when it was released. I embrace nostalgia and I often wear rose tinted glasses, but I am not blinkered or negatively presumptuous that the golden era of gaming has passed and it's all downhill from here.

2013 is a most excellent time to be a gamer, I'm massively excited for the future of both 3DS and Wii U, plus I'm confident that gaming will constantly deliver new gameplay gems and treasures to revere.

I also welcome the idea that it's worth considering retro and contemporary games as having a different style to each other, with respect given to the technology available at the time. In that sense we celebrate the games that are stylish, not just in an audio/ visual context, but in their flair for creativity and imagination.

Thanks loads Tom, a perceptive and thought-provoking piece, I really appreciate the complimentary nod in my direction. Sorry for getting mushy, but your comment actually just made my day. Big cheers!

Zombie_Barioth

#45

Zombie_Barioth said:

@theadrock13
Thats a good analogy, you could say the same about a lot of things. The classics tend to stay popular, be it cars, books, cloths, or 2D sprites. Thats something a lot of people could stand to remember, being retro doesn't mean bad. Sadly I've even seen otherwise good game journalists bash old games for things taken out of perspective.

odd69

#46

odd69 said:

excellent read! I do hope to see the classic gaming available for any gaming era

JuanitoShet

#47

JuanitoShet said:

Excellently put together. I love gaming of all types, and I have retro consoles as well as modern consolss, and I enjoy and love them all. I consider myself an all-around gamer, and it's great to see there are people out there loke yourself who are similar. :)

Funbunz

#48

Funbunz said:

@Ickaser I've thought about this a bit, I see my kids do the same thing! I go on and on about how great the original LOZ is, and they just don't enjoy it. I think newer gamers struggle with classics for two reasons- #1 you have so many other options for games and entertainment (got LOZ for xmas when I was 10. Only had 4 other games at all, not 100 games to pick from like my kids) and #2 is imagination. Since games never looked very real, we would look at the art on the box and manual, and pretend that blurry blue blob on the screen was actually a dragon. And that kind of mental investment is probably why older gamers have such nostalgia for the old games.

OnionOverlord

#49

OnionOverlord said:

@Bass_X0

Won't happen, but it's a great idea. Modern gamers are used to hand-holding and the original NES game mostly dumped you into the world with no explanation or assistance. Considering a lot of todays gamers couldn't even handle Super Metroid, it probably wouldn't work.

TheAdrock

#50

TheAdrock said:

@Bass_X0 , so you want WoW in Hyrule. Also, there's the new 3Ds LTTP sequel coming out in the overhead style. Maybe it will be massive and free-exploring?

Williaint

#51

Williaint said:

I can mostly agree with the article... and, luckily, most of the comments.
The Good 'Ol Internet has given people a new level of hearsay, when it comes to judging something. Especially when the reasoning is JUST BECAUSE. I don't believe HD graphics — no matter how extreme — make a game (unless the game is based on making graphics). I do have a soft spot for "retro games", since I lived through and loved the SNES era; my personal experience. During the early N64 days, I envisioned a game that you'd be able to travel anywhere in the world, in third person, where YOU are the character. Though there isn't any game like that, there could be (Google Maps/Earth/whatever isn't a game).
I'm excited to see new Modern day games, but more frequently than not, I can be more entertained with something made 25 years ago.

Dpishere

#52

Dpishere said:

Finally someone who thinks the same way I do! I grew up playing NES, Genesis, and N64 and don't get me wrong, I love some of those games more than current gen games, but I have had just as much fun with games now as I did back then. The important thing to realize is that although nostalgia is a great way to reminisce about days gone by, it is also important to realize games have evolved since then, for better or worse. When I play a new Mario or Zelda game I don't compare them to previous installments in the franchise, I just judge it for what it is. The problem lies on people who remember the good ole days so fondly that no future game can come close to it by default. Gamers need to open their eyes about what makes both retro and modern games so enjoyable to play, then they can start to appreciate them both even more! Either way, I have already done this and make no mistake just a few months ago I played Jet Force Gemini and enjoyed the hell out of it, but for the past month and a half I have been enjoying Animal Crossing New Leaf just as much. Though games from a different era they are both enjoyable in their own way and the until people learn to judge each era of games for what they are they won't change their mind on the subject.

RetrogamerFan

#53

RetrogamerFan said:

Interesting and well written piece.
I do find Miiverse pretty annoying when people are saying all NES/SNES games are overpriced just because they are old, without really understanding anyhting about the game and what is good or bad about it. In my book, and this applies just as well to modern games, if you have a good time and get a reasonable amount of game-time then it's worth it.
i don't think it matters whether you had the system back in the day, if anything you can't be accused of bias, bought about nostalgia, you can sit down and play it as a new experience, which many others will be doing.
Your point about console gaming being expensive is a valid one, i also started with a Speccy, and then a Master System, then MD and A600, but i could only afford a new cartridge every couple of months, so even if you had the machine the chances of you playing a lot of the console games were pretty low.

Lobster

#54

Lobster said:

Excellent article. I've been gaming since some time in '89 or '90 when I was two - I started on DOS, so not gaming consoles, actually. I wasn't allowed a handheld or a console until I was 11! But I've always been happy to play just about anything, probably because as a kid I had to get any off-PC gaming exposure however I could. These days I play modern day and retro games, PC games, Nintendo games, and Android/smartphone games all pretty equally. PC is where I get my stuff that comes to Xbox/Sony, as I can only afford so much. I realize most people don't play the variety of games I do, and some might see me as a casual for some of the games I play, but my view of it is that I like to sample it all. After all, are you really a "gamer" if you refuse to game?

Lobster

#55

Lobster said:

@startropics3: "The new DKCR will never have the same influence on me that the original did, but that doesn't make it a poorly designed game."

Well, the golden age for being influence by things is probably 11-12. Not just games but movies, books, TV, music. Think back to that age and what you were a fan of then probably has shaped your tastes now to an extent, or you are at least still a fan of/nostalgic for it. For example, for me that is right when Pokemania hit the States and Lord knows I have never let that go. Also Harry Potter.

It might extend a few years downward as well because I was introduced to Star Wars at that time and have remained a huge fan all my life, and it might extend a few years upward as well because studies have shown our music tastes are generally set in our early teens. But I would say it's centered on 11-12.

Were you anywhere in that range when the original DKC games came out?

VortexxPrime

#57

VortexxPrime said:

Damn that was a great article. Very well said. A lot of people don't seem to get this about gaming. It's about your own tastes and how much fun you have with a particular game! So many are focused on "which is better", that they lose sight of why we play games. To have fun.

banacheck

#59

banacheck said:

I don't want show my age but Commodore 16 & 64 and the ZX Spectrum, did have good game also a lot crap when you look back. But them games are totally different from what you get today, even when the Mega Drive & SNES came out. The Mega Drive games where a lot different to the Commodore 16 & 64 with a lot better graphics, and you didn't have to wait so god dam long to play them. Remeber the sound of the ZX Spectrum loading, and the screen with a big black box with mutli coloured lines. I used to play Outrun on it a lot, which i'm sure you'll remember. but yes i agree, i'm so looking forwards to Castle of illusion & DuckTails, because thay stay true to the originals just with updated graphics.

startropics3

#60

startropics3 said:

@Lobster Yes, I was eleven at the time. Sorry to reply so late. I remember getting the highly anticipated DKC around its holiday release and playing it over and over. Those of us that had Nintendo Power subscriptions received a nice little VHS tape promoting the game ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufQVpg5nrqA ). If you waited until the end of the tape, they revealed another RARE game behind a door labeled "top secret". It's super embarrassing to watch today, but the tape did excite me about DKC, and the excitement in the lead-up to its release probably increased the impression it left. Pokemon probably would have been a favorite of mine had I grown up playing it. I just wasn't interested in turn-based RPGs at that age, except for Super Mario RPG, but I see your point.

Games can still influence me. I frequently mention Dark Souls in posts, but it surprised me that I could fall in love with a game again. Not since Super Mario World and Goldeneye have I been so enamored with a game.

It's funny you should mention finding Star Wars at that age. I fell in love with TIE Fighter on DOS before even watching the films.

I, like you, still enjoy a mix of PC, console, and handheld gaming, but I intentionally stay about two or so years behind the trend since owning a Wii. Good games don't decrease in value, but their price usually does. Still waiting to try Super Mario Galaxy 2. I think it is at the library (currently my favorite way to rent Wii games).

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