Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Retro gaming will be current gaming if I have any sway at all.

While poking around online and finding articles of interest, I came across this piece on Kotaku about older consoles and younger generations. The author of the entry wonders how he'll approach classic gaming with his own children, and this is something that I've wondered about myself.

Older entries on this blog have mentioned how difficult it was for me to work at GameStop for so long and have to listen to Sony and Microsoft fanboys rip on Nintendo games and graphics. I love Nintendo, they are my favorite, so it's possible that I possess a certain bias. However, there once were days where graphics weren't even a thing. All games were on the same playing field and what set the good ones apart were story lines and gameplay. Soundtracks too, to be sure.

Beautiful, crisp, 8-bit graphics. Eating coins and time in arcades
across America. [Source]

I can certainly appreciate gorgeous graphics. A game whose developers put in the dedication and time to create immersive, beautiful environments and character designs are fine by me! And a great game with less than perfect graphics is still worthy in my book, so long as it has gameplay and story going for it, but I was frequently alone in that stance while at work.

If my future, unknown children end up picking up video games as a hobby (and I imagine they will), I'd prefer that they not be graphic snobs. I want them to appreciate video games for more than aesthetic reasons. I didn't start out on the Atari, but I played enough old arcade games and my first system was an NES. Pong and Pac-man are addictive, fun games but they are hardly graphically enticing.

You know you could play this for hours. [Source]

I am fortunate enough to have been born at just the right time to experience the golden age of gaming. I was surrounded by NES, Gameboy and Sega by the time I was four, and I continued to grow into the next consoles as they were released. Those magical consoles, the SNES, Dreamcast and even the Sega Saturn paved the way to a broad spectrum of video game appreciation. I was able to understand where the games started and grasp the value of the increased graphical capabilities. 

The experience was so incredibly valuable! I see children and teens now and their first systems are Wiis, PS3s, 360s! Of course I understand the facts of the situation; those are the systems that are currently available. If I were born fifteen years later then they'd be my first systems too. It's enough of a challenge to get ones hands on classic consoles that I'm sure the majority of people don't see the value. I have a feeling though that as more and more people my age start having children, the more the youth will be reintroduced to the most amazing video game experiences ever.

Oh Penny Arcade, you're always able to so perfectly demonstrate my thoughts.

Something very similar to the above Penny Arcade comic strip happened to me while still at GameStop. I was helping a mother find some GBA games for her young daughter; I would estimate her age to have been around six. As I pulled an array of games from the shelves, I was met with questions as to the game's contents and play styles. 

The games didn't come with boxes, so for a lot of them I was unable to give any information past the game's title and the ESRB rating. I ended up pulling a few of the various Mario games for the GBA: ports from the Nintendo and Super Nintendo.

I began to list the titles and to describe the gameplay styles. The mother wasn't much older than me, so I said, "These are ports from the Nintendo and Super Nintendo, so if you're familiar with those titles then they're the same game." 

Before the mother could respond, the daughter said, "What's a Super Nintendo?"

"How do you not know what this is?!" my brain screamed in agony.

For a moment I stared blankly, completely taken aback seeing as I had never encountered that question before. After finally recovering, I smiled and laughed and said, "It's a video game system that was made a few years ago."

I'm pretty sure I'll never forget that moment, and I know for sure that I want any children of mine to know the older consoles and be raised on the same games that I was. With time they'll move onto the newer systems, but my heart breaks at the thought of my imaginary children turning their noses up to the classic games that I love so very much.

What are your thoughts?



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