My take on the good and bad that's come of gaming in the past 15 years. Warning, very British.

The Past Decade and a Half n Gaming- 4 Things I Miss and 4 I Don't

Miss 1: Personalisation

Since the emergence of online gaming: PSN, Xbox Live and the like- the personalisation of gaming seems to have all but disappeared. Remember games like Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64? Gaming was more social back in the day; we had more fun, we talked trash, we had beers, we socialised. There was nothing like skidding past your friend on the last corner of a track on Mario Kart and getting to see the devastation on their face! These days people don’t even use microphones online; the personal factor is sadly diminishing.

Don’t 1: Wired Controllers

This is something that didn’t cross my mind until I played Mario Party 2 with a few friends last month. Traversing the living room felt live reliving a laser hallway scene in a cheesy action film. If you wanted to get past for any reason, you literally had to be become an acrobat; wires were left, right and centre. As much as I could do with the work out these days, I just love the neatness of wireless controllers. I sure as hell will never take them for granted after last month’s fiasco.

Miss 2: 3D Platformers

Sure, there have been a couple of good ‘uns this generation in the form of the Ratchet games and Mario Galaxy. Honestly though, think back to the past 10-15 years. We still had Mario and Ratchet, but we also had Banjo, Jak and Daxter, Crash, Spyro, Donkey Kong and it goes on… These games hold such a place in many gamer’s hearts, it’s a shame to see them dying out.

That being said, this new indie era of games has provided some cracking (mostly 2D) platformers: Meat Boy, Braid, Journey, ‘Splosion Man, Fez, I could go on.

Don’t 2: Memory Cards

These days we hardly have to think about our save files. 500GB Hard drives and the Cloud more than do the job of holding every save file we could dream of (even including DLC, movies and entire game downloads). One story in particular comes to mind from my Gamecube days. It came down to the decision of deleting my 100 hour plus Animal Crossing file or my beloved Wind Waker file. I couldn’t afford another memory card back then and mostly rented games. Thank god that horror will never have to be relived. All hail the Cloud.

Miss 3: Sturdy Consoles

Right, I still have my SNES, Gamecube, PS1, Mega Drive, GBA, GBC and more from back in the day. This generation, I have gone through 4 Xbox 360 consoles, 3 PS3 consoles and 2 Wii consoles. This is unacceptable, and I hope to God this trend ends in this coming generation. Looks like with great power, comes great destructibility... Handhelds are still sturdy enough though.

Don’t 3: Bloody Cardboard Boxes

This mainly applies to Nintendo’s old packaging. Look over at your game collection from this generation. There are probably a few scuff marks and stains, but nothing too bad. Now, think back to your old GBA/GB/N64 collections; the boxes were probably disintegrating, rotting, squashed and stained beyond repair. Thank you DVD cases. I suppose we won’t even have boxes in the next few decades though. Bon voyage brick and motar, you had a good run…

Miss 4: Buying a Game, the Whole Game and Nothing but the Game

I’m sick of buying a game, only to have to wait for a 10 minute patch to download because they released it buggy and broken (I’m looking at you Obsidian!). Don’t even get me started on Capcom’s antics with on-disc DLC. Sure, DLC can be great when it adds to the experience- it’s just when publishers (and even developers) hold back ready content just to make a quick buck that ruins everything. We are paying quite a bit of money for these video games; I want the full package on day one- with nice extras along the line if I want them.

Don’t 4: Gaming Being a Hermit’s Hobby

Fifteen years ago people would think of a stereotypical gamer as an outsider of society: a geek, a nerd, a loser. The line between gamers and everybody else has blurred, and I frickin’ love it. Society has almost fully accepted gaming now. Obviously the older farts in politics are still pretty against it, but they’ll be *ahem* gone soon. Gaming is smashing the box office as of late. In my motherland (UK) The Last of Us had allegedly grossed more than Man of Steel in its opening weeks. A first party Playstation game grossing more than THE FRICKIN’ NEW SUPERMAN MOVIE; if that’s not an exemplar of the popularity and acceptance of gaming today, what is?

10 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by Slag

nice post man

I guess in terms of miss 4, I really just miss expansion packs. I don't mind concept of buying new parts of the game, but I'd rather be buying packs of complete content instead of personalization things or muliplayer maps etc.

and as far as Miss 1 goes, I just don't think that's possible in today's social media era. Even if games had only local only multiplayer I don't think people want to do that as they used to, unless you live in a dorm or something. My old buddies and I have LAN parties occasionally still and it definitely is something I miss a lot.

Posted by Duder_Me

I really miss the extras and cheats in video games that we could get for free. Now, we have to pay for them as downloadable content, which isn't worth it to be honest.

Posted by EvilNiGHTS

@superhys said:

Miss 3: Sturdy Consoles

Right, I still have my SNES, Gamecube, PS1, Mega Drive, GBA, GBC and more from back in the day. This generation, I have gone through 4 Xbox 360 consoles, 3 PS3 consoles and 2 Wii consoles. This is unacceptable, and I hope to God this trend ends in this coming generation. Looks like with great power, comes great destructibility... Handhelds are still sturdy enough though.

As someone who keeps their old consoles (or hunts them down on eBay a decade later at least), this is the one that really worries me. Sadly, I suspect it'll only get worse. A big problem with newer consoles is reliance on moving parts, and although that's something that could feasibly be cut down in future generations as the need for optical drives becomes less relevant, they'll never cut that out entirely. My Mega Drive was just a singular circuitboard with absolutely no fans on it and it never overheated... hard to imagine any console being built like that now.

Edited by believer258

Maybe I like my 3DS so much because it's reminding me of "those days" at least a little bit. SMT IV, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country 3D, etc. seem like games that would have come out on a PS2 or Gamecube with a handful of modern conveniences like saving more often.

@duder_me said:

I really miss the extras and cheats in video games that we could get for free. Now, we have to pay for them as downloadable content, which isn't worth it to be honest.

Also this. Recently, I finished Nocturne, and I got bloody everything. All four infinite use items, all of the Magatamas including the game-breaking Masakados (immunity to everything except Almighty), I finished the long extra dungeon, I got the extra ending, etc. Took me 77 hours and I was ten levels away from the soft level cap. And it felt pretty good - I can't help but feel like those sorts of things, especially the extra dungeon, wouldn't be on the disc these days.

It's not that DLC is a bad thing when done right (Hello, Fallout 3/New Vegas/Skyrim), it's actually a very good thing. But it can be annoying when it feels like all of the best stuff is DLC, or a lot of what should be unlockables are hidden behind a pay wall.

But I'm actually OK with patches. Games are big and complex these days - it's nice to see developers able to fix their issues.

Posted by stubbleman

Man, I remember playing bad 3d platformers back when I was younger just because it was fun to tool around in them. Even when the camera was garbage. Even when the controls were bad. There was just something about them that made it fun to challenge myself to simply get to a higher perch or figure out the terrible controls. I can't tell you how many hours I sunk into the Jersey Devil demo, Spyro 2 or Gex 3. But yeah, some new 3d platformers would be great.

Posted by schreiberty

While agree with your donts, i have some different views on the misses

Miss 1: i guess this is just personal preference but the online age has given more time with my freinds then could have been possible before. Alot of my friends dont live nearby and it will always be easier to play from our respective houses then to get together. Sure you are losing the comraderie of being in the same room, but there is still splitscreen in most multiplayer games so you can do it if you want to.

Miss 2: I think this falling out of platformers is due to lack of innovation more than anything else, most of the ideas for these games have been done and their respective companies dont want to run them into the ground, just look at the new super mario bros series.

Miss 3: this is just due to moving parts, disc drives, fans etc. Also i dont know about other systems but i have 2 NESs that have broken 72 pin connectors.

Miss 4: I would always take a day one patch over a game that has glitches that never get fixed. Also if you have any kind of dlc, publishers are gonna want to try and do shady things with it. If i have to put up with that t get more content im fine and it seems like publishers are getting the picture that people dont like on disc dlc.

I would also like if they went back to using cd cases instead of dvd cases, there just to big. Also i always thought you were supposed to throw away the cardboard cases, i just kept the carts in a drawer.

Edited by SUPERhys

@slag: Thanks man! Yeah, expansion packs were a great way of handling it!

Yeah, I guess these days it's all about social media and online gaming no matter what. Shame really; some of the fondest memories of my childhood were huddled around a tiny-ass TV with 3 of my buddies!

Posted by SUPERhys

@duder_me: Oh my God, you just gave me a nostalgia explosion! Those cheat books which used to come free with ragtag gaming magazines were awesome!

Posted by Claude

Nice write up. I don't miss turning my PlayStation upside down to read a disk. I miss those feelings I got when playing something like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time for the first time. Some games just felt revolutionary.

Posted by SUPERhys

@claude: Thanks! Good point, but we all know what happens to our discs when we so much as move our Xbox 360's; lost so many games that way :(