: Editorial: The Smartest Gaming Generation Is...?

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Editorial: The Smartest Gaming Generation Is...?

First of all, I certainly don't mean to insult the current generation of young gamers. This is a matter of comparison, and I'm well aware that my age may cause clouded judgment on this matter, but the logic involved is difficult to deny.

In the early days of gaming, video games began to appeal to children and technologically-minded adults who can be compared to the gadget freaks of today. You know, those who are fascinated by the phone that can make you a sandwich, or something. During the dawn of this new phenomenon, it became clear to the mainstream public that this was another niche hobby, designed specifically to cater to the people who saw "Star Wars" 347 times in 1977 alone. It wasn't long before it was known as the quintessential "geek" hobby, although it may have taken a backseat to Dungeons & Dragons at times. Now, this is very, very simple- who was the "geek?" You all know the answer so I won't bother with painful specifics, but the follow-up question is even more relevant to this piece- have you ever seen a stupid geek? I'm guessing you haven't. I'm thinking that goes against the very definition of the word.

I'm also thinking the biggest geek to ever come out of that generation - arguably Bill Gates - has a whole lot of money and power. I'm thinking that that generation of gamers consisted of extraordinarily intelligent individuals who have now grown into extraordinarily intelligent adults. They may still suffer from some awkwardness, but they're intelligent nonetheless. While your peers might've tortured you and you never dared approach a Halloween party in high school (or God forbid, the prom), your teachers and parents always tried to tell you the geeks would eventually rule the world. ...and they do. Well, kinda. They do in this industry, anyway. But having established this relatively obvious fact, we have to acknowledge the massive changes in the industry; not only in regards to the significant technical advancements, but also in regards to the intended audience.

Hardcore veteran gamers will consistently complain of the "dumbing down" of games. They're easier and shorter than ever before, but that statement is not entirely accurate (just because games like Contra took a thousand years to conquer didn't mean the game itself was "long"), and I only half agree with it. Furthermore, with highly accomplished and intellectually-sufficient gaming scripts out there ('cough' MGS4 'cough'), we can't very well say that's "dumber" than freakin' Bad Dudes. You get my point. But on the other hand, due to the enhanced mainstream appeal; due to the fact that gaming is less and less of a "geek pastime" and more and more of an accepted medium, the changes are clear. The geeks (or the hardcore gamers) probably only constitute about 15-20% of the audience - just a rough estimate, but I'm willing to bet I'm close - which means the mainstream peeps are out there. They're everywhere and, well...they're not too bright.

Look, if there are just as many people playing games as there are watching movies are listening to music, they can't all be smart, successful people. This is also logical. When gaming was limited almost exclusively to the biggest geeks on the planet, the vast majority of the audience, by default, could accurately be classified as "smart." Correct? This leads me to another question: we're all painfully aware of the immaturity and even disgusting hostility found online. But beyond that, these people just sound stupid. All the time. It's like the combined IQ of a Halo 3 room is 17. So I'm asking, if we had this sort of amazing multiplayer competition back in the day, would it sound like this? Sure, we were kids so I'm not saying we'd all be quoting Shakespeare and discussing the Pythagorean theorem while playing Gunstar Heroes online. But I have this sneaking suspicion that it wouldn't be so demeaning and insulting.

So. Is the smartest gaming generation behind us? Logically speaking, and using as much common sense as humanly possible, I'd have to say "yes." The original generation, the one populated almost entirely by the brainy nerds who only had other nerd friends, may hold the eternal edge. Gaming will only get more mainstream as time goes on, and at the very least, everyone knows that the more mainstream something - anything - gets, the dumber it gets. So far, in our case, I think gaming is the exception to the rule in terms of the actual product. Games are still getting better and better. But the gamers...hmm... I'm just a little worried.

Disclaimer: Again, if anybody wants to misinterpret this, I have to remind you all that I'm not saying all current-gen younger gamers are stupid. We have many young and intelligent readers at this site, for example. I'm merely asking a legitimate question at the risk of sounding like the old, pompous, out-of-touch gamer who still wishes it was 1985. ...for the record, I really don't. ;)

10/31/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (57 posts)

Aftab
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 1:59:04 PM
Reply

Hilariously cute pick. The one who looks the most intellegent in it appears not to be playing games at all.

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Aftab
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 3:13:50 PM

The one on the left playing, looks a bit like a younger Chuck Liddell.

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Aftab
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 3:15:18 PM

And the youngest one smiling at the camera, looks he's showing "timeout" with his hands because he can't recognise his older brothers, anymore.

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Deleted User
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 2:49:55 AM

ok judging from the times of your posts. you've been coming back to look at these pics toooooooooooo many times. is there something we need to know?

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Aftab
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 1:28:40 PM

No, a**hole. Get your head out of the gutter. But i don't blame you. If I came from the same culture as yours where priests are to pure for marriage but rape children, where the only men that hug other men are homosexuals, and where "playing with oneself" is considered a healthy activity, I'd probably be thinking the samething as you. So I forgive you.

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Deleted User
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 4:27:26 PM

my culture? what are u calling me american?

Last edited by n/a on 11/1/2008 4:28:23 PM

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AntDC
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 11:38:45 PM

Look Ben, 4 posts in and you already have an example...

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Deleted User
Monday, November 03, 2008 @ 2:33:30 AM

yeah he does. U. Seeing as how i count more than 4 posts

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Tim Speed24
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:01:37 PM
Reply

Well that pretty much sums up online gaming. Sometimes I can go online and have a great time. But I find most of the time online, in any popular mainstream game, people really are immature. And this ruins the experience, so I back out of a match and try another room.

I prefer offline, as I am also from the "Arcade" days of lining up your quarters for a play. I wish more games let you rank up offline and online like RSV2 does.

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Joe_III
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:10:16 PM
Reply

Spot on Ben. However, it's not just games. It's movies, tv, books, vg, and comics even.

But this was also happening before the whole casual game rush.

Publishers of any industry don't want to put money out for new ideas or concepts, they just want to alter someone else's idea, update the graphics and push it out because it's proven to make money.

The other part of the problem is that there aren't that many inventive ideas left. Zombies? Done. Vampires? Done. Aliens? Done. Virii? Done. FTL travel? Done. Dragons elves and wizards? Done. The butler did it? Done.

Pretty much every single story told on tv, in a movie, or in a book for the past 20 years is nothing more than a new retelling of an old story -- and usually it's shakespeare or Plato/Socrates/GrecoRoman myth.



Last edited by Joe_III on 10/31/2008 2:12:24 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:14:53 PM

Hey Joe, sometimes my posts run long and when I try to separate with paragraphs it doesn't work, just gets all mushed together, how do u do it? Does this thing respond to Html cues?

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Joe_III
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:18:38 PM

it doesn't do html. You have to manually put in two paragraph breaks.

Ex:
Type (enter) Type shows like this:
Type
Type

While Type (enter)(enter) Type shows like this:
Type

Type

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:23:12 PM

Thanks Joe, you're a gentleman and a scholar. The lack of Tab use showing up was throwing me a bit.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/31/2008 2:24:11 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:12:00 PM
Reply

Well put Ben, and for the record I DO sometimes wish it were the 80's, but only for fleeting moments while retrogaming. Honestly if I could time travel and show my old self who was playing Mario the likes of MGS4 I might've given the little guy a heart attack.
Though I'm proud to be able to have been a gamer since I can remember, it can be rather annoying in my personal experience to put up with the unsportsman-like conduct of many who have jumped on the bandwagon in more recent years -to say nothing of fanboyism. As I get further into my late 20s I do catch myself taking things a bit too seriously at times though, I remember the novelty of my first online deathmatches when I was a teen (and man that was somethin back then!) and I guess I can't blame the immature for being immature, and maybe us older gamers are doomed to sit in our rocking chairs, holding out PS10 controllers saying "Man back in the day you could play a ten level game for months!" but in the end at least we can say we paved the way for a form of entertainment that overcame the slings and arrows of uptight media, politicians, and poor parenting.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/31/2008 2:12:12 PM

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Joe_III
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:14:29 PM

"late 20s" & "older gamers"

LOL.

Oh, and Ben, I think you need a </i> at the end of your article cuz everything is appearing in italics...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:41:05 PM

OK ok, maybe not an OLDER older gamer, but starting out with a 2-bit Colecovision is a pretty long time ago imo.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/31/2008 2:41:16 PM

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Joe_III
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:53:07 PM

ok, the coloeco vision is old school enough for me to respect you a lil more...

But I still maintain that anyone who has not done the following cannot be considered an old-school gamer.
1. Played Pac-Man on a cabinet.
2. Played Zork IV while it was still called Zork IV
3. Knows what the AoY is and has played the game.

Honorable mentions for being a DM or Playing MTG before 5th Edition came out.

Last edited by Joe_III on 10/31/2008 2:54:02 PM

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AntDC
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 11:42:38 PM

The Zork games are fantastic. I remember playing one of the originals. It described the scenery to you in text and you had to type in commands. Groundbreaking stuff lol.

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coolistic
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:14:31 PM
Reply

Yeah, the first generation probably is the smartest.

Because if they hadn't MY generation probably would be....playing football and basketball..

Haha, btw. I'm fifteen:)

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Joe_III
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:19:22 PM
Reply

you can try doing <p><p> but i dunno if it'll work for you

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CH1N00K
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:19:36 PM
Reply

It depends on what you consider an intelligent person to be...I've met a few geeks who knew a lot about certain subjects, but because of their lack of social skills, they could not speak/look intelligent. They ended up looking more like Napolean Dynamite...Which was actually a pretty intelligent movie..lol. I went to high school with a girl like that..had marks in the high 90's, but had no street smarts...she got away with it though because all the guys were drooling over her...Then there was the typical computer lab geeks, that were so used to being right and thinking that they were smarter then everyone, that no matter what facts you put in front of them they would never admit they were wrong..kind of like some certain fanboy's I've seen on certain forums....ahem.....yeah....

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Joe_III
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:22:02 PM
Reply

You know, now that I think about it, the fact that consoles are getting better and better is part of the problem too. Devs put in so much more time and energy in the parts you experience that they don't have much time and energy to help you think about the parts you have to imagine. And there is less to imagine, which means your brain is doign less when you play.

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AntDC
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 11:45:40 PM

True that, which I guess was some of the appeal to the original Zork games and AdventureQuest games. Kinda like reading a book, the movie adaption is never as good because you imagined it better.

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coverton341
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:39:58 PM
Reply

"It's like the combined IQ of a Halo 3 room is 17"

Very true but can I also interject this point of information.

Go to your xbox 360 if you have one and have a live account, pop in COD4 and go to a free for all game and snipe someone, anyone twice in a row.

Pull the earpiece away for this part...Listen to the explicit words that come out of it.

Now do the exact same thing with the PS3 and notice that you will be hard pressed to find someone with the same limited vocabulary.

Most will just complement your head shot ability or stay silent...not all but a vast majority

Coincidence?

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Joe_III
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:45:44 PM

lies. I hear almost as many 12 yos shouting n****r on PS3 games as i do on my 360. the only difference is that on the ps3, its mostly white kids saying it.

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coverton341
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 2:53:21 PM

then maybe its just the people that I game with on the PS3 because I don't have that problem tho I do admit it does happen just on a far less frequent basis than the 360.

But on the PS3 your right it is mostly white kids while on the xbox you get the "gangsta" kids that talk as much streetlish as possible and tell you how they are going to hunt you down through live and pop a cap in yo mama

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Aftab
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 3:12:14 PM

Maybe they're just the same kids from Live who've been finally moved on over?

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LightShow
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:13:18 PM

i know what you mean. I hardly ever get any obscene players when I play on my PS3, but I play Bad Company, so it might just be because it wasn't a huge blockbuster title...

most often if you snipe someone in the head twice, they seek revenge with a gun, not with obscenities. Isn't that the way an online game should be played?

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Geobaldi
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 3:25:52 PM
Reply

I agree that it seems a lot of the online crowd dropped out of 2nd grade. And it also seems that it gets worse all the time. That's one of the reasons I don't play World of Warcraft anymore. Go to any capital city on that game and read the trade chat channel to see what I'm talking about lol. Also it seemed like the older games took more skill and thinking to complete since a lot really didn't have an end to them. Just a score. Watch the movie The King of Kong to see what I mean. Every gamer should see it.

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Advent Child
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 5:34:31 PM
Reply

All I can say is that I am not from the first generation. I am probably from the second or third. I don't know and I have never cared to look. All I know is that I agree with you. People are dumb. I don't understand how I can start an online match in a game I have never played before and place second or first above people who have played 50-150 games. (Happened when I bought Halo 3) I know that I gave up on multiplayer gaming. I mean I will most certainly play Co-Op on R2 but I can't think of any other multiplayer game I care about. Online is too juvenile and annoying. I just don't have patience for any of it anymore. I play single player.

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Wage SLAVES
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 6:49:15 PM
Reply

Im not a geek...jus...just anti-social...? : )
I consider a Geek or nerd a person BRAVE enough to resist the mob (not gangster) mentality. You know the ones not afraid to THINK for themselves. Not afraid to be alone and think alone or be self influenced.

When mainstream became part of the gaming world the mob mentality was unleashed...

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Aftab
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 9:19:03 PM

I used to think that, too. But then I saw even "nerds" have "mob". "Nerds" and "Jocks" I believe are two sides of the human persona...The Intellect and the Self. When the Intellect neglects the Self, you have a "Nerd". When the "Self" plays down the "Intellect", you have a "Jock". So basically the majority of such people fall in to between these two extremes.

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Jed
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:20:13 PM

that reminds me of a quote from House, "You want to see someone that doesnt care what you think? Take a look at the asain kids that spend all day in the library studying and doing homework. They dont care what you think"

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LightShow
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 9:50:49 PM
Reply

more stupid gamers = more N00bs to pwn.

I got no problem with that =D

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Wage SLAVES
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:03:54 PM
Reply

Ha ha! Nice LightShow.

@AFTAB
Yeah, maybe Im just describing a different (special) type of person altogether. One thing is for certain we do NEED more free-thinking individuals. They seem to be scarce nowadays...

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LightShow
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:14:59 PM
Reply

Bring on the N00bs, me and my NS2000 can take on all comers...

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Jed
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:16:57 PM
Reply

This reminds me of a qupte from the late George Carlin, "any body you meet on the street, remember, half the population is stupider than them. I love these editorials. I barely play halo anymore because all of the dumbasses. But I have run into quite a few intelligent people in the resistance 2 beta. The logic works there too, more people play halo, so there are more stupid people there.

I'm 23 and I'm not old enough to remember when all gamers were geeks, but I know what you are talking about. My dad took computer programming classes in the seventies. I recently found a shoebox full of old punch cards. I know this sounds biased, but my dad is honestly the most intelligent person I have ever met.

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LightShow
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:22:09 PM

Word, man. I actually stay off the commercial successes like COD4 and Resistance, for that very reason.

I might rent them, but the only FPS I own is Bad Company. Everything seems more civil, if only because of a smaller user base.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:33:02 PM

Jed: Oh, I played my very first video game on my father's Atari 2600 when I was 4. He took engineering classes, too. ;)

The truth is, I do kinda miss gaming when it was more of a niche thing. You know, before it was almost like you had something over the other people you never really gelled with. The high school quarterback got that cheerleader you wanted but he didn't have a prayer against you in Mario Kart! You know?

But even so, the advances this industry has seen...I wouldn't give them up for all the world. :)

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Deleted User [Administrator]
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 2:56:23 AM

Ben you never fought much in school did you? i see you as the guy that would have something clever to say and snap back at a jock when he tells you to get out of his seat. then pull off some Spiderman type move for everyone to see in awe!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 12:25:06 AM
Reply

Gaming used to be a haven, plain and simple. Our own personal garden of eden that had yet to be touched and influenced by mass media, mass appeal, and my personal favorite: mass delusion. It wasn't scrutinized, it didn't make the evening news, and frankly it was left the hell alone. Well not totally alone, it was always absent-mindedly blamed as a mindless activity, but what else is new.

The Garden has been bulldozed and a mini-mall put in, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing in all respects. At the very least the geeks of yesteryear now have the respect, admiration, (and money) of the very folks who once ridiculed them for being so foolish as to spend their Friday nights playing video games.

Like Ben said, the advances in the industry alone are worth giving up the old Haven for renovation.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 5:44:58 PM

Well put. But unfortunately, I don't think we have the "respect" of those people. Still. That's something that will never change, IMO. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 02, 2008 @ 7:26:44 PM

Suppose your right Ben, taking advantage of someone's good work doesn't necessarily equal respect.

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MetalHead09
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 3:41:52 AM
Reply

my hardcore gaming days started with my sega genisis so i dont go back to far and by the time i got that the ps1 was out for awhile. i remember going over to my grand parents and playing their nintendo for hours and hours. games are just to good a thing to let slip. unfortunately i still hear quite a bit of grief cause i play video games but as a whole video games have touched my life in an awsome way second only to God and music. heres to hopeing for a brite gaming future for all of us and the next generation. by the way im 24 still young but do have my fair share of experience. God bless.

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LightShow
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 9:58:21 AM
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PS2 FTW!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 10:20:40 AM
Reply

Rocketman: I got in a few fights. I was mostly just a normal kid. :)

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Scarecrow
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 4:02:16 PM
Reply

Ben, I'd challenge you in this pick and say that the ps1/N64 generation was the smartest.

But the generation of the early 1990s to mid 1990s was the best.

Those games really took a lot of GUTS and patience to play.

Ghosts N Ghouls
F-Zero(crazy fast)
Street Fighter
All the crazy space shooters

Man I miss those days, I was lucky enough to have played through the great SNES years...

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 9:03:07 PM

The original arcade games; 2-bit Atari 2600 games, and even many of the 8-bit games DEFINED patience and frustration. Of course, back then, it was tough to determine if the game was just impossible or if it was poorly made ('cough' E.T. 'cough'). ;)

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Aftab
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 9:32:30 PM

Agreed. I remember being only a few years old when my dad, an electronic engineer, got me this digital handheld. I was too young to tell what it was, but in hine sight, I think it was like a Simon-says kind of game, an electronic board encased in transparent plastic. When my dad got me a 2600 for my 7th birthday, I was grateful, but secretly hated the damned thing. Then for a holiday when I was 9 or 10, I got a nintendo, and only had duckhunt and mario for a few years. I didn't take much of liking for games until I got a Genesis and I had Sonic and Streets of Rage. But I wasn't passionate about games until I got a ps-one packed with demos including WipeOut. I think my dad was trying to introduce me to electronics all those years, but instead, I fell in love with games...Not the desired effect, but I made it up to him by getting into software.

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AntDC
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 11:54:24 PM

Haha I remember reading somewhere that they'd over produced E.T. and nobody bought it and they dumped all the hundreds of thousands of unsold copies into a mexican landfill lol.

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AntDC
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 11:52:32 PM
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The first console I bought, after playing games on the PC, was a PS1. And what a console that was... best console I ever had.

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Scarecrow
Sunday, November 02, 2008 @ 12:47:24 AM

Everyone had ps1s.......

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LightShow
Sunday, November 02, 2008 @ 8:32:49 AM

I didn't, i was too young. my parents picked up a ps2 the christmas after it came out, and i think i was about 10...

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BigBoss4ever
Sunday, November 02, 2008 @ 2:57:21 PM
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games are getting worse, certainly not; games are getting easier, thats definitely a "Yes". I can still remember 20 years ago, I spent hours, days, even months trying to beat Castlevania, Batman, Ninja Gaiden trilogy, Getsu Fuuma Den etc on NES. Especially, I will still say, there is probabally no game that has more complicated map system than Getsu Fuuma Den's underground cave map. I spent years to figure out the super confusing cave.

Games are definately easier to beat through in recent years and this generation.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 11/2/2008 3:01:21 PM

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LightShow
Sunday, November 02, 2008 @ 4:14:01 PM
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=/ i will repeat a common statement, in regards to games getting easier.

20 years ago, you were 20 years younger. You had 20 years less gaming under your belt, your reflexes, skills, and intuition were 20 years less developed. It is possible that games were harder because we weren't as good then as we are now.

and it could be that the general decline in intelligence is being felt in the dev world. I'm not qualified to make the assumption either way, but it is fun to speculate.

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MetalHead09
Sunday, November 02, 2008 @ 8:24:48 PM

no id have to go with games are getting easier cause i still remember the pains i went through to beat castlevania bloodlines and the new mega man is HARD!! i only played the demo but there is a whole worlds difference between the styles and difficulty between then and now.

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Scarecrow
Monday, November 03, 2008 @ 10:55:58 PM

Mario 3, Super Ghosts N Ghouls, Final Fight, Contra, Donkey Kong2 and 3, etc.

Those are STILL hard games :D

Seriously they don't get easier

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