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The Golden Age Of Gaming Simply Can't Be Compared To Today

Before everyone over the age of 30 loses their minds, let me clarify the title. I don't want anyone to misinterpret.

I don't mean that today's video games offer superior experiences in every possible way when compared to the old classics. Obviously, everything today is technically superior but it's always arguable to say that every aspect of this hobby is better now. What I mean is that the two vastly different eras of gaming simply aren't comparable in any way.

There's just nothing to talk about. I realized today that in truth, playing video games in the 70s and 80s was a completely different experience than playing video games today. Sure, one can say we're still sitting there holding a gamepad and controlling something we see on a screen, but that's about where the similarities end. There was a reason it was predominantly a boy's hobby back in the day; there was a reason very few females participated, and a reason why few over the age of 13 played. Video games were toys. The only exception to the rule may have been those adults who loved electronics and gadgets and all that, and found the Atari to be relatively cool. My father was like that.

But it really doesn't make any sense to compare a game of today to Super Mario Bros., for example. I mean, why? No, better yet, how? Interacting with virtual worlds is such a different thing nowadays. The simplicity is gone. People can whine about that all they wish and many can attempt to prove things were better way back when, but it really is a pointless endeavor. There are no comparisons to be made because the very nature of this hobby has changed. It has changed at its center, at its core. It just feels different. So when we pay homage to the products of yesteryear, let's keep them separate from modern games, shall we?

Tags: gamers, video games, gaming industry, next generation

3/7/2013 11:33:28 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (25 posts)

Thursday, March 07, 2013 @ 11:57:02 PM

I find that most modern games lack longevity. Even if they are good games its rare I play the same game for a long time after I beat it.

However I still play Super Mario World for the SNES, as well as other classics on my other systems like the Dreamcast and Genesis.

I'm not sure if I would say it is because the games were better back then, but something definitely felt different. It feels like it has become this big social thing now, where it is cool to play games but games aren't really that challenging so PWNing noobs is something even your girlfriend can do because the barrier of entry is so low now.

A lot of stuff is better now thats for sure, but I really haven't felt much sparkle or magic in many games of the last half decade. Ni No Kuni is so far the only game this year to give me that feeling I got when playing great games on the older consoles. Other games this gen have done it too but less and less it would seem. I remember when all the games I got for my PSX filled me with wonder and excitement, and most I would replay over and over again.

Maybe I'm just burned out and have seen so much that games are in general less exciting to me now. The only games that really seem to make me feel that are fighting games against other people, or really challenging games like dark souls.

One thing that is really nice about this era is the people who I grew up with are making modern renditions of classic gameplay mechanics because they miss them from when they were gaming in their youth. So it's nice when a cool indy game comes along that feels oldschool but has some modern flair and polish to it and gives you that feel that older games did.

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Killa Tequilla
Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 12:29:47 AM

Hmmm... this is true, simply after I finished the game I don't play it again. I just move on to the next game. I still keep the game, just in case I want to play it again, but it's unlikely. One thing I'd like to see is the ability to hide your trophies from the online public. I think that since I just love that freaking *ting* it has made me somewhat of an addict when it comes to trophies. It's that competitiveness of trying to have a higher score over everyone, y'know? It takes away from my experience because I just want to plat a game and move on to the next. I feel like people, including me, will enjoy their game even more if we can disable/make them private. This is why I am so tired of videogaming, this gen, because even if you're playing by yourself, you're always competing. Even though it's unlikely, I hope Sony will allow us to hide those trophies from public eyes.

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PSN French
Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 3:03:19 AM

I wish we could just delete some trophies or pick which ones to hide. I have a few games with 0% because I lost interest in the game too quickly.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 10:17:13 AM

I got addicted to trophy hunting as well. I went through a period where I just had to platinum my games. That wore off but occasionally I will get all the trophies in a game if I really like it. I can't remember what game I platinumed last but its been a while :P

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 6:17:43 PM

"I find that most modern games lack longevity"

Not only that but many modern games depend a lot on online gameplay. Which will become near obsolete whenever the servers die out.

I can still play most NES, SNES, PS1 and PS2 games without having to worry about dead servers or not being able to enjoy the game as they were originally designed.

I dunno.....I also feel that in the previous generations there was more diversity in terms of genres. At the very least, several developers focused on being more than a one-trick pony back then.

If you wanted to play a platformer, we didn't had to settle for SCEA, Ubisoft or Nintendo like we (mainly) do now. If we wanted to play an JRPG, we had many, many options beyond Square. We had a great number of beat-em ups and puzzle games. The sky was the limit on consoles back then.

Presently, most of that same freedom and creativity has somewhat survived by way of indie devs. Because the big companies are not the ones taking the big risks.

These companies have become like Hollywood in the sense that they avoid risks and always play it safe. And its all about the bottom line.

I guess if you're a technology buff, then sure this era is better. Just because the technology is better. But the experiences playing the actual games, those are hard to compare.

Last edited by Bonampak on 3/8/2013 6:21:01 PM

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 12:05:12 AM

It does feel different, and nothing now gives me the thrill I get when I play Castlevania's "Bloody Tears" on my mp3 player and tread up the road to my next destination (secretly wishing I had a whip and some baddies to thwap).

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/8/2013 12:05:26 AM

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 12:16:39 AM

I'm almost done my "History of Video Game Music" video. Should be up this weekend. That song might be making a debut (although extremely temporary). lol

I'll let you know when it's up on my blog.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 8:26:17 AM

sounds good man

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 12:58:48 AM

So many fond memories in my childhood it doesn't compare to today's gaming. 10-20 years from now I'll feel the same way.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 1:15:06 AM

... And so will the children of today say, in 10-20 years from now.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 1:14:41 AM

I think gaming is certainly a lot more broad now. Back in the golden age it seemed everyone was playing a hot game of any given genre as there wasn't a whole lot of good stuff to choose from. These days there's so many great games it seems near impossible to enjoy them all, at least not to their fullest. There's so many gamer's wired differently with all the many different genres, themes, and orientations. I know I've deviated a lot from the more 'critic' style appraisal of games these days. Too much of a what I read anymore from reviews is largely subjectivity masquerading as objectivity. Something I've seen a lot already with GoW:A. One guy may dislike something somebody else totally loves, each of which feels totally justified in their conclusions. I stopped into a 'Gaming Cafe' at my school today and saw a bunch of geeks hardcore playing PC games, like League of Legends or Starcraft 2 or whatever. I'm sure they're gaming in their own ambrosia and they just don't give a crap for whatever mainstream drama queen of a game has in store. I know this is just sort of rambling now. anyway, golden age oldschool gaming had a different vibe than modern gaming. That's the end of my story =p

Last edited by Temjin001 on 3/8/2013 1:15:43 AM

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 4:30:49 AM

it certainly is totally different now, but thats why people compare the two.
because they want it to go back to the way it was.
games use to be about the experience, how they made you feel.
be it joy, fear, sadness, excitement, whatever as long as it made you feel SOMETHING!
now though games are about oooo look at that pretty fireball!
if you came to me and said you can have a time machiene, use it however you want.
i wouldent use it to go forward in time, to see what future games would be like.
id use it to go back in time!
because ill bet everything i own, and everything i will ever own, that games just will NEVER reach the level of enjoyment they offered in the ps1 era!
give me crash bandicoot, medievil, spyro, syphon filter, resident evil, appocalypse, looney tunes, the simpsons, over anything released in any era outside of that any day of the week!

hate to sound like a old fart, but they just dont make things the way they use too!
and its not only games either.
cartoons, movies, books, EVERYTHING was better back in the day!
TV shows of today are entertaining at best, TV shows of yesteryear offered SO much more!
even the TV shows of yesteryear which are still running today, like the simpsons, were so much better back in the day.
hell, even technology was better back in the day!
my grandfather actually has one of the worlds first mobile phones ever made, the things a freaking brick!
and it actually still works!
my phone, iphone 5, has broken twice in the 6 months ive had it!
my father still has the first laptop he ever purchased, still working!
he bought a new laptop over the weekend actually and the charger is already dead!
things just aint built the way they use to be.........

Last edited by ___________ on 3/8/2013 4:35:19 AM

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 4:46:18 AM

Video games were toys, but not only that, they were troublesome toys. Slow data rate, magnetic tapes that wore out, read errors, no save game feature meant starting on first level every time, bugs in the games, bugs in the system they played on, noise, oh man...

I don't miss those days one tiny bit.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 10:03:13 AM

You shoulda got a nintendo man.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 1:50:06 PM

My dad bought a conversion van over another just because it came with a nintendo us kids could play on long rides. Man we played the hell out of that system.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 5:11:19 AM

Well, the biggest difference is that you no longer go to your friends' house or vice versa to game anymore because of online gaming.
Boy I missed the time when my mates would come over and play WWE Here Comes the Pain.
Such fun we had back then............
You know, like sabotaging your friends by tickling them or unplug the DS2.

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Sir Dan
Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 9:05:47 AM

As a 46 year old gamer who has been engaged in this hobby from day one I can say my opinion is games are much better than in this so called golden age. There are still the games that you can just pick up and try and beat your high score like Peggle. And there are the epic movie-like games like Mass Effect. The hobby is just incredibly diverse now. The one thing I can point out is that I miss the arcade. Back in the day you brought your quarters to the arcade and spent your time challenging other kids. It was really fun. And when you trash talked you did it in the full knowledge it could be taken outside and settled physically. And it did. No hiding behind a mic in the comfort of your home. THAT is a big difference and it was better back then.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 10:07:20 AM

I suppose the current generation will be thought of as a golden age for console multiplayer some day. I know I'm not into it much now cuz I'm old (and the few I like are empty really soon) but if I was in high school I'm sure I'd be an obscenity flinging cod-head too.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 2:13:58 PM

Nah i know some cod-head teens from my last job that are pretty funny and clever. Its all the parents faults I'm telling you! Lol

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 1:45:43 PM

The most popular game in the world right now is Angry Birds, something that could have been made 20 years ago, and has about as deep of a story as pong. What games from today are you choosing to compare with games from "the golden age," and what point are you trying to make?

I would say that final fantasy 1 is a deeper, and more complex experience than angry birds, and they were release a quarter of a century apart. Graphically, mario 3 is more impressive than farmville, a game that is more widely played than ANY game on the ps3.

The problem isn't that era's "cant be compared," it's that people want to come up with subjective categories and then try to shoehorn every game into those categories.

In 100, 200, 500 years, when people look at the history of video games, it will be seen as a medium in which people controlled the action on the screen, as a means of working towards a set objective (ie, winning.) The graphical differences, story differences, or genre differences will be forgotten to the sands of time, just like methods of transcribing words onto paper are of little importance in the practice of "reading."

It is an activity, and if you are going to compare eras, you need to be very specific in what it is, exactly, you are looking to compare.

You pictured mario 1 in this article: are we discussing graphics, game play mechanics, or story?

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 1:46:47 PM

It's the internet....

20-25 years ago a glitched game was a glitched game. You didnt have patches to fix it. ET almost single handedly killed Atari.

But games were complete too. FF7 didnt have DLC to make it complete. The games nowadays all have DLC and sometimes it feels like they cut from the game to make the DLC. (See Bioshock Infinite) And then internet allows for abominations such as WARZ....

So yeah. Its different. There is something to be said about ignorance, as far as back then we were happy because we didnt know we could have it better. But now we know that better is just a month/year away.

All thanks to the internet.

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Friday, March 08, 2013 @ 7:00:57 PM

Forbidden forest with typhoon and the zack side story would have been bundled extras. Also additional battles at golden saucer.

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Warrior Poet
Saturday, March 09, 2013 @ 2:06:21 AM

I disagree. Games have always been about engaging the player. They've been affecting our emotions with graphics, music, narrative, and play for nearly their entire existence. The art of game design was never just for children, and the old machines with lower specs hardly diminish the brilliance of the games that were designed for them. Many of them lack modern conveniences like saving, the complex physics, the huge amount of memory, but the act play remains the same.

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Saturday, March 09, 2013 @ 3:50:25 AM

It's the first experiences that count. Dragon Warrior. Final Fantasy. A ton of smaller rpgs from the old NES. Old Atari games like Yar's Revenge. Frogger. Astroids. Pitfall.

Zelda and Mario games. The FIRST Tomb Raider. The FIRST Resident Evil. Im a little sleepy but you get my point, I hope.

These games were awesome for the late 70's, 80's, and 90's. The creaters of these games took what they had and made gems of them. I can't say it for everyone, but I was engrossed in everyone of them. Just as engrossed as I have been of any game that has come out today ... even the mighty Phantasy Star Online or Ni No Kuni.

Don't even get me started about MMOS like Dark Age of Camelot or Warhammer. I can't even begin to think of all the awesome PC games.

Oh well, being an OLD SCHOOLER GAMER, I love and appreciate them all. As much as I liked Uncharted, I loved many other old school games even more.

End of Line.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013 @ 7:15:44 PM

basically, i will say, the feeling of difference started during the late part of PS2 era and finalized into the new era during the first few years of PS3. before the prime of PS2 era and all the way back to the FMC era, I feel it is the same exciting and golden era.

it is this gen that to me, ruin the feeling of golden era which I hate, partially also blaming the Japanese westernization thing and also the over booming of the FPS things..but this is just my personal idea.

on a different note, to me, also overly realistic games and the realism and also the complexity and the effort you need to put in in order to master a game in this era also frighten or discourage someone like me - a married working class man who does not have too much time for this but still love this 30 years old hobby. sometimes, I just want some simple fun with some fantasy world that is not too realistic but bring the feeling of magic, which I find perfectly exist in some classic simple old school games. this is why also in this sense, old school games are better, but again, this is my subject view as well.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 3/10/2013 7:21:20 PM

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