Monday, August 30, 2010

Mini-Cast: Nostalgia

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Hey, I’m Baby Tea and we’re going to discuss nostalgia in gaming. There is a lot of talk going around that gaming just isn’t as good as it once was! That games today don’t hold a candle to the games of the past. But is that really true? Let’s find out.

So let’s lay it right out: when it comes to nostalgia, you’re in one of three groups.

The first group is the group that think gaming today is the pinnacle of interactive media entertainment. Old games suck because they are old, new games rock because they are new. Original Mario can suck a lemon, because space-flying new Mario is bitchin! and that the original Doom marine is a girl-scout compared to Master Chief, Marcus Fenix, and generic marine number 48 from some game nobody is going to remember coming out later this year.

The second group is those that think gaming today is a poor shade of what it once was. That every game back in the day was more original, more interesting, and just more fun . New games suck compared to old games.

And the third group is those that say gaming is just gaming, and that there were great games and crappy games back in the day, and there are great and crappy games today!

One of these positions is reasonable.

I’ll give you three guesses as to which one that is.

It’s not the first group, that’s for sure. Every year we are treated to shovels full of crappy, terrible games. What did we just get recently? Clash of the Titans? Ninety-Nine Nights 2? Naughty Bear? Dance on Broadway? None of these are hardly inspiring titles, and I’d much rather bust out "Hugo's House of Horrors" then play any of them. Heck, give me that old text-based game, Zork instead! Just because they are new certainly doesn’t mean they are good. Or even better then older games. That is, honestly, silly.

The second group isn’t right either. Older games weren’t any more original, any more fun, or any more awesome then newer games. There wasn’t a ‘golden age’ of gaming, and if there was, then we’re in it. I know so many are quick to point out games like Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy 1, Wolfenstein 3D, and many others that are great. I’m not saying old games aren’t good, I’m saying that there was just as many crappy, awful games back then that there are now. But the people in this group are conditioned in one of two ways: Either they only remember the great ones, or they are stuck with their childhood memories of wasted afternoons and repressed memories.

Just because it entertained you as a kid doesn’t automatically mean it’s a great game. I mean come on! You were a kid! You didn’t know what was good! And if you don’t believe that, look at kids today and Justin Bieber.

So now that the two extremes are out of the way, let’s talk the sensible, third option: Games are just games. I remember when I was younger and my dad walked through the door one day and handed me the EGA edition of Kings Quest 5. I loved that game then, and I love that game now. Great writing, fun story, interesting puzzles…great game. But do my fond memories of that game make it better then, say, Mass Effect? Not to me, certainly not. If someone said you can either play Mass Effect or Kings Quest, I’d probably play Mass Effect…or King’s Quest…one of those two.

The point is that there are great games in the past, and great games of today. I love to bust out my old games and give ‘em another run through! And I look a forward to games coming out! Games are games, and regardless of age, there are great ones, and there are crappy ones (I’m looking at YOU Septerra Core).

Maybe games aren’t coming out that appeal to you. That’s fine! Maybe older games don’t have the complexity of more recent games that you are used to, and enjoy! That’s fine! But to say that all old games suck, or that the golden age of gaming is over? Come on. That’s pretty high on the silly meter. Like, a sitcom about a koala who is a script writer in Taiwan kind of silly. That’s pretty silly.

But what do YOU think?

Do you think the golden age of gaming has past us by?

Do you think we’re in it?

Or do you think it’s still coming?

Let me know!


  1. Really Nice BT, I completely agree with the third group, games are and always will be games. They're here for our entertainment. There never will be a golden age unless gaming fails, then some internets people will argue for years over which section of gaming was the golden age, expect Ebay entrepreneurs by the dozen. But I don't see gaming failing anytime soon. Keep up the good work!


  2. Take cover! It's the attack of the common sense!
    I'm a sucker for some old games, heck, I recently went back and completed an old game I never finished, and liked it so much I went bought the rest of the games in the series. Though I won't deny that some old games are utter rubbish, I own the odd duff one, but then again, a lot of new stuff is rubbish too, which I mostly manage to sidestep. There have been new games that I played lots of, I think finishing a game three times in a row in as many weeks may be overdoing however, and even more I'm looking forward to coming out.
    The bad games are always the ones that everyone forgets the quickest, if only so they forget the horror of how bad they were.
    Also, good job sir!