Do You Remember When?
Written By: AJ
I sit back in my chair and gaze at the “superbit” games that exist
today, I start to feel a bit old. As I hear the Xbox fanboy crack
on the old NES, I start to get a bit cranky. And when I think about
when I started gaming, when the NES was my pride and joy, I start to
reminisce. Things just aren’t the same anymore in the gaming
world. Do YOU remember when:
- Videogame companies actually dominated the videogame industry?
Back in the day, as far as I can remember, it was Nintendo and Sega.
Yes, two companies whose main focus was making videogames. There was
no electronics giant or computing monopolize-r trying to stick their
heads where they don’t belong. And there was DEFINITELY no action
movie hero trying to get a piece of the pie (Think XXX star.) Nope,
back in the day there were only Nintendo and Sega. Only pure
videogame companies. Hey, that brings me to my next memory.
- There was real, justified competition in the industry?
Nintendo and Sega could make fun of each other because they were both
seriously in the business and only in the business. Although Sega had
a lead over Ninty, they were both equal in influence. They both were
the first dominant names in the industry and were veterans with it, so
name-calling was completely legal with competing. Ah, I remember this
Sega commercial that really had me fired up. They portrayed
themselves as a racecar and Nintendo as a heavy moving van. I got
pretty mad at Sega for that, but it was OKAY. They could do that!
They were equals! But you see, what you CAN’T do is join the industry
late and crack on the vets (and new vets.) I’m talking about Ed
Fries of the X-Box team. Seriously now, you can’t be a newbie and
make fun of those who actually have MORE EXPERIENCE. Doesn’t work
that way. Fries, come back when you know your competitors and have a
few decades of working up your sleeves, ok? And even if Microsoft IS
beating Nintendo, they still can’t talk about them like they’re vets,
cause they aren’t.
- Videogame systems were actually videogame systems?
What did the NES do? It played videogames. What did the SNES do? It
played videogames. What did the Sega Genesis do? It ALSO played
videogames. Why? Because that’s what videogame systems are supposed
to do. Nowadays, you have these masses of metal and microchips that
not only play games, but also play DVD, music CD, and can even go
online. Next they’ll also include their own TVs, satellite
transmission, and who knows what else. Good grief! I want a
videogame console, not an all-in-one-tech box.
- Carts were the thing?
Clunky, expensive, and finite as they are, you cannot deny that carts
were what people wanted back then. There was none of this CD
technology with games. How can I prove that? Simple. Look at the
success of the Sega CD.
- There was no need for the ESRB?
Mario and Sonic never needed any rating. No game did back then.
Why? Because gaming and society in general were a lot more peaceful.
It wasn’t all about blood and guts. Games always were made for the
enjoyment of everyone! There was none of this “E is Kiddy” paradox
riffraff. Even when the ESRB DID come around, ratings weren’t that
big of an issue. People didn’t judge games by the RATING, but by the
content! By the fun factor! *Sigh*…
- Mortal Kombat was an “M” game?
Do you recall when Mortal Kombat was the scourge of society?
When it was surrounded by controversy all because it was too violent?
It was even given one of the first “M” ratings out there! Imagine
that. Not only was MK in 2D, but it contained “violence” that, by
today’s standards, is corny and common. Grand Theft Auto makes
Mortal Kombat look like Barney. If GTA was brought back in
time, not only would those “Angry Mom” groups declare all out war, but
I doubt it would even sell. Why? Once again, society was a whole lot
- When fun factor was valued above all other aspects?
Ratings didn’t matter, because there weren’t any. Blood and guts
weren’t a problem, because little to none existed in Gaming’s Golden
Age. Heck, even GRAPHICS weren’t made fun of because they didn’t look
110% realistic. The GAME was what mattered. Sonic The Hedgehog
wasn’t turned down because there wasn’t enough blood. Super Mario
World was still a hit, even though Bowser never killed anyone. It
was all about the game’s quality back then…
- When games had originality?
The world “clone” never existed! Now, I know it’s easier to be
original when there are fewer games out there, but seriously now.
Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario Brothers 2 had
completely different styles AND they were of the same series.
Nowadays, everything is just a clone of an earlier game. Sequels are
another problem. Sequels are great, but developers need to know when
enough is enough. There is no need for Final Fantasy X-2.
Even the name sounds corny. “Ten two”? Just say it out loud and see
how silly it sounds. Add Halo 2 to that list along with the
family of Grand Theft Autos and the Pokemon monsters.
And look at the GBA. Nintendo’s having a field day porting tons of
old SNES games to the handheld. Yes, it’s nice, but they should be
using some of that time and money for totally new titles. Also,
mainstream gamers only want the “shoot ‘em ups”. Nothing original
required in those. What’s going on here? Are brains evaporating?
- When game music was, well, simple?
This isn’t a complaint, but what happened to the clicks and beeps? I
liked the simple 8-bit music that repeated itself every 30 seconds,
thank you very much. Now we have full length, fully orchestrated
pieces for everything in a game. Videogame music is even becoming its
own genre now! Look at how famous names like Nobuo Uematsu and
Yasunori Mitsuda have become. I have more game music on my computer
than of any other type. Soon enough, “Best videogame music” will be a
category for the Grammy’s. How things have become complicated!
I suppose it’s only natural that things change, but geez, look at how
they did! Were these changes for the best? For most of them,
probably. But, I am remembering memories of a time that many of us
will always cherish: the gaming age of our early youth. Will the
Next-Gen Era be looked back on in the same way in 10 years? Only more
time will tell. Hey, and then, I can have MORE memories! Exciting,