Nostalgia Glasses Anyone?
Old vs. New.
Flashy vs. Simplistic
16bit vs. Next Gen Visuals
For most gamers, especially of the older variety, this is the age old question. We don't deny it, the games of our childhood typically trump newer things every time. There was nothing like sitting close to the TV, as those cords just weren't long enough to typically sit on the couch. Late Friday nights, and early Saturday mornings were used to try to get to that next level up, or the latest Mega Man weapon unlock. What was better than putting a new PS1 disc into the console and hear that famous opening logo sound?
There is nothing like watching that pixelated, 2D sprite hack away at a monster in a classic RPG like Chrono Trigger. Or the simple pleasure of jumping on Koopa Troopas in a poplular side scrolling platformer like Mario. Who else recalls spending as much time trying to breed a Golden Chocobo in Final Fantasy VII JUST because you could and you had the time to do it, (and yes it was also so you can get Knights of the Round summon). The substance was always there, even on most games that could be considered mediocre. There was always something to waste time with, that you could always just sit back and enjoy the challenge.
Don't get me wrong, I love the latest games just like everyone. I've logged hundreds of hours on Overwatch since launch day. Graphics are the driving force behind increasing sales of new games, at the expense of story telling. Game developers are focusing more on multiplayer content and shortening or even eliminating campaign modes entirely. Long gone are the days where story and drawn out campaigns were king. The challenge of unlocking new items has been replaced with a pay to win model.
What has changed? In my opinion, it was the advent of faster internet and the onslaught of MMOs in the early 2000s. World of Warcraft was the behemoth that started the demise of good story telling in favor of open world, online social interaction. On the surface it is a great idea! Bringing 100's of players together in one world to talk, trade, and duel. Yes there is story to WoW, but most people just read the gist of the quest to understand what they need and not the story behind it. This enormous success showed other developers that they can cut back on writing to put more emphasis on online play. As that became more popular they realized people are willing to pay for unlocks instead of earning them. And thus a new gaming industry was born!
I did not intend for this article to be so down on new games. Again, I thoroughly enjoy playing new games with great graphics. There are newer games that have great stories, The Last of Us, Tomb Raider, Ni No Kuni just to name a few. It just seems as time goes on there are less and less truly great stories coming out. I just have to hope that as time goes on stories can make a comeback. Until then, I can always dust off my SNES, PS1, or Gamecube and replay my old classics and try for those ever elusive multiple story endings from Star Ocean 2.
Its nice to put on Nostalgia glasses once in a while, as long as you don't get lost in the past and lose hope for the future.