Remember Gaming With Fixed Camera Angles And Tank Controls?
The Rose Tint Glasses Of The PlayStation Era
While I had learned to play my first games on the Nintendo, Super Mario Bros 3, Duck Hunt, and The Legend Of Zelda among my most played titles that resided next to the gigantic television that sat on the floor of our basement contained in its own protective cabinet long before televisions were slim enough to fit on a shelf.
I still don't know how my parents had lugged it down there when it was no longer good enough to stand sentry in the living room. Everyone else they knew had moved onto a behemoth of a television that could fit onto a stand and I got the old junk television that still had a dial on the monitor instead of a controler to play Nintendo on.
I could get it to go to channel three, which I needed for gaming, put it wouldn't do anything else.
By the time the PlayStation had come around though, this massive television wasn't outfitted for the new system and I had to lug a 19 inch television that had been in my bedroom on top of the Nintendo Only TV to complete my gaming fortress.
Currently obsessed with the types of titles that came to the PlayStation unlike the cartoon violence of Nintendo, the pixelated images of the blood and gore that somewhat looked like the above mentioned if you squinted out of one eye and cocked your head a little were breathtaking.
While still on a steady diet of games that I could put away in an afternoon, Super Mario Bros 3 still had its fair play through, but I was obsessed with Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, and some of the later Final Fantasy titles that had made it to the system. It was nothing like the types of games that came to my old childhood standby and nothing was more thrilling that a late night of gaming in the dark playing these sort of titles.
Every few years PlayStation still proved to be that old love that never existed my life coming back in new generations of systems that peaked my interests bringing the same sort of games that I couldn't get on any of the current systems in my possession.
Through Game Of The Year editions and throwbacks, I was finding myself playing the Resident Evil that I had owned in 1998 on my PlayStation 4 with amazing HD graphics and reworked puzzles.
Dangling the old forbidden fruit in front of my face, I was like the Take My Money meme, throwing out hard earned cash to play on the same systems I still had stored for the most part in the walk in closet.
All these games that I tore through as a child were presented to me again some through releases, others through the PlayStation Now network.
It was a rainy afternoon when I decided I wanted to play Resident Evil: Code Veronica X and ashamed to say it took me nearly an hour to adjust back to the tank controls that had been flushed from our memory as gamers.
Thinking that I would cruise through a game that I had played so many times as a kid, there was no way that something like a Resident Evil game could take more than five hours tops end to end, but here I was struggling to get out of the first area as zombies raced towards Claire Redfield, I forgetting in the old mind set of tank controls that the character had to plant themselves to shoot and move at a strange pivot to change targets. Good thing old games didn't call for accuracy.
Stop Completely And I'll Shoot
Looking back at old games, it seemed odd to think of loading screens and pre-rendered backgrounds being common place as the expansive amount of level that can load at one time in modern gaming.
Given the capability at the time though, any game of the late nineties and early two thousands fitted with the dreaded tank controls seem almost unplayable now to anyone that has let their hand become custom to the newest controllers.
I remember when I thought duel shock was something special.
So far we have come from assigning the same button to opening a door, inventory, and picking up and using items.
Forgetting for the moment about tank controls in the quest to take on Resident Evil: Code Veronica X in one sitting, I face-palmed myself when I realized in the first set of enemies the game hadn't been adapted to modern controls, and just like my first PlayStation experience, I had to lumber to the corner of the screen, plant my character completely and let them hammer their pistol wildly into the foreground, occasionally pivoting as if Claire was actually aiming and hoping that from the fixed camera angle nothing would pop on screen from behind me and start eating my neck.
It took nearly two hours of game play to get to where I felt comfortable again.
My fingers kept hitting what should have been the controls on anything post 2003, and finding all the buttons unless, I trained myself to go back to the old four. Using the directional pad was far easier than trying to use the analog controls which were fairly unresponsive on that old of a game.
If you have come into gaming after the discontinuation of the reliance on a D Pad, consider yourself lucky.
If Nintendo had taught us anything about the nature of gaming, it was all so simple when it came to the directional pad and two buttons. Now faced with the plethora of buttons that filled the PlayStations earliest controllers, it took a moment to see what the assignment actually did, even in the most primitive of games from today's standards.
Fixed Camera Angles and The D Pad
If there are any curses to play classic gaming on modern controllers, it is the being forced to use the directional pad in lieu of any of the analog sticks.
In the old directional pads, it was somewhat simple when it came to a game that was side scrolling like lets say Mario, but when the game came to running, climbing, shooting, say Tomb Raider- the curse of the directional pad was what eventually called for the rise in the analog sticks.
Four cardinal directions are on the D pad, Up, Down, Left, Right. Simple enough.
Which works great for going left, down, right, and up in side scrolling and basic platforming, but when it came to accuracy in lining up with an object or doorway a la the struggle that is felt all the way through the first Parasite Eve paired with fixed camera angles, you find yourself constant missing a doorway, a place to jump, or something to shoot at.
Sluggish as they were, the tank controls that had proven themselves up until the era of PlayStation 2 were fading away.
In turn the fixed camera angles that added tension and disguised loading screens were beginning to open up allowing players full access to everything on the screen for the first time ever in gaming.
You don't know the thrill of for the first time being allowed to really freely move in any direction other than just a straight line in one of the given directions.
For the first time games opened up and allowed the player to swing the camera where it was best suited, or use it to see all angles of the same room helping for what otherwise would have been the "leap of faith" jumps that came with games like Soul Reaver.
Bringing It Back In Style
As much as gamers grumble about what we used to have as common place being in games that haunt the PlayStation Now, like Silent Hill 3, which I gave up playing as the edition streamed on PS Now was glitchy as all get out, Resident Evil fans gave an outpouring of early concern on the coming of Resident Evil 2 Remake going to the over-the-shoulder camera styling of Resident Evil 4.
Much beloved, 4 spent most of the game looking at the backside of hunky Leon Kennedy, which female fans loved, yet didn't always seem most effective at times. Now granted in all games we spend twenty plus hours looking at the back of our character's heads sometimes hoping for a cut scene to get another glimpse at what our face looked like.
With so much revision in Remake why had they brought back a classic camera style at all? Will it be worth it? Only nineteen days left until game release to know.
Should it have gone the way of Resident Evil 2 which continued the fix camera angles of one but had opened up the backdrop leaving the game less claustrophobic?
Personally I think the choice very much fits the idea of Remake and I love seeing elements from 7 and a re-imagining of 2 clash in this way.
I'm glad when we take the helm as Claire and Leon this time we can move and shoot at the same time and take corner at human speed rather than only dart in a straight line before turning like some sort of robot following a track.
Granted any old technique feels so far away after new adaption, but looking at how we used to play our games, makes me feel like a better gamer now as an adult.
As the difficulty keeps growing in what we play now, picking up a classic everyone once in awhile and taking a few hours journey to retrain your fingers at an archaic control system should make our fingers more nimble in Fortnite.