Smarsaurous: It’s All About Preferences

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Fellow readers, I am here today not to talk about something new, something that bugs me or even something witty that will make you laugh (on purpose).  I am here to explain my love for “old school” video games, and why I struggle to really get involved in the world of gaming today.  I am not old by any means, I will be turning 23 in a month, yet I cannot let go of my NES, SNES and other old systems.  No, it is not because I am hoping one day they will be really valuable because they still work, but it is because I prefer to play those games.  My favorite game of all time is Conquest of the Crystal Palace for the NES which most people I talk to have never heard of.  It is your standard platforming/side scrolling game but it has kicked my butt ever since I was young and my drive to beat it makes it awesome, to me.

The game itself is not the point I am trying to make however.  The point is, even though I have had nearly every system since the NES, I have not found another game to replace my number one pick.  As I grew up I played more and more games, I was able to understand what was going on in the story and how the controls worked.  For some reason the games from my past are the ones I always find myself going back and playing.  Sure, every once in a while I will through a new game into my Wii like Kirby’s Yarn Adventure, but the reality of it is, that game is simple and something of a throwback with creative new ideas.  I crave that simplicity, and I have grown tired of having a whole level full of tutorials being dumped on me.  It is a chore to play through them, and more often than not, I turn the game off before the story even starts due to the tutorial.

The merit of tutorials in my opinion is barely understandable.  As a 7 year old I figured out how to play Castlevania, Super Mario World, and other games that tend to complexities.  Now I hand Super Mario Bros. to a child and they ask me what to do when it is fairly self-explanatory; run right, jump, shoot fire, repeat.  Also, these are not kids that have NEVER played a video game in their lives, these are kids who consistently kick my butt in CoD:MW and other such games.  Part of it I believe is that these kids have never played a simple game like Mario, sure, but I think the fact that nothing flashes on the screen and says “Hold B to run” confuses kids.  The fact that the industry feels its customers are not smart enough to figure the game themselves is insulting to me.

Another thing that I struggle accepting in this crazy new world of gaming is “achievements” and the like.  What was wrong with beating the game being the greatest achievement one could have?  Being able to brag to your friends that you beat the game, most likely first, was the most coveted thing a gamer could do.  Adding ridiculous goals to extend the amount of “game play” there is, or to make the game more difficult is…well ridiculous.  I can understand where people like having proof to back up their bragging but I feel achievements have created more big-headed braggers than the world needs.  Also, boasting your game will take well over 100 hours to complete should not include the several hours you are NOT REQUIRED to do to beat the game.  Just saying…

I have been bashing the current state of gaming quite a bit it seems, so here we go with the negatives I see when it comes to the games of my “childhood”.  The difficulty as we all know, was not always programmed into the game…on purpose.  Of course we still experience some bad controls in modern gaming, (*cough* ZELDA *cough*), but it is much less frequent.  The amount of bad jumping, switched controls and ridiculous planning on the programmers parts in the past is just insane.  Who thought pressing DOWN and SELECT to use magic was a good idea?

Along with that, lets be honest, games these days are beautiful.  It is hard to find a game that repels the eye, but in the 8 and 16-bit era many games were dull and boring.  Many games looked similar and even within games it could be difficult to know where you are due to repeated screens.  Now to see a repeated background would be laughable and reserved to making a statement or mocking.

Obviously nostalgia plays a part in my love of older games as well, but the fact is those games are much more memorable than a majority of the new ones I have played.  That is not to say all games I have played in the past 5 years have not impacted me.  Heavy Rain is a game that I enjoyed far more than I expected to, and I could play it over and over again.  However, most games are NOT Heavy Rain and therefore do not speak to me like it has.  Even the simplest games like Bowling for the NES have stuck with me throughout the years and I still play it.

So, am I totally against the world of gaming in this era, of course not.  Do I long for the days of my childhood in gaming, of course not.  However I feel that the love I have for my past experiences will be few and far between as of now because the overall connection I make with games now is less significant.  In the future I hope to be able to connect to the games I play like I did in the past, and I eagerly await the day it happens.

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