When most of us were growing up, there wasn’t much in terms of games and consoles. Usually it’s either Nintendo or Sega Genesis. And there certainly weren’t as many must-have games back then. Even so, we still played the heck out of them. Who do you think has it better? The kids of yesteryear with their smaller game library, or the kids of today who have hundreds of games to choose from on a given system?
Jenni: As wonderful as the newer systems are, I can’t help but think that the kids of yesteryear had it better when I think back to my own childhood and my time spent playing the Intellivision, NES, Sega Genesis and even SNES. Some amazing and groundbreaking games were released for those systems – games that still manage to attract and inspire devotion today.
Sure, there weren’t as many games, but I think the ones that came out and you were lucky enough to get made more of an impression and were treasured more than the games we’re seeing now. If you got a game, you would definitely finish it. The idea of a backlog of games you haven’t played or finished was ludicrous. The idea of selling a game back, one you’d spent hours mastering and enjoying, was also a laughable idea – you treasured what few games you had.
Louise: Back in December, when we were flooded with games, I thought back longingly of the days of the NES. I didn’t actually have an NES, but I would go over to my cousin’s house to play everyday during summer vacation. They only had one game: Super Mario Brothers, but man, did I play the heck out of it. It sounds silly to complain about so many good games out now, but there are so many things I want to play that I feel guilty when I spend too long on any one game. I never had that problem back in the NES days.
As to who has it better? Definitely the kids of today. Not only do they have access to the games we enjoyed as a kid thanks to the virtual console, but they also have current-gen games. Unfortunately, I think that a lot of new gamers don’t appreciate how far we’ve come with games. They look at games like Final Fantasy I on the NES and say it’s too dated to play. It makes me sad to see them missing out on the early years of gaming.
Spencer: Variety is the spice of life! More games mean more opportunities for finding something you like. However, I think we had plenty of games to choose from in yesteryear. There were 700+ NES games alone and I certainly didn’t have them all. Sure, that number pales in comparison to the PlayStation 2 which has over double that. Choice is nice, but it’s a daunting task to play all of the games on any given console.
Looking back, I actually think I enjoyed games more when I had less of them available to me. When you only have a handful of games you play them over and over, learn every little detail, and really dig deep into the core to master a game. Now, will a multitude cheap of digital downloads coming every week and games being longer than ever before I don’t think we’re enjoying games as much. It’s like going to a grand buffet where you take a bite out of everything, but don’t savor a single dish. We move on to the next game so quickly that some of us, myself included, have a backlog of shelved titles. Sometimes having less means more enjoyment.
Ishaan: Definitely the kids of yesteryear (aka us I guess?). We got to experience games for the first time while the entire medium was still very new and fresh. There was plenty of room for growth and innovation. Playing a Final Fantasy or a Sierra adventure game for the first time when the concept of games with such touching and well-developed stories wasn’t the norm was a true joy. Technological limitations never seemed to get in the way back then. The possibilities seemed limitless, partly because developers made a real effort to work with what they had.
By comparison, even though there is still a lot of innovation happening in the games industry at present, it doesn’t feel as new and fresh as it did so many years ago. Maybe it’s because we’re all older now and we’ve witnessed the industry growing and maturing alongside us. Maybe it’s because production costs are higher now and there isn’t as much innovation as we’d like to see. Despite this, I think we’re very, very lucky to have grown up with 8 and 16-bit games and watched the medium progress to 3D as we got older. That gives you a true sense of appreciation for the industry which most of the new kids probably won’t possess.