Retro Gaming is definitely on the rise, with more and more people starting to invest in older consoles, or devices, in order to relive and experience the greatness of yesteryear. It’s a great trend and something that helps some awareness to the games that we older folks grew up with to the kids of today.
Playing older games though is not for me as I’m definitely a “modern” gamer, for lack of a better word. I rarely go back and play old games on old devices, and much rather bank the file the good memories I have in the archives of my mind and move on. I tend to look at the new games coming out and play them as they come, rarely going back further than a couple of years.
But I did think about how lucky we are in modern times. There are so many standard things in gaming that we have come to expect, like wireless controllers for instance. It’s something that, not too long ago, was seen as a “feature” to newly releasing hardware. So with that in mind, I decided to compile a list of things we definitely don’t miss, from the good ol’ days!
Starting off with what I’ve already mentioned. It’s something console gamers almost take for granted, but not so long ago, you had a long cable stretching across the living room to connect your input device to your console. It was a bit of an annoyance. I’ve heard horror stories of consoles being tugged off the TV stand as somebody tripped over the cable on their way past. In some instances, the cable was too short, so a console had to be placed on the ground, in order for it to reach you while you play, or do as we did as kids, sit on the ground and play. There’s also the messiness of tangled and twisted cables, which is the absolute bane of my existence. Now, the only thing to worry about is the controller dying because you forgot to charge it, better plug in that cable in order to keep on play….. dammit!
Lack of Analog Sticks
Remember the days where we had to control everything with four directional buttons? Yeah, me too. While it was great for the classic games of the area, which was mostly side-scrolling platformers, it started becoming a chore to control characters that moved around in a 3D space. The original PlayStation released with analog free controllers, which when you look at it today, just looks silly. It’s been more than 20 years since the first analog thumbstick was tacked onto a controller, and we can all thank Nintendo for doing so with the Nintendo 64.
Inability to save a game
A lot of us here in South Africa grew up playing knock-off Golden China consoles. One thing that came with it, was the inability to save your progress. It wasn’t necessarily an issue that just us Saffers experienced, but later versions of Nintendo’s consoles did allow for some kind of saving for its bigger games. Some games also had some kind of password system built in, that you had to write down, in order to remember what level you were at.
This did, however, become a bit of a bigger nuisance when consoles like the PlayStation launched at a premium, and then sell a memory card at another premium in order for you to be able to save your progress. Good luck in explaining to your parents why you need that memory card so you can continue your progress of Final Fantasy VII.
Battling to make the damn game actually work (PC)
This is something I personally experienced a bit of. The gap between PC and console gaming back then was way bigger than it is today. You essentially played completely different games entirely. The problem was, that PCs were a lot less Plug-n-Play than it is today, and getting the hardware to work, never mind the actual game was sometimes a gruelling and tiring experience. Installations often involved altering config files and entering DOS commands in order to play it. Games and software often didn’t work within Windows, so you had to close the OS, which was just a fancy interface anyway, in order to start doing your thing.
Today, playing on PC is almost as easy as on console. Especially with game clients like Steam, or Origin (yes I know) that help you play the game as easily and quickly as possible. Yes, there’s sometimes as issues with getting a game to work, that console players generally don’t experience, but it is nowhere near as close as the issues we had in the early to mid-90s.
Say what you will, but most of the gaming things from yesteryear wasn’t as robust as it is today. From simple things of CDs getting scratched, or cartridges refusing to work no matter how hard you blow it, to floppy 7 of 9 deciding it’s as corrupt as a government official, everything was just a lot more sensitive back in the days. It was easy to pull a cord out of a controller (once again cheap knock off consoles) or have gaming media getting scratched, simply because it worked so much harder than today. It also doesn’t help that CDs didn’t have the same kind of scratch resistance as the DVDs and Blu-Ray discs of today.
Everything is also more digital today, so we really don’t even need to have a cartridge or disc in order to play the game, which was mandatory back then.
The lack of a backlight
Today, we walk around with telephones in our pocket that has the ability to display its information to us no matter how dark the surroundings are. It’s something we take for granted, as the first mobile devices we walked around was our handheld Gameboys or Game & Watch devices. Those consoles were amazing, and we could play any time anywhere, provided we had enough light. Those devices had nothing more than a monotone LCD screen, that showed dots at specific locations depending on what you are doing. There was no light coming from behind that screen in order to make it look better, or help you see in lower light conditions.
Today, we have brightly coloured displays with light shining through with the power of the sun. Not quite, but compared to back in the early 90’s, it’s pretty much what it feels like. Hell, we’ve become so accustomed to the screens of today, that we start complaining about the resolution of a new handheld, and how it’s not good because of that. Come to think of it, maybe this one wasn’t that bad after all.
Know of anything else you don’t miss from the good old day? Let us know in the comments if there’s some stuff you’re really glad went the way of the dodo.