The Burning Question: What was your perfect era for gaming?

I expect an endless debate based on this topic, but it’s come up in many of the circles I choose move around in. The conversation normally starts with “hey, do you remember (insert game title here) that you played on System X back in the day? Man, that was the best!” There are many factors that dictate ones experiences when it comes to a particular era. Let’s go through some of those situations that influences those thoughts.

Couch co-op fun

Almost every household from the Famicom and SEGA Genesis up until the PlayStation 1 era had friends and sibling spending hours glued to a screen either battling each other or trying to beat a game. This is partly why the Nintendo Switch system is doing so well as it promotes couch co-op with Mario Party and Mario Kart (basically every Mario game), and this has brought many “old timers” back into gaming.

It’s one of those mechanics that you easily became accustomed to from that era. It arguably spawned a generation of couch co-op companions for life. Today, you can jump into a multi-player lobby and meet new people for a fleeting moment, and it’s fun no doubt, but it doesn’t have the substance that playing together with a common goal used to be like. Unless you’re playing with likeminded friends of course, but sometimes you wish you were in each others company so you can see their reactions in person, or gloat right in their faces!

The story and experience made the game

It seems many big franchises are starting to forgo the campaign or story-driven parts of games and catering more to the multi-player army out there. I’m not saying it’s an unwise business decision or whatever, but more an act of neglect on those that bought into the franchise because of the single-player aspect of it.

We also see this trending floating around the internet that “single-player is dead”, but I’m not convinced of this one bit. The Final Fantasies, Super Mario Bros., Castlevanias, Resident Evils and Silent Hills and Call of Duty: Modern Warfares from yesteryear wet the appetite for many more similar experiences. Yes, I’m well aware that not all games from the retro era had stories, but the ones that did set the tone for generations to come.

Update for what?

No day one patches, no game breaking bugs, no internet connection needed to play the game. Such simpler times. How splendiferous it was to just pop in a cartridge and not being met with a “this game requires an update to start” prompt nearly making you throw something. And those game cases that had booklets with so much content crammed into it. The amount of detail in the packaging itself was a testament to the creators craft and passion.

Nowadays you have to buy a collector’s edition to get the same feeling, but even then you’ll still have to update the game before playing. These patches are developed to make your experience better and squash bugs, but does that not mean we’re paying for an incomplete product? Not saying retro games didn’t have their issues, but they weren’t as bad as something that prevented you from connecting online, especially if it’s a multiplayer online only game.

So I’ve put forward my opinion on what the best era of gaming was for me and how I still long for things to go back to a time when things were simpler and more enjoyable without having an internet connection. Maybe I’m old-fashioned. With that said, lay it on us. Tell us about your experiences and why you choose to choose one era over them all.

I Game, I Design, I wish I could Game Design.

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