I remember being a kid everything was exciting, there were no worries or issues (although weirdly I used to lose sleep worrying that people would die) and everything was fun. Being a kid was amazing – I used to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted (well when I was allowed to).
As I’ve gotten older though my life has slowed down; as a teenager I got bogged down by GCSEs and the pressure of doing well in school. In my later teens work got in the way of fun and now that I am an adult, with a child – fun has definitely fallen down the pecking order of priorities.
Why am I giving you the history of luvva lesson? Well games have followed the same trajectory! In the early (ish) days they were all about fun and as they’ve gotten older the pressure of making money has taken over from that and they have become much more subdued (read as mature).
Here are a few things I miss about gamings formative years
Remember the Activator? Or the Power Glove? The Cyberbike?
All of these peripherals were mental! But every single one of them was made for one reason, to enhance the player’s fun. The release of crazy peripherals that serve no real purpose beyond the one game that’ll use them is all but dead now. And no I’m not counting those shitty Wii shells for the wiimotes.
The reason I miss these is two-fold, firstly it’s because I remember fawning over the magazine adverts for the 32x and Sega CD (don’t judge me I was young). Secondly it’s because often times they are a real oddity, and developers were far more willing to go “way out” with the game that came packed in with the peripheral. While these games were seldom “good” they were usually worth a gander.
Sure we had the Kinect and the Guitar Hero/Rock Band peripherals but where is my next-gen fishing rod? I want to ignore a whole new era of crappy peripherals – well, I’ll buy one. For research you understand!
Getting all your news from magazines
The internet is great isn’t it?
No only can you read the wisest words ever written, on mrluvvaluvva.wordpress.com but you can also read other people’s work too! We can also get news as it breaks, we literally watch live streams/pre-recorded announcements and know instantly. I really miss the silence of the old days; picking up a games magazine was like a proverbial A-Bomb. Every page brought with it something you had no idea about and it was dead exciting (especially when they started putting the mags into cellophane bags).
I remember being a subscriber to OPSM and eagerly awaiting the last week of the month so I could get my new issue, see the news and play the demo disc (more on that later).
My best memories of magazine comes from GamesMaster though. I will never forget the issue that came with a VHS of the games announced at E3 1996. I remember seeing Mario grab bowsers tail in 3D and it blew my mind! I had no idea that a console could do that and it excited me for the Ultra 64 (as it was known). This is a sense of excitement that the internet simply cannot match – everything leaks and by the time it is officially announced its old hat. Remember Mutants in Manhattan’s official “leak”?
The lack of information led to something else that I truly miss…
…pre-internet playgrounds were a hive of bullshit and deceit! I remember one of my friends telling me that ‘Tomb Raider’ had a nude code for goodness sake – the worst part of this story? I fucking believed him; especially when he said that he had seen it in our local game shop (M&M Games – RIP).
‘Tomb Raider’ aside, possibly the biggest lie I was told in school was from a guy in my class, J.P. was his name, told me that his Dad worked for Nintendo. And he was working on a girl version of the Game Boy; imaginatively called The Game Girl! Normally I wouldn’t believe J.P. (he was a notorious liar) but he did just get a Japanese N64 – so that added legitimacy to this nonsense.
I really miss these days because it was bloody exciting! I remember inputting the ‘Mortal Kombat’ blood code (A, B, A, C, A, B, B) into ‘Street Fighter 2’ for ages because another mate told me it worked. I also remember inputting the Konami code into pretty much every game I played. These days were magical!
Now all the fun is ruined by google being everywhere and knowing everything. Nowadays our lies have to be about things that been released/announced and they must be believable – no more of that SEGA have bought Mario and its coming to Mega Drive shit!
Platform specific pseudo-exclusives
From a component standpoint games consoles are so similar nowadays that they are effectively palette changes of one another. This means that third-party games are pretty much exactly the same.
This wasn’t always the case though – OH NO! Because of completely different console architectures, back in the day each console got its own version of the game and it would be a pseudo-exclusive.
There are loads of these games (‘Batman Returns’, ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Tazmania’ etc) the best example of this is probably TMNT. Both games were ports of the sequel to the original arcade game but the SNES got ‘Turtles in Time’ while the Mega Drive got ‘The Hyperstone Heist’. They were basically the same game but with numerous changes made to make them unique (see this post for the details), and both were brilliant!
These pseudo-exclusives led to many a playground argument about which was better (it was Turtles In Time) but made sure that everyone got a great version. I used to love visiting friends who owned SNES games because even though we played the same games, they got slightly different versions that felt completely different.
And that is it for this part guys – when I came up with the concept for this post I didn’t realise that it would be this long…
…so I’m going to split it into two parts. I know you love these epic posts though so it’s all good 😀
Tell me in the comments the things do you miss from the earlier days of gaming?