Since 1999 gaming has evolved drastically. Some of these changes have helped our industry blossom and some are fettering it.
Miss 1: Social Gaming
Since the emergence of online gaming — PSN, Xbox Live and the like — the personal camaraderie of gaming seems to have all but disappeared. Remember games like Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64? Gaming was more social back in the day; we had more fun, we talked trash, we had beers, we socialised. There was nothing like executing a perfect powerslide past your friend on the last corner of a track on Mario Kart and getting to see the devastation on their face! These days people don’t even use microphones online; the personal factor is sadly diminishing.
Don’t 1: Wired Controllers
This is something that didn’t cross my mind until I played Mario Party 2 with a few friends last month. Traversing the living room felt like recreating a laser hallway scene in a cheesy action film. If you wanted to get past for any reason, you literally had to be become an acrobat; wires were left, right and centre. As much as I could do with the work out these days, I just love the neatness of wireless controllers. I sure as hell will never take them for granted after last month’s fiasco.
Miss 2: 3D Platformers
Sure, there have been a couple of good ‘uns this generation in the form of the Ratchet games and Mario Galaxy. Honestly though, think back to 10-15 years ago; We still had Mario and Ratchet, but we also had Banjo, Jak and Daxter, Crash, Spyro, Donkey Kong and it goes on… These games hold such a place in many gamer’s hearts, it’s a shame to see them going into decline.
That being said, the new indie era of game development has provided some cracking (mostly 2D) platformers: Meat Boy, Braid, Journey, ‘Splosion Man, Fez, I could go on.
Don’t 2: Memory Cards
These days we hardly have to think about our save files. 500GB Hard drives and the Cloud more than do the job of holding every save file we could dream of (even including DLC, movies and entire game downloads). One story in particular comes to mind from my Gamecube days. It came down to the decision of deleting my 100 hour plus Animal Crossing file or my beloved Wind Waker file. I couldn’t afford another memory card back then and mostly rented games. Thank god that horror will never have to be relived. All hail the Cloud.
Miss 3: Sturdy Consoles
Right, I still have my SNES, Gamecube, PS1, Mega Drive, GBA, GBC and more from back in the day. This generation, I have gone through four Xbox 360 consoles, three PS3 consoles and two Wii consoles. This is unacceptable, and I hope to God this trend ends in this coming generation. Looks like with great power, comes great destructibility… Handhelds are still sturdy enough though.
Don’t 3: Bloody Cardboard Boxes
This mainly applies to Nintendo’s old packaging. Look over at your game collection from this generation. There are probably a few scuff marks and stains, but nothing too bad. Now, think back to your old GBA/GB/N64 collections; the boxes were probably disintegrating, rotting, squashed and stained beyond repair. Thank you DVD cases. I predict we won’t even have boxes in the next decade though. Bon voyage brick and motar, you had a good run.
Miss 4: Buying a Game, the Whole Game and Nothing but the Game
I’m sick of buying a game, only to have to wait for a 10 minute patch to download because they released it buggy and broken (I’m looking at you Obsidian!). Don’t even get me started on Capcom’s antics with on-disc DLC. Sure, DLC can be great when it adds to the experience- it’s just when publishers (and even developers) hold back ready content just to make a quick buck that ruins everything. We are paying quite a bit of money for these video games; I want the full package on day one, with nice extras along the line if I want them. We are now even being charged for things that used to be FREE: extra skins, characters and even cheats. It is ridiculous. Not only that, the increasingly popular“free-to-play” model is being implemented into games we paid 40 quid for. Even Rockstar are dabbling in this model, with the ability to purchase online GTA dollars with real cash. This worries me, this worries me a lot…
Don’t 4: Gaming as a Hermit’s Hobby
Fifteen years ago people would think of a stereotypical gamer as an outsider of society: a geek, a nerd, a loser. The segregated line between gamers and everybody else has blurred, and I frickin’ love it. Society has almost fully accepted gaming now. Obviously the older farts in the partisan sphere are still pretty against it, but they’ll be *ahem* gone soon. Gaming is smashing the box office as of late. GTA V has broken seven world records, including the fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion. It’s not just third party games smashing the box office though; over the summer in my motherland (the UK), The Last of Us had allegedly grossed more than Man of Steel in its opening weeks. A first party Playstation game grossing more than THE FRICKIN’ NEW SUPERMAN MOVIE; if that’s not an exemplar of the popularity and acceptance of gaming today, what is?