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It has been a while. I had to get settled into school once again, so that took priority over this. But now I“m back, and ready to talk about gaming. With that, let“s go back to the past and talk about retro games and why they are so important and impactful now. The retro gaming scene is a bit different. Why is it when games can look like this, or this, that games end up looking something like this? When tools are limited, people get creative about how those tools are used. It“s like if a child wants to play with a sword, and doesn“t have a plastic or rubber sword to play with, that child will grab a stick. If there“s no stick, then the child will form a chopping motion with their hand and pretend that the arm is the sword. Retro gaming taps into this mindset. Streets of Rage, a side scroller on the Sega Genesis, had an abundance of moves for using only 3 buttons. Looking at some games today, there is practically button overload, even though buttons are generally used for 1 or 2 functions. This limited capability (in terms of just more than hardware and buttons) is something that the indie games are capitalizing on. And indie games are creating a ton of buzz nowadays. You can also press in the sticks like they're buttons. With simplicity however, usually comes difficulty. Games today are certainly hard, but I generally don“t find them punishing with the exception of certain parts. Mega Man for example, I tend to find rather punishing while playing through the game, dying and continuing multiple times before getting to the Wily Towers. Streets of Rage is incredibly hard, especially once you put the difficulty settings higher. I“ve died a lot playing Vanquish too, but it was usually during a boss, or if I was screwing around. Have games really become easier, or have I become that much better? Another factor that retro games use is the pure imagination of these games. This generally leads to their charm. Usually this is seen in their bright or contrasting colors, or how over the top some of the games are. The games of old seem to take that imagination and run with it as far as possible. I“m not saying games today don“t have imagination, but there is some aspect of games today where they wouldn“t fit in with the games of the 8 or 16-bit era. Look at Jack Cayman. His character design is rather cartoonish, with his overly muscular build and mechanical arm, but other aspects of him are made to look realistic. Jack looks like he“s straddling the line of cartoon and realism, whereas someone like Sonic is clearly on the cartoon side. On the consumer side lies the fact that information is more widely available. Now you can watch videos and read tons of reviews before deciding to make a purchase. Before the internet starting sharing everything, you had magazines, word of mouth, and maybe the back of the case to get you enticed. I think a lot more experimenting happened on the consumer side with limited information available to them. However, a limited number of genres were also successful on certain platforms. Side scrollers were EVERYWHERE, but first person shooters were the rare commodity on home consoles for a while. The last factor I will talk about in retro gaming goes with the actual limitation of hardware, stamina. Less saving was around, and not every game used a password, so you had to bust your butt and blast through the game in one sitting. It“s not necessary to do so now, but I do find myself loving the fact that I can sit there for a few hours undisturbed and just play the game, even though I“m nowhere near done with it. Maybe this is one reason why I love gaming so much, and not the escapism and vast worlds that I explore. I'll explore other aspects of retro gaming in the next few entries. Hope you enjoyed this one, and I apologize about the long wait.
One night my cousin came over and we decided to play some smash bros. Brawl. After beating the crap out of each other for a bit, he looked through the collection of games and asked why I don't have any sports games such as Madden. I replied saying that I would rather play video games to do lots of crazy things that we can't do in real life. I started playing video games during the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo era. During that time, most of the games consisted of platformers, (Mario, Sonic, Donkey Kong) RPGs (Final Fantasy), beat em ups (Streets of Rage, Final Fight). You couldn't play a â€œrealisticâ€ game back then. Once the Playstaion 2 era came about, all of that changed. When playing a sports game, people are trying to live a different fantasy. We all pretty much play video games to escape the reality of real life, but some people play certain games that are more grounded to the reality of the real world. Maybe that's the big appeal. I understand that people want to re-live history or set up what-if situations with Madden and the NBA2K series. One of the reasons sports games do well is that they incorporate the retired greats. Joe Montana, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, heck, Shaq just retired. Seeing those guys play again, although in digital form definitely brings memories back. Another big draw to such games is mainly in the pick up and play aspect. Since there's no real story behind them, you don't have to get acquainted with the characters and the reason why the main character is doing what he/she is doing. You just get to jump right into the action. If you are familiar with the sport, there's not much extra stuff you have to learn regarding the rules of the game. It's more figuring out how to play the game (or adjusting if you have previous game experience). Fans are finally able to put themselves in the coaches chair, and play the players and make the trades they thought would benefit their favorite team, instead of how things played out in real life. Now the player that didn't get so much playing time is actually kicking some butt right? (let's hope) Maybe you want to see how the season would play out with a specific player injured. Some play to have some feel of what it is like to be a professional athlete. Maybe that's your biggest fantasy. Go out and JAM! On the other side of the fantasy spectrum are the games that I tend to play. Games that contain the improbable, or the impossible. Games where bending or even breaking the rules of real world physics is considered normal, and this carries into the worlds and rules of the games. Can your character double jump? Can you air block in a battle game? Why is it normal for a character to carry an item that's two times the size of a normal person? Sonic's main ability is to run at supersonic speeds, which we can't do in real life. In Streets of Rage, a crime syndicate takes over a city, but I highly doubt a small band of ex police officers will be able to take down an entire gang using only their martial arts abilities. And those are the simpler games. RPGs generally contain some form of magic. When people think magic, usually that means controlling the elements in some way. And lets not forget that most of these games have story lines, something that sports games lack. A grand adventure awaits... Realism and fantasy are two ends of the same spectrum. While realism does have its aspects that appeal to some, the same goes for the more fantastic games. Some games just won't appeal to everyone. Now let's go play some basketball, break security cameras, and beat up thugs without getting arrested...in video games of course!