September 29, 2008 // 3:08 am
- The Golden age of video games saw its height in the 16 bit era where SNES and The Genesis were in a console war over who had the best games. SNES came out on top which we discuss in numerous articles on Old-Wizard, and stood as the most creative moment in the video game mediums small history. Where has the Golden age gone?
It has gone to games that lack everything great about those old NES and SNES games. In this list, we will go through the reasons why the games of the modern era lack the power of the older generation. We could only hope that modern game makers realize the creative insurgence of the 16 bit era and try to recapture it for the next generation.
10. No good instruction manuals
This may seem like a petty reason not to like modern games, but it meant a lot to us retro video gamers who wanted to experience the game beyond the screen. New instruction manuals to modern games offer no story lines like the old games that made us prepared for battle before we even entered the game. We would rip open the shrink wrap before we got home with the game and immerse ourselves in the creative storylines.
New games don't have this in their instruction manuals. Look at the old Mario instruction manuals. You had pictures of all the bad guys and even little descriptions of their powers and where they were from. A world was created for us before we even played the game. We sorely miss this in modern video game instruction manuals.
9. Lame Fans
The fans of the modern video game lack the passion of the retro gamer. They get games, play them for a couple weeks, then move on to the next game that's either faster, or has more of a chance to play Law and Order detective. Its all about what's most "cutting edge" for these fans of modern games. You give them better graphics, they will buy it, you say there is more guns to choose from, they will get it and move on from their past game.
This shows a lack of quality in modern games that can be left so easily for the next game in a sequel or a game with more "edge". This won't be found in the retro gamer who cherished the games he bought and played over and over.
8. Lack of good story lines
This one is obvious. We could name off the obvious games like the Final Fantasy's and even the simplicity (but still interesting) of Super Metroid as examples of great story lines compared to what is considered to the modern day storyline in video games that involve modern detective work or overtly childish outlooks in fantasy like Fable.
The transcendence and superseding of modern reality is just not there in the modern story line which follow much of the argument of the rest of this article. The great storylines of the past video games escaped our everyday concerns, probably out of a want for wanting to escape the boredom that envelopes modern culture.
7. Characters lack depth
We don't get much information on modern video game characters rather than them being from the streets or having some raw toughness that you will never be able to have since you spend to much time watching it rather than being it. This history of the modern video character is limited to a few sentences and a characterization of who they currently are. There is rarely character progression so seeing any development in who your playing as is non-existent.
Didn't this make certain games great though? Didn't coming to know your partners in Illusion of Gaia for example make that game even more interesting? Falling into their story lines made up recognize deeper part about ourselves not expressed in other popular forms of media. This is hard to find in the modern video game.
6. Focused on being too realistic (not as much imagination)
Modern video games are too focused on being realistic. The age of the 3D game has become too concerned with making the video game an expression of the first person point of view. The whole point of a video game though is to get away from reality as it currently exists and enter into other modes of being, like 2nd, and 3rd person points of view when playing the game.
Along with this goes the popular topics in video games that mimic our worst instincts of modern pop culture, like our love for unadulterated violence and hedonistic images. These modern impulses aren't who we are just because they seem to come across as expression in its purest form. Let's remember that there was a MASSIVE history before late 20th century expressionism.
5. Loss of simplicity
Look at some of the greatest games of all time. Mario, Pac Man, Q*bert, Metroid. Pac Man and Q*bert didn't even leave one screen but yet you could play them for hours on end. Mario and Metroid followed a simple side scrolling model but touched the gamer in a way that they would always remember the games like the memories of a loss loved one. This simplicity was not a lack of creativity but an understanding of what strong entertainment was.
With modern games like "True Crime" it becomes a headache trying to act out a cop trying to solve banal modern TV dramas. Even Mario 64, there's too many places in the 3D world for one to move and visit. We want to go ahead, not meander around a blocky 3d world not knowing what to do with no instruction from a townsperson.
4. Too easy
Ever notice how easy modern games are? It's not that the enemies and bosses are easy to beat, but theres just so many damn lives that one has. On top of this, their continues upon continues upon continues, and if there isn't continues there's save points wherever you turn. The gamer no longer has to work for his accomplishments in the modern game. Remember Metroid and Super Metroid? Finding those save points was of the most satisfying experiences for the gamer.
You would get your energy replenished and know you were safe for that one moment before going back out to the nefarious Zebes. This sense of suspense the game created made for the gamer in yearning to find a save spot is lost in what seems like infinite ways not to die in a video game like any modern game like Twilight Princess (a great game by the way) for example. Give us something to work for.
3. Too much of a focus on graphic technology
Starting with the Nintendo 64, graphics gained a privileged status over everything else that makes a quality a game. Remember the graphics for Contra? Remember the graphics duck hunt? Remember how obviously pixilated they were? Also remember how amazing these games were? The graphic technology in games now try to mimic movie trailers and humanity in its current form to such a degree that you can't even tell the difference anymore between reality and the game.
Why the drive to try to mimic exactly what we currently are? This has embodied graphic technology since the 64 bit era. How much can we emulate our perception of reality? There is not only a problem in this motivation itself, buts taken away from all other aspects of what makes a game great.
2. Too many sequels
Notice how every modern game has to have a sequel? How many Grand Theft Autos are there? How man Metal Gear Solids are out there? All these spy/crime "thrillers" are loaded to the brim with sequels that never come close to the originals.
Sure, the old games like Mega Man and Double Dragon had sequels, but do you remember how great the sequels were? Do you remember how great Mega Man 2 and Double Dragon 2 were? Modern games don't have this success. They just try to make things more violent and more appealing to lustful instincts.
1. To much violence at the sake of substance
The most popular of modern day video games is the Grand Theft Auto series. This game gets talked about like it's the only video game that ever existed. Seriously, what's the big deal about throwing someone out of their car to steal it compared to riding a dragon across the world in search of a mana seed? The small "adventures" on GTA are fleeting and always end up in some modern gang violence. You can see this in any lousy cop movie or TV series.
Why do I want to play it out? I'm playing video games to try to escape reality, not watch the same boring old cop show. Where is the substance on mimicking modernity's insistence for it's tepid interest in violence. NARC follows the same the suite and shows that marketing has much more of a say in modern games than rigorous creativity.