Do You Remember When?


(This is another edition of </RANT>, a weekly opinion piece column on GameFront. Check back every week for more. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not reflect those of GameFront.)

Hey guys, let’s have some videogame nostalgia! We all love nostalgia, that’s why we pretend that NES games were ten times better than anything released today when 99.9% of those games were pure, unfettered, unapologetic garbage. I’ll go first with the fond, fond memories!

Do you remember when you’d put a videogame in your videogame machine and it would play the videogame that you wanted to play? It was amazing. You’d put in a cartridge or a disc, and the content that was on the disc would just play, right away, as if the purpose of a game console was to actually play videogames rather than feed consumers a bunch of cheap, extraneous bullshit. There were no huge patches to download, and your system didn’t require some compulsory firmware update. There were no mandatory, forty-minute long installations that slowly sapped your excitement for a new product. I’m serious here — you put your game in, and the game played. No scrolling through advertisements, unwanted applications or television shows, either.

Oh guys, do you remember when unlocking extra content in videogames meant playing, not paying? Do you remember when an entire game was contained on a disc, including extra modes, a full-fledged campaign, and whatever else the developers wanted to include? Do you remember a time when, if you wanted to see the ending of your game, all you had to do was play it until it ended? Man, those were great days, huh. Also, do you guys remember cheats? If you’re old enough, you may. Cheats could do anything from award free weapons to unlock weird, funky game modes or gigantic character heads. All you had to do to access this weird stuff was to discover a code — either from friends or special magazines — and put them in. No kidding, this shit was free! It was already available, and you didn’t have to buy it separately. Same for unlockable costumes and characters, which usually required dedication or skill to win. Once, you had to earn stuff, which added to the longevity of the experience. Surely a few dads at the back can remember this stuff.

Do you recall not being terrified to switch your machines on? Do you remember trusting that your games console was made properly, to the point where even the most devastating of glitches could be solved by simply blowing into the device or giving it a good smack? Surely you do! Surely you remember a glorious time when you could be confident that the expensive electronic device you just purchased would work for the next few years.

Do you recall not being made to feel like a common f**king thief by the industry you loved? Do you remember when you didn’t have to prove to a publisher that you bought a game before half the game would unlock for you? Who remembers when publishers were so busy whining about rental services like Blockbuster that they didn’t pay much attention to the secondhand market? Sure, sure, they tongue the arse of Blockbuster now because it’s the lesser evil, but oooh did the industry dislike it back then. I remember when the games industry was a lot less whiny about piracy and secondhand sales, even though it made a lot less money back then than it does now. Apparently, the richer it got, the closer to extinction it pretended to be. How odd. Still, I remember the good old days!

Speaking of online passes, I remember when being online wasn’t obligatory. That’s right, games could once be whatever they wanted to be, without shoehorning in extra modes! If a successful single-player game got a sequel, it didn’t need to split itself into two with some arbitrary, me-too, multiplayer waste of time that almost always existed just to force more f**king online passes. It could just — amazingly — BE a single-player game. Indeed it could be! A studio could dedicate all its time and resources into crafting the thing they are good at. Money didn’t have to be diverted into extra modes that were included just for the sake of having them. Executives did not ignorantly claim that single-player was dead in the face of evidence that proves such a claim far from true. Games that had no hope of maintaining an online community didn’t bullishly try and forge one anyway, just because. Games were just whatever they were supposed to be. They were more focused, and more pure in their goal. Oh, those crazy times. Crazy times.

Most of all, do you remember when games, for all their technological worth, weren’t lagging so pathetically fu**ing behind the rest of the media out there? Indeed, while iTunes delivers music instantly and Netflix can stream movies on demand, the videogame industry still desperately tries to create more barriers between the user and the content. Nowadays, I can just decide to watch a movie, use a legitimate service provider of my choice, and watch that movie. If I fancy getting a particular song, I can have it as soon as I can type its name into an online Mp3 store’s search box. But the console market in particular is going backwards, not forwards. In a generation used to on-demand, instantly available content, publishers are still making us put 25-digit codes into our machines. When you can play a song on your computer, phone or television, big videogame platform holders scrabble for exclusivity and proprietary delivery methods. Do you remember when games looked more modern than the so-called “old media”? I do. I remember it fondly.

In the age of Netflix, the game industry looks like a ragged collection of Commodore 64s. The current way in which the console market delivers content makes me wonder if we’re not going to end up using cassettes for our games again. Some of those forced installs and day-one patches remind me way too much of them as it is.

You remember when it wasn’t quite this shit?

Nice, wasn’t it?

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16 Comments on Do You Remember When?

Rammstein

On January 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Remember when sarcasm and total, utter cynicism were more subtle? No? Me neither!

Also, /all videogames ever/(lulz) were only singleplayer because /all videogames ever/ were made by a single company. Nintendo. And in 2011 we’re still using Friend-ing-codes to participate in the privilege of communicating with each other on a Nintendo device.

If the internet existed back then, there would have been multiplayer online games. No, wait, there wouldn’t–because Nintendo hates multiplayer.

bob

On January 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

well obviously troll baby still hasnt played many multi on the wii

Rammstein

On January 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I’ve played plenty. I would even challenge you right now to a game, if it didn’t require inputting a 25-digit* friend-code. ;)

Daniel

On January 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Ooh, I think Jim deeply offended some EA exec there.

LTenhet

On January 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

OH the old days. Though I also remember when instead of DLC you got EXPANSION PACKS which were 19.99 sometimes 29.99, but they were basically a whole new game running on the same tech… instead of spending 10 bucks for two extra maps, you got a whole new single player campaign to continue, as well as new units, new maps, new gameplay modes! You could get your money worth of things!

Garyn Dakari

On January 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm

@CHoedy: Seriously dude, what did Sterling do to you? You post things like that on ALL his rants…

CHoedy

On January 21, 2012 at 12:11 am

@Garyn Dakri

I’ll tell you since you ask.He is the worst kinda hack there is.That fat ass s on a lot of great games for reason no reason.Ohh wait his reason is because he didn’t have fun or there some some kinda mechanic that he couldn’t get his fat head around.Now I hate sports games but I could not give Madden12 or FiFa ty scores when they are the best sports games you can get.Its called integrity as a reviewer and Fathead here does not have it.Just like his post on defending the gaming company’s.of course those gaming company’s don’t give a rats ass about the people who buy there games and hes a retard for expecting them to.
If he wanted to just spew rants about stuff that’s one thing but this guy expects to be taken seriously.So Jim Sterling,Ill give his fat chin the sweet chin music when I see his obese ass waddling down the street.

GoodGollyGosh

On January 21, 2012 at 8:01 am

@CHoedy

Most of your incoherent rant is pointless. However, one piece of gold shines through:

“of course those gaming company’s don’t give a rats ass about the people who buy there games and hes a retard for expecting them to”

Well, that’s alright then, isn’t it.

People wonder why we can’t have nice things.

ManuOtaku

On January 23, 2012 at 5:10 am

Rammstein “I’ve played plenty. I would even challenge you right now to a game, if it didn’t require inputting a 25-digit* friend-code”.
Did you check the online features of the 3DS, i think nintendo right now are making hughes steps to offer good online gaming, and i think the Wii U will take an step further, also on the wii on mario kart and monster hunter tri were good online tittles that didnt required friend codes to play the game and they did rock on the online front.

ManuOtaku

On January 23, 2012 at 5:13 am

By the way, i dont know if this is sarcasm or not, either way i agree with this, because for me is the true i prefer a lot of things of the pasts gen that are now common practice in the industry,like DLC and micro DLC.

ManuOtaku

On January 23, 2012 at 5:21 am

By the way i dont know if this is a sarcasm or not, either way i agree with a lot of things that now are part of the common practice of this industry like DLC and micro DLC (COD), the pug and play asppect without any updates or 5 GB saving procedures etc, i do miss the old good days, also the multiplayer asppect like playing with four people together having fun instead of people screaming bad words and other foolish kind of things that is so common in multiplayer this days, people before work together to have fun right is instant personal gratification instead of team work.

Lichtonatus

On January 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

“his reason is because he didn’t have fun or there some some kinda mechanic that he couldn’t get his fat head around.”

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. When I don’t enjoy something, I generally won’t recommend it to others (unless that lack of enjoyment is reeeeaaaal interesting as a process). Why should Jim be any different?

“integrity”
Oh. I suppose ‘bias’ is a large part of your vocabulary too?

G.A.R.B.A.G.E

On January 23, 2012 at 10:26 am

Don’t worry about these anorexic vegan EA es hating on you Jim. Keep telling it like it is, keep it real man.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5268-Piracy-Episode-One-Copyright

Ron Whitaker

On January 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

The amusing thing about CHoedy’s rant is that he says Jim’s a bad reviewer for giving games that aren’t fun or enjoyable bad scores. Strangely, I’ve always thought the very point of being a game reviewer is to tell people what you thought about a game. If it’s not fun or enjoyable to you, you’ll naturally give it a bad score. Where’s the issue?

No one says that you’re required to like the same games as Sterling. Heck, Jim and I don’t agree on what games should get which scores, but I respect his opinion on games simply because he has the balls to say exactly what he thinks. Too many people think like CHoedy here, and will give CoD a perfect score simply because “everyone knows it’s a good game.” I have no respect for those sort of reviewers. If you’re looking at reviews properly, you’ll realize that there’s no such thing as a review score that’s ‘incorrect’ or ‘wrong.’ Review scores (hell, reviews in general) are OPINIONS, and as such they aren’t required to conform to some pre-conceived notion of what they ‘should’ be. If you can’t understand that, I suggest you reread Jim’s excellent editorial on how gamers consistently misuse the word “bias” when talking about reviews.

If you want to get the most out of game reviews, find a reviewer who has similar tastes to your own, and follow their reviews. Obviously, if you have different likes and dislikes than someone, you aren’t going to like the same games. It’s not rocket science.

JimsterlingisaFaggot

On January 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm

this head.An if you all are so taken with him why don’t you go his fat ass.You people have no clue as to what this is talking about.Hes a hack an fail gamer and he s on games

@Ron Whitaker

The whole CoD thing is old.Can you not make up your own cleaver insults or just going with that the internet tells you? The CoD series has always been mediocre. regardless Jim is a bias piece of and he needs to ing die.No,I’m not rereading anything that fat ass wrote because unlike you I can only stand the smell of for so long.
None of you have notice his big turn around have you?This on a lot of big named games.that’s how he got popular by being the unpopular guy.Now hes trying to do turn it all around.hes just another hack Angry Nerd want-a-be.

Jim Sterling

On January 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

El Oh El.