10 Reasons why Retro Games still own the Games of Today

Image taken from wikipedia.org


If you are a kid of the 80s or 90s, you would remember classic games such as Space Invaders, Circus Charlie, Tetris, Sonic the Hedgehog, Bare Knuckles and of course Super Mario Bros.


Yes, those were the good old days where games were only played using just 2 thumbs, when graphics were made up of pixels that you could actually see, and a good "blowjob" was almost always necessary before any gaming session.


Games and consoles have evolved so much since the times of "Brick Game", however, being an avid gamer myself, I still prefer the old retro games as opposed to most of the newer visually stunning games of today. And here are a few reasons why the old will always rule over the new:



1. There were no "In-Game Instruction Manuals"
Press start on Super Mario Bros and you'll be tossed straight into stage 1-1. There were no instructions, no guides, no "helpful NPCs" to teach you how to game. You experiment and learn for yourself. Walk a few steps and you see a goomba. Don't know he's a bad guy? Touch him once, lose a life and now you know.




Granted the old Super NES only had 1 D-pad and 2 buttons, while the newer consoles have 57 million different buttons. [Or even worse, PCs have the entire keyboard!] But the concept was simple: Learn to play the game BY PLAYING THE GAME.



2. You couldn't save your progress after every 2 steps
Retro games gave more incentive for gamers NOT to make mistakes. Yes, there were "Save Points" but they were few and far between. Accidentally drop into the last trench before reaching the Robotnik banner of Green Hill Zone Act 1 and all you could do was scream "FFFFFUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!!". After getting over your hissy fit, you would resign to your fate of having to start over from the last save point, which was about 5 gaming minutes away from your current location.


Image taken from google search


However, in today's gaming world, you see gamers spending more time saving their games then actually playing them. Here are some examples:

"The next room is a boss fight, better save my game first."
"I'm about to open a door, better save my game first."
"I just killed a low-level enemy that I can kill again with 1 hit, and got no useful loot out of him, better save my game first."
"I just saved my game. Better save my game again to make sure my previous save was saved."

Save-ception.


Oh, and the gamers of today will never experience the anxiety of always knowing that there is a always a slight chance of the game hanging and you having to start off from square 1 again. There are only so many "SHITs" and "PLEASEs" that one can utter before curling up into a ball and starting to cry.



3. Completing a game really meant something
As an extension of the previous point, save points only worked if you had more lives. Lose your final life and you would have to start over from stage 1-1 again. This meant that when someone told you "Hey! I just completed Super Mario Bros last night!", it meant that he has practically memorised the entire game and he could very easily repeat this process with his eyes closed.


Whereas the games of today give you about 3 good hours of stage-by-stage campaign fun, and after you complete the main campaign you spend another 76 hours replying the game trying to complete irrelevant mini-quests or just going on pointless rampages throughout the game.


On the other hand, some skill games could not be completed and just got harder and harder until you hit the big "Game Over". I have personally reached stage 7-5 of Circus Charlie. Anyone care to try to beat my record?


Image taken from google search



4. (The Lack of) In-Game Purchases
In the past, when you bought a game, you only needed to pay for it once. And that's it. There were no such things as monthly subscriptions, "cash" items or in-game purchases. Games were based purely on individual skill and intellect, and no, you couldn't beat the competition by just spending a ton of real money to get the best/most expensive equipment/upgrades in the game.


Apart from in-game shops trying to hustle more money out of your pocket, there are also the occasional advertisements and sponsored brands/links. These advertisements and links are popping up in full 128-bit flashing colours, causing a major distraction to both your eyes and your brain. Simply put: Less is More.


Image taken from 9gag



5. No Loadtimes
The games of the past had virtually no loadtimes once you started the game. Complete a stage and you would be thrown straight into the next stage within the next 2 seconds. This keeps the heart pumping and the action going.


Image taken from google search


The games of today focus a little too much on graphics and storylines, which lead to the games having to load massive amounts of data when switching between stages/areas. This in turn leads to...



6. More Game-time, less story-time
Gamers play games to play games. Not to read storybooks. Give us more time to interact and do silly things with our controllable characters rather than cutting to a new cut-scene every 10 minutes. Agreed that a good storyline is an important aspect to any game, but the key is to tell the story while the user is playing out the game. This was what the retro games were good at.

This game does it like a pro:

Image taken from google search


Press start and you see aliens slowly making their way towards the bottom of the screen [supposingly Earth]. A perfect storyline which anyone can understand and relate to, and all within the push of a single button. Game on.


Unless the game has a storyline and music composition that is comparable to Final Fantasy, please keep the story-telling to the bare minimum. If I wanted to watch a show, I would have rented a DVD.


Image taken from google search



7. It's all in the Gameplay
What differentiates the big boys from the small toys? One word: Gameplay. In the world of 8-bit pixels jumping about on screen, game developers pretty much only had 1 way to beat the competition. And that was to create games with outstanding concepts and gameplay.


Image taken from google search
No. This is not some artist's abstract interpretation of art


Pong only needed 3 lines and a dot to become one of the most recognised games in the world. And even up till today, I believe that there are still many humans out there who are playing this game [which is probably even older than me].


However, game developers kind of lost track of this when more and more processing power came into play. They started focusing on graphics and audio and visual effects. Let me put it in the Pong perspective here. Does anyone still play Virtual Table Tennis?



8. Games required some form of Intellect, instead of getting you to pretend that you're a monkey
Out-smarting ghosts in Pac-Man. Check.
Clearing the entire screen in Tetris. Check.
Finding Robotnik's weakness in every boss battle. Check.
Jumping around the room on 1 leg while clapping your hands above your head and peeling a banana with your feet. I'll think I'll pass, thank you.


Image taken from google search


Games of the past made you think. They made you come up with strategies on how to get pass the puzzle or defeat the boss. While there are still a number of good games out there that make people do some actual thinking and problem solving, there are also many others that seem to have focused their target market at 3 year old toddlers. [Combined with in-game purchases, that might actually not be a bad business idea]


Either that or they intentionally designed the game to be played with your mortal enemy, as an excuse to knock a few of his teeth out or destroy his new 42-inch LED television. Just remember that it works both ways.



9. You didn't need that 276 page game guide to complete the game
However, you might need 276 hours of gameplay to complete a retro game from start to finish. [If it could even be completed in the first place]


Image taken from google search


Games of yester-year did not have guides or walkthroughs to help you along your journey. Get stuck at a puzzle/boss and you could spend the next 5 nights tossing and turning in bed, thinking about how to get pass that puzzle/boss. There was no Google, no game guides, no walkthroughs that you could look up to for help. The only possible avenue of help was to call a friend who has [hopefully] gotten through this puzzle/boss before. And any respectable gamer knows that this meant throwing all the honour of completing this game, out the window.


And even if they did have guides, there would still be some form of skill required to even follow the guide and get through the stage. And these was the challenges that all true gamers crave to conquer.



10. Retro Gaming devices were built to take abuse
Frustrated about not being able to jump across that gaping hole after the 613254th attempt?
Got killed by a fireball that [to you] shouldn't even be there at that time?
Lost a life although you already pressed the button, but the system didn't register it?

No worries. Just take out your frustration on the game devices.


Image taken from google search


Game devices of the past could take an extraordinary amount of abuse and yet still work perfectly fine the very next day. Kick that arcade machine all you want, but it isn't going to give you an extra life. Rip the cartridge out of the Nintendo cartridge slot while the game is still running, and it still works perfectly fine the next day.


I have personally thrown the SEGA controller onto the floor while throwing a hissy-fit and screaming "THE COMPUTER CHEAT ONE!" at my CRT TV. And yet, that same controller still managed to out-live the SEGA 16-bit gaming generation.


However, I don't see humans throwing their iPhones to the ground these days. #JustSaying


Image taken from google search

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