Friday Debate: What do you miss about the “good old days” of gaming?

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Something I’ve seen quite often (especially when talk of how much money DLC makes arises) is older gaming yearning for the “good old days,” some sort of nostalgic pining for an idyllic halcyon era when gaming was pure.

Or something.

The most common thing I see is that people wish for complete games – but I don’t think developers purposefully yank content out of games to resell it later as DLC. Not anymore. That stuff tends to come along later. In fact, I think gaming’s golden days are right now. We’ve got games that look and play better than they ever have before, with new technologies enabling new experience. Sure, much of it is just the same guff as ever, just prettier. But there is a lot about “the old days” that I do miss.

Mostly, I miss the excitement of being huddled around an arcade machine, playing Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat II. The weird sense of community that instilled is a far cry from the post-Gamergate Us vs Them splinter we have today.

It’s something Kervyn agree with, saying:

“I miss gaming arcades. They’re still around, but they’re dusty relics. I remember what a big fuss it was when a brand new big game was rolled into the arcade. I still remember having to elbow my way through a crowd to get my first glimpse of Virtua Fighter at N1 City Wonderland. More than that, I miss the innocent excitement of just running from game to game with a pocket full of 50c coins or tokens.”

Trevor also agrees that gaming today is good.

“I love the games we get today. They’re better looking, story-telling has advanced by leaps and bounds, game play has evolved and improved, and we have so much choice when it comes to what we play. Here’s what I miss though as a PC gamer: not basically needing to wait a year to play the latest AAA title because it needs to be patched and have all its content released.”

Noelle, meanwhile, misses variety and the ability to just put a disc into a machine and play – without having to download patches, install things or wait around.

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But you tell us! What do you miss about the golden days of gaming?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: August 4, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Not having “deluxe”, “digital deluxe”, “golden deluxe” and “collector editions” for a game on release day.

  • Thanks for not including my comment Geoff… *sniff*

    I believe we are living in the golden generation of games. To be able to load up any game in any genre and find people all over the world to play with is something that’s never existed before.

    The scale of the gaming industry now is immense and honestly if you check the pricing it’s probably cheaper to get into gaming now than it ever was before. (excluding arcades)

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Standing around the arcade machine was the best. I even miss the older kids burning your hair or the back of your knee with a ciggie to distract you while you’re playing SF2. 😀

    • Was your arcade in Boys Town?

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Arcade? We had the local dodgy Porra cafes.

  • DaxterZA

    1. Unlocks via Progression, not “chests”…
    2. DLC that is not already on the disc and you having to pay for it.
    3. Smaller updates (And no MASSIVE day one patches)
    4. Affordability
    5. No internet required

    • Hammersteyn
    • Frik van der Hewerskink

      I don’t mind point number 3 too much too be honest.

      • DaxterZA

        I also dont mind updates too much, and knowing that it fixes issues is okay, but my real problem is when I buy a game, very excited to play it, install it and then have to download 30gb (PC Wolfenstein The new Order).

  • “Here spend money for a random chance on getting what you want!”

    Remember gambling is bad mmmk!

  • Original Heretic

    I agree with Noelle. I hate patches for games that I buy on disc. Release the game when it’s done.

  • Ross Woofels Mason

    All i am going to say about content being yanked from games to be sold as DLC – Final Fantasy 15, every single bit of paid DLC for that game should of been present in the game. Personally this isn’t gaming’s golden age.

    It is the golden age of convenience for gamer’s and we have more titles to choose from than ever before but how many of those titles don’t end up being a let down. Over hyped to only have the official release fall far from what was promised. Take a look at no mans sky.

    For me what I miss is the smaller selection of games where studios still put time into things like quality control, knew they had to try get as many bugs out of games because they could not just spend the next year patching and fixing things. Most of all I miss the excitement of seeing new games because it never used to be an onslaught, these days there’s gaming new every single day.

    Not to say that modern games are shyte, I have thoroughly enjoyed titles like The Witcher Wild hunt, DOOM, Rise of Tomb raider, and all its flaws aside I did enjoy FF15.

    Guess the industry just feels worn thin to me these days.

  • Dutch Matrix

    Only thing I miss of the old days is well, you know? When we all went whoa when we saw something magical, like Scorpion toasting Sub Zero or Lara Croft’s pyramids that was so huge she could explore them for weeks on end!
    Now we are all like oh no that character is too sexy and might give me an erection and let’s tone down the violence and well, take the fun and escapism that made video games great and shove it down the toilet
    .

  • For the Emperor!

    What I miss is games supporting LAN and not requiring internet connections. I fondly remember playing Cod4, Unreal Tournament and Warcraft 3 with my friends mostly where we did not have internet access. No I play alone because most of my friends still do not have stable enough internet 🙁

    • Matthew Holliday

      Going to Organised Chaos at the old Theo Marais park in Cape Town, 200 like minded people, crammed into a hall with their PCs and no egos or elitist attitudes.

      The 14 year olds would rock up with their rigs, 12″ CRTs and all, have no idea how to connect to a network and all the older guys would help with smiles on their faces and the 14 year old would say “thankyou” instead of mentioning how he met their mothers the night befor.
      Massive introverts shouting at and across the hall when something exciting happens, something they would never do in “regular” society.

      Good stuff.

      • Magoo

        Man I already got tears in my eyes from some of these other comments then you had to go and spell it out for us.

      • I was clan leader of the GAS clan, one of the original OC clans, and eventually became an OC admin. Started when it was just 50 people, back in 2001 and didn’t miss a single monthly LAN for 5 years. Some of the best gaming memories of my entire life.

        • Matthew Holliday

          I started going in 2005, I think, maybe 2004, back when it was at about 180ish people. I was there for most of them till 2007, was a regular on the forum aswell.
          I was never really into the whole clan scene, My clan was mostly just my local friend group, but I remember a few of the old ones. Xtc, Dala etc. GAS sounds familiar, but thats about it.

          I stopped going when they moved to the veledrome, for all the people it could accomodate, it was no Theo Marais.

          Man, old OC was fun.

          • Yeah, velodrome just wasn’t the same. And holy freezing balls it was cold there in winter!

          • Matthew Holliday

            About as cold as Theo Marais was hot during the summer, haha.

      • As far as I know OC was the Cape Town LAN, and up north we went to MPLD on the first weekend of every month.

        • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

          OMG – MPLD, so many good memories xD

  • Hammersteyn

    I miss buying a game, playing it and moving on. Now there’s shark cards, loot boxes, DLC. I miss the days when EA was still one of the good guys. Now they’re milking us dry. Millennials have no idea how it was back in the day. You bought a game, played it, completed it and moved on.

    Remember Tekken? There were no DLC characters you had to pay extra for, you unlocked them by playing the game. That’s crazy right? you unlocked additional content the longer you played the game, for free.

    I saw the store page for FF15 which I just started playing. There’s microtransactions for the masamune sword. Apparently it’s one of the best weapons in the game. you can buy it for R8.00. Who remembers FF10? The grind to get all the celestial weapons. I did that, I want through all that and I did it. It took every ounce of gaming skill I had and it felt so cool to accomplish that.

    Metal Gear Solid 3. There was a camo suit you could unlock if you shot all the green frogs throughout the game. I did that as well. The game was way too easy once you equipped it on the next play through. But these days I bet they’d sell it because people will buy it.

    I’m yelling at clouds I know, but that article did ask what I miss about gaming and I’m still clinging to what I miss. Thank f**k for indie games. Bought Bastion and Aero Fighters 2 last night for less than R200.

    • The Final Fantasy X grind was so much fun. I need to finish up the HD version again.

    • Hammersteyn

      Had to edit a bit, apologies.

      • I was able to read. I have super powers that allow me to read spelling mistakes and still understand them without having to point it out to the poster.

        • Hammersteyn

          Rfol!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      And you bought the game at a shop. That you walked to. 5 miles in the snow.

      • Hammersteyn

        I’d shovel 5 miles of snow for Tekken 5. (It had Tekken 1,2 and 3 included for free)

      • MonsterCheddar

        XD

      • Matthew Holliday

        Up hill, while the snow was still falling, in shoes that you could see your toes through.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          You had shoes?

          • MonsterCheddar

            LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

          • Matthew Holliday

            I was a privelaged child, my father was allowed to bring coal home from the mines, so we had fire in the evenings and my shoes were even mostly dry by the next morning.

          • Sageville

            LUXURY!

  • Hammersteyn

    This just in from @Admiral_Chief:disqus. Things he misses from the good old days of gaming :
    Lazygamer
    Those Big Boxes games used to come in
    Cheap full games
    Zero DLC

    Oof seems like the big AAA publishers just can’t catch a break.

  • Milesh Bhana

    happy with the way things are now, games are affordable (if you wait), free game services (PSN+, Games with Gold, EA Access) give you a nice incentive for subscribing to networks.

    The things i miss are as a result of my lifestyle changing.

    The early days of 360, where I could regular meet my friends to play GoW, COD4, Forza, even freakin Table Tennis. If the game had MP, we played it, even for a little bit.

    MP is bigger than ever now, but I just haven’t been able to join those of my crew who are still playing (games like Destiny and Overwatch).

    We all got old, married and kids and while most of that group still plays games, it’s pretty much impossible to get together.

    I miss the gatherings around the console too. (same reasons as MP), where it was a few mates jamming some DOA4, and yes, the plastic instument craze. GH3, Rock Band, “shredding”, drumming and singing badly.

    Been gaming since the NES *cough*Golden China*cough* days, but I can honestly say that the 360 era was my favourite period of gaming.

  • Magoo

    I miss how politically correct games weren’t trying to be.

    And LANing. I miss our 16-man LANs where internet was not required.

    • Got to agree with this one. I know as a society we need to keep getting better but some of the older stuff I did find hilarious.

      We’d never get a proper Leisure Suite Larry game again and that was amazing… also Gals Panic. Used to play that in the arcade with my wife to be and now it’s seen as awful

  • Matthew Holliday

    I miss the excitement, opening up a new game, not having read reviews or followed the trailers and the entire developement process and having a damn good time playing it.
    Not having to sit for days deciding whether or not it was worth buying.

    Going into games without having expectations, not analyzing the writing or plot or gameplay.
    Not being able to predict the ending, or being able to see the plot twist coming.
    Not relying on old gaming tropes and conventions because there werent really any yet.

    I miss not having to listening to all the marketing BS, developers and PR people telling us how this decidedly average game is going to change the way we play games, showing us the game with selective footage.

    I miss the innocence involved in experiencing games for the first time.

  • Pieter Kruger

    Not much tbh. Games these days are great, we’re spoiled for choice but poeple still bitching! Bitching about not enough games, not good enough games, not long enough games, not enough exclusives, not enough power, not enough options, the competition, the lack of competition etc. It’s crazy, but we still find something to bitch and cry about instead of just playing and enjoying some of the 1000’s of games available!

    • MonsterCheddar

      Yep. What did people bitch about 10 years ago? There is always something people will piss and moan about.

      #alwayssomething

      • Matthew Holliday

        10 years ago, the internet didnt exclusively feel like a platform for people to voice their opinions.
        Actually, 10 years ago maybe, but 15, no.

  • MonsterCheddar

    *Sniffs*

    I miss a certain website called Lazygamer that never got scooped by SA Gamer. They had this rude fucker for an Editor that refuses FB invites.

    He was such a dick, but I miss that old fucker. I miss the moistness.

    With his two Porras and Batman wannabe weirdo he ruled the gaming press…….

    @OddSockZA:disqus 😀

    • VampyreSquirrel

      Fast tracking to blocked on FB by Geoff

      • MonsterCheddar

        He will accept my awesomeness one of these days. For now….I lurk.

      • Blocked on disqus too, he carries on this way.

        • MonsterCheddar

          So salty, geez.

  • I miss not having to google why my game is crashing and just blow on it.

  • Back in my day we had to walk 15 miles to the nearest LAN, in winter!. With heavy computers on our backs 6am in the morning!

    • Matthew Holliday

      Biceps forged by carrying 10-17″ CRT monitors from car to hall.

      • And those bastards are front heavy, they flop out of your hands very easily.

        • MonsterCheddar

          And no 4K. Shit.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Yeah, they probably weighed closer to 10k.

          • They had a degauss button that scarred you shitless.

      • I was that guy who carried a 21″ CRT to LANs every couple of weeks. And I wonder why I have lower back problems now.

        • Matthew Holliday

          Not sure whether to envy you, or pity you.

          Although I know I dont envy the person sitting next to you or in front of you, the space that thing must have taken up!
          And your eyes must have been bleeding by the end of the night, CRT refresh rates were evil.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Check this lying millennial. Walking around playing Pokemon Go on your phone isn’t the same thing.

      • At least I walk you old fart!

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          In your plastic orthopedic shoes.

          • You mean my sexy crocs?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Potato potato

      • MonsterCheddar

        HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    • HairyEwok

      15 Miles…. are you Murican?

      • No. I wanted to sound dramatic like old people in movies…or Trevor.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          DRAMAAAAAAAAAA

  • konfab

    Games with splitscreen and local LAN for multiplayer are probably the thing I miss the most.

    Online multiplayer is less personal and less social IMO

    • Matthew Holliday

      PC gamers going to their console pleb friends houses to play medal of honor split screen, getting wrecked using that foolish controller, but still having a whale of a time.

      • Magoo

        I did exactly this. Still had it in me to co-op Shoulin Monks from start to end in one straight binge.

  • MonsterCheddar

    I miss the time when XBox was king………

    Oh…..Wait….

  • Etienne Van Der Westhuizen

    I miss the large game boxes with proper Game manuals that read like stories!

  • HairyEwok

    Proper full sized games that aren’t cut into tiny little DLC pieces.

  • Francois Knoetze

    Couch co-op and the reason to still use a 2nd controller.
    full games and no DLC rubbish(like a lot of people said)
    Not being forced to be online with everything
    more time to play games.
    no subscription rubbish
    normal edition games
    a time where graphics and resolution didnt really matter and we all just played games
    not so much an over saturated games selection to choose from
    having money to buy games

  • Sageville

    There are just too many game releases now.

    Back then I could dedicate time and leisurely enjoy a game, now it seems like a rush to finish a game before everyone leaves and onto the next new game. *(Submits backlog of 80% finished games as proof).

    I also miss that new game with a totally unseen game mechanic that wows you, today most games are reusing game mechanics that were established long ago, very few new original ideas.

    Technically, I don’t miss the pixelation, 8-bit sound, CGA/EGA graphics or 48k internet speeds…

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    Single Player Focus vs Multiplayer Focus.

    Back in the day, most games, let alone players didn’t have much need for multiplayer or Internet Access.

    For example, when Warcraft 3 came out, I played the campaign and it was incredible!!!
    Internet back then was at best 56K modem for your average household, so the multiplayer side was not even touched.

    Now a days, games are coming out and the Single Player isn’t even touched – straight into Multiplayer you go – with players having either ADSL or Fibre.

    So I miss “Gaming” vs “Online Gaming”, which is the norm lately.

  • Avithar

    everything was free… no DLC

  • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

    I miss when gaming websites and magazines used to defend gamers, their readerbase and the hobby of gaming, instead of virtue signalling to/for ideologies, idealogues and media pundits.

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