Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. It’s a force that evoke warm feelings, fondness and a lust to return to the way that things used to be. You can see this attitude reflected plenty when you look at the various eras of video games. From the classic age of Pong and Pac-Man to the retro era of eternal winners in the form of Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man and Mortal Kombat, comparing video game timelines result in startling differences rising up.
You might be shaking your fist right now, moaning that back in your day, there was no DLC. There were no season passes, games that needed hourly patches and services being delivered piecemeal to you on a weekly basis while you paid monthly for the privilege to play those games. No sir, you’d pop a cart into a machine, switch your console on, switch it off, take the cart back out, blow the dust off of it and then you’d play a game. Simple as that. No long-ass loading screens, just simple plugin and play gameplay. That’s how games of that age were the best.
I’m of the opinion that games coming from the NES, SNES and Genesis era were good, but were more often than not buried in an avalanche of crap. For every Super Mario, there was Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Fester’s Quest and Shaq Fu. You think the mobile space is awful now with cheap movie tie-in games that are nothing more than reskinned Flappy Bird clones? You don’t know misery until you’ve played Jaws, Last Action Hero or any number of godawful Alien games that popped up on various systems.
That’s the thing about the older days of gaming: Consoles were a dumping ground for digital excrement, as quality control was nowhere to be found and games were slapped together in haphazard style in an attempt to rake in the big boy cash that system-sellers like Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario were generating.
Maybe that’s the key takeaway here, as proper honest memories of that era are far more painful to me than they are enjoyable. Every time I rented a game I was met with disappointment, the buzz lasted mere minutes and the foul memories lingered forever. That’s not to say that there aren’t tsunamis of crap present in today’s market (Just look at the Nintendo Switch marketplace for examples of shovelware), but at least today we’re armed with the tools to make more informed decisions.
Maybe it’s just me, but what do you think? Was the retro era of gaming completely overrated and a steaming pile of crap?
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: July 12, 2019