I’ve been playing video games virtually my entire life. I grew up during the Nintendo era, and as far back as I can remember, all those bright lights and cool sounds have caught my attention more than most anything else. Elementary, Middle, and High School years were spent with much of my free time in front of a TV with a controller in my hands. Yes, I went outside to spend time with friends, and had a blast playing backyard sports and other such activities, but gaming was a good fallback to keep me happy and entertained. Even today, as one of my many ways to relax, I’ll fire up some kind of game.
The thing is, back when I was younger, I tried to stay current with what games I was playing. I would play what was more recent at the time, at least, as best I could get new hardware and software. Had to keep up, right?
Then came 2005. That’s when the XboX 360 came along, and I began to stop caring. Yes, I was excited for the new hardware, and the next gaming generation, but not only was I still very happy with my PS2, but nothing about the new systems impressed me. The games weren’t anything I actually wanted. By this time I had also developed an interest in PC gaming, but even then, it was only for specific types of games; nothing really that was offered on the Xbox 360, or if it was, to me, would be better on PC than on a traditional console.
Oh, and while we are near the topic, I do not want to get into online multi-player. The less I rant about that, the less chance of a hear attack I have.
Then came the Wii, and the Playstation 3. The PS3, while in my eyes a better system with slightly more traditional gaming ethos behind it, still never managed to impress me. The Wii itself was plauged by nothing more than gimicky motion control games for it’s first two years of life. In fact, he first game I cared about on it was “Super Smash Bros. Brawl”, a 2008 release that allowed you to use the Nintendo Gamecube controller, instead of the normal Wii controllers. It was actually fun to play, which could not be said of most software for that system, sadly.
While I can’t say there haven’t been games that kept my interest, and that I haven’t played anything recent, I honestly have only maybe purchased a handful of “modern” games, virtually all of these being PC titles, both indie, low budget, or homebrew games, and mainstream, high production value epics.
A majority of my gaming budget, however, has gone into more vintage wares.
It’s not uncommon for people to enjoy things they grew up with, so of course I would enjoy playing Sonic the Hedgehog, or Super Mario Bros. even today. They are what I loved as a child, and the games are always fun to play. Someone like me, however, gets interested in what he didn’t get to experience. I got wondering what older game systems were like, and also, what games were like on systems I didn’t get to own, but were current in my youth.
So, a few years ago, I started looking on Ebay, and at local game shops, for old game systems of all kinds. Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, Intellivision, an all other common enough but before my time classic game systems were targets for my collecting interests. Granted, I could just as easily download software to play the games on my PC, owning the real thing was the actual goal: it was a chance to have the experience of the actual hardware, on a real TV. It just seemed awesome to me.
Of course, at the same time, I learned more about the retro game community, and about computer technology of the time, as that falls hand in hand with the game console technology and designs of a given period. The community members themselves are awesome, and some are well known across the internet for their video works.
Yes, it may seem weird to play video games that are older than me, on the actual hardware, when a simple emulator can do the job just as well, and for virtually no cost. Again, though, it’s about experiencing something different: getting to enjoy gaming, something I already love, and also experience it’s history firsthand.
Think about it: if most new games are boring to me, why not play the classics? Why not play them the most traditional way possible? For me, that’s pretty fun! A nice hobby, a good community, what more could a gamer want?
I don’t know about you, but to me, Yar’s Revenge sure beats the idea of a 12 year old trying to insult me on Call of Duty.