Recently, I’ve been following the Cinemaware kickstarter campaign for the remake of Rocket Ranger with some dismay. (It’s going poorly—surely there are more people out there who remember the classic 1988 game? Anyone?) Anyway, it got me thinking about classic gaming and how games have changed.
For one thing, they’re easier. Yeah, yeah, some are still pretty hard (Ninja Gaiden Sigma, anyone?), but most are challenging in different ways. I mean, what modern games don’t, for instance, ever allow you to save the game? And yet once upon a time, it was play until you had no more extra lives (or, you know, it was bedtime ;-)), then start over from the beginning the next day. Which you got to know really, really, really well.
Man, that sucked, now that I think about it. Apparently, I was vastly more patient back then. Or, maybe it’s just that it was that or not play at all?
Anyway, perhaps the biggest change in gaming since way back when is in the storytelling. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a writer. (Right?) But storytelling back then was more understated. Or else, it was very obvious—go bash the evil villain. In any case, it was more up to you, the player, to fill in the blanks.
Some modern games still tease your imagination though, like the diaries in Bioshock, or the sheer world-building glory in Demon’s Souls. And, of course, some simply have great stories, like Heavy Rain. All in all, it’s a pretty good place to be at!
Action-wise though, I’m not sure I’m having more fun bashing mythological creatures in one of the God of War games than I did bashing aliens in Super Metroid–or nazis in Rocket Ranger.
Then again, that’s pretty damn funny, so I’m not complaining. 🙂