5 Things I Miss About Old-School Gaming

As the gaming world looks toward the future of home consoles, I'm considering the things I'll miss about its past.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Video games have evolved so much over the past three decades that it's almost unfathomable to consider how far we've come. There was a time not too long ago when jaws were dropping at the sight of Super Mario 64, but now we can control our games using nothing but the movement of our hands, we can hop into a server populated by thousands of other players and we can play games that were once considered to be technical powerhouses on our smartphones. Yes, all of that is amazing, but there are some things I miss about old-school gaming that I'll likely never see again. Here are 5 of those things.

1. Overpowered Characters


As the fighting game community rose, it became more and more necessary for developers to ensure that the characters featured in their games were balanced enough that they could be utilized in tournaments. But while balancing is integral to the longevity and success of a fighting game, I kind of miss playing as some big ol' overpowered beast, easily dispatching of my foes without having to worry about learning combos and the like. 

I understand that having a character that is nigh-on impossible to defeat in your fighting game somewhat breaks it, and with the advent of online gaming it's crucial that certain characters are nerfed with patches so that they're not overused, but there was always something so fulfilling/sadistic about playing a few rounds of Marvel vs Capcom 2 with a clueless friend, only to choose the indomitable team of Sentinel, Storm and Magneto. Alas, we'll never get those days back.

2. Silly First-Person Shooters


Aside from the Serious Sam HD re-releases and the recent reboot of Rise of the Triad, we don't see many FPS's these days that have their iron sights set firmly on fun. While I am in no way advocating another wave of Duke Nukem imitators (or the return of "The King" himself following the abysmal Duke Nukem Forever), I've missed the fast-paced, ludicrous action of series such as Unreal Tournament. There's definitely a place in the current gaming market for these types of games, and it seems that Titanfall is certainly leading us in that direction, albeit with a slightly more sensible makeover

3. The Future


The PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U aren't the almighty leap into the future that the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii were. The 360 and PS3 both offered remarkable graphics compared to their predecessors, and an emphasis on online play that would later result in single-player-only games becoming all but dead, while the Wii introduced us to motion-controlled gameplay that saw everyone from the ages of 6 to 76 being able to join in on the fun. While I love the Wii U and am excited for the PS4 and One, they simply don't inspire the same sense of awe, especially considering that PC gaming is already so far ahead of the pack in a swiftly increasing number of respects.

In a matter of a few years gaming went from 8-bit side-scrollers to 3D worlds, and has been moving in leaps more huge than any other entertainment medium. However, we're now at a point where these leaps have become progressively smaller, and while it's difficult to complain about technology becoming too good, I miss the days when the future seemed just out of our reach, rather than at our fingertips.

4. Pick-Up-and-Play Gameplay


Back in the late 80s/early 90s most games didn't even feature checkpoints, so it was essential that gameplay was so compelling that gamers would be willing to redo levels again and again after running out of lives. Nowadays many developers attempt to win us over by offering us more for our money, with big selling points in games typically being the amount of hours you can sink into them.

However, when I see a game advertised as having over 20 hours of gameplay, rather than thinking "Wow! That's a lot of bang for my buck!" I instead consider how bored I will become of that game by around its 8th hour. Very rarely in this current console generation has a game managed to keep hold of my attention throughout its entire duration, something which couldn't be said for the games in my SNES library.

5. The importance of magazines


Thanks to the internet we now get more reviews, news and previews of upcoming and new games than we ever have done, and while this is obviously a good thing, it's also led to the death of many gaming magazines, a staple of the childhoods of many gamers. 

Magazines were once the primary source of getting updates on the development of your most anticipated games, but now they're all but forgotten about. It's a shame because I have some great memories of reading the likes of GamesMaster and the like, but considering the ever-changing landscape of the industry, these magazines often become dated within the first week of their publication.