“This game hasn’t aged well”

City Connection game

I was playing City Connection via Nintendo Switch Online, and it’s the thought that ran through my head. I didn’t like the thought, I like enjoying games for what they are. I mean sure, compared to more modern games City Connection doesn’t hold a candle, and even for it’s time it was never a best seller. However the continued comparison of retro titles to modern games is something that does bother me. Whether intentional or more subconscious like in my situation. I was playing a number of current gen AAA games then played a few Nintendo Switch NES online games and it was unfortunately a jarring experience. But it’s going to be jarring because the world of gaming is pretty massive in 2019, and an 8-bit platformer is a heck of alot different than Red Dead Redemption 2.

Hang On game

Hang On: I loved hang on as a kid, now there are other games I enjoy more but that doesn’t need to discount the enjoyment I had back then.

Just the phrase to me is simply unfortunate. To suggest things haven’t aged well in general is somewhat cruel to the history that ‘older things’ represent. Cars, books, furniture, appliances, movies etc, we are fortunate to have the modernity that we have now, but it could never have been if not for these earlier generations. Things don’t become less good because they are more old. In my opinion it’s a subconscious misconception, the need to have the latest and greatest. Things that are good in the 1980’s or 1990’s or even 5 years ago, are still just as good, the only difference being, well, we have things that are better than that now. Or more advanced, or whatever. Which is true, but that doesn’t mean the earlier thing is less good.

Bug! game

Bug!: I hear people say Sega Saturn games haven’t aged well.. I played Bug recently and enjoyed it!

Now I completely understand the interest and following of the latest and greatest things, I’m on that bandwagon like everyone else. However it should never be because what already exists isn’t good enough, and the new thing is so much better. Instead, because there’s something else that just was announced or is coming out soon, that sounds very interesting. In the former you are devaluing the past and praising the present/near future, in the latter you are appreciating the new interesting thing in and of itself.

Donkey Kong 64 game

Donkey Kong 64: I often hear this game these days referred to as a collect-a-thon, blocky, outdated, but received universal acclaim back in the day.

I think it’s too easy to let the present day be a comment on amazing works of art, pieces of history, great experiences of the past. It’s too easy to compare what exists now and suggest that things from the past aren’t worth as much because what exists now is so much better. I think it’s the same with video gaming as with anything else. Yearning for the latest and greatest thing is a very short lived wow moment followed by a never ending spiral of disappointment or anticipation for the next great thing. Why not instead relax and appreciate the amazing work that has already taken place. Pick up a game you enjoyed as a kid or even a game you enjoyed 5 years ago and give it another play through. Maybe go to a thrift store or pawnbroker and browse the used games for a game to play instead of always browsing for current gen games to play. People who love books will read books from any generation and appreciate them for what they are, for what they were at the time and what they are today. With games I think we can do the same.

References:

Fair Use: It is believed that the use of low-resolutions screenshot to visually identify the game in question constitutes fair use.

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