UNITED STATES─There are people out there who are gamers and there are people out there who are really gamers. During my younger years, I was without a doubt a gamer, as an adult not so much. It’s impossible with my crazy work schedule and personal life. If there was any solace that I obtained it comes directly from classic gaming, and when I talk about classic gaming I mean old school people. I’m talking about the ones where you have that joystick that had only A and B or 4 buttons at most in addition to the keypad.
Classic gaming to me is way more difficult than the games that are out today. I’m told by my nephews and younger siblings that I need to get caught up with the times. However, old school gaming is difficult. Why? It really requires you to think, strategize and there were games you played where there was no pause or save button. Either you beat the game all the way thru or you stop playing when you get tired. After all, most any retro game console back then lacked the ease and convenience of a “save game” feature. I can vividly remember leaving my NES on all day while I was at school, clinging to the obscure hope that my mother didn’t trip on the power cord and ultimately cause all my progress to be lost.
You feel more immersed in the game, you become the character and you’re thinking I need to make the appropriate decision or move to ensure I get to the next level or that you ‘see’ what the big boss is doing making your opportunity to defeat them that much easier. I mean if I were to give a NES Classic to these kids they would have a ton of trouble defeating one of the greatest videogames of all time in the 1985 classic Super Mario Bros. Yeah, people think this game is easy, but it is hard as hell. The same with The Legend of Zelda 1986, this game is epic, and can you imagine defeating this game back in the 80s, without a map or a strategy guide?
Trust me I do, because I played that game and defeated it at a time where the internet was not available and you couldn’t just look up and figure out how to move from one level to the next, how to find all the secrets and trust me there are TONS of hidden goodies throughout this game that on paper looks easy, but once you become immersed into the chaos it is way more difficult than you think. I have been recently challenging myself playing old school NES games because if my memory serves me correctly the games on this system were difficult, mind-boggling and frustrating at times.
Can you imagine playing a game for hours, and I mean hours trying to figure out how to solve a puzzle or figuring out what needs to be done to get to the next level with no clue whatsoever what needs to be done? That is not fun as a 6, 7 or 8 year old. Yes, I was that good at gaming at such an early age. I don’t know how to explain it, but I had an intuition that made it easy for me to navigate myself through an adventure or role-playing game without a map or strategy. Call it instinct, but it has always worked in my favor when it comes to gaming, especially old school gaming. It sharpens the mind; it helps your spatial and reasoning skills and abilities. Time escapes you in a way that can be hard to explain with words. What do I mean by that? As a kid something that seemed like hours or a half of a day to complete, you can now complete in 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Old school gaming is coming back in a time when I think we need it now more than ever. The gaming we have now is great when it comes to visual spectacle and the climate of gaming where bigger is better. However, the implementation of what made gaming so fun when it first burst on the screen in the early 80s is that it was simple, that simplicity no longer exists to me. The games are a bit over-the-top, lack story, lack narrative, lack of strategy and just plain excitement people.