Monday, January 27, 2014

The Unknown Future - Retro Gaming

The youth are our future, and only through their memories can we live forever.

That thought actually occurred to me a long time ago, back when I was still part of youth. The reality of the situation is that how we are remembered is what we actually are. Our own memories vanish when we die, so the only way to live on is to remain in the minds of the next generation.

So what does this have to do with games? Much more than one would think. I have seen a huge growth in "retro game" fans, primarily because of Nintendo offering some of their greatest hits in the eShop. What makes me happy is to see kids not only playing these games, but actually discussing them intellectually. Offering opinions on the pros and cons of each 8-bit classic.

This says a lot about my generation of geek and nerd, how much we were unappreciated while I was still young made me ask if it was worth the effort quite often. We not only decided what classics were in fact classics, we also became the play testers and developers for games today. But the 8-bit era is a part of history now.

That's the fun part, many people who often don't like history classes in schools, those who sleep during the long boring lectures of wars fought in our past, perk up at the mention of Super Mario Brothers. But Super Mario Brothers is, in fact, history now, it is a part of our culture, and a household name. Everyone knows of the Mario Brothers, even those who have never played a video game. My generation has left it's mark on the world, and we will live forever because of it, but without us geeks and nerds that mark would not have existed.

So our immortality is now guaranteed, even if not by name, we are the pioneers of gaming, the ones to start a glorious new chapter in the world, a chapter where technology exceeds our greatest expectations.

That last part may sound anecdotal, or a sweeping generalization, but it's very true. As a whole, computer technology was very unpopular when I was young, when video games first made their appearance. People considered home computers to be fads, and businesses wrote everything down on paper still. Phones were bound to our homes, and images took forever just to view on a bulky and blurry monitor.

The first video games were simple LCD games with various sprites all burnt into the screen. Each sprite would turn on or off depending on what was happening, and the "world" of the game was small and static. But we loved them, they were fun, when sitting there with nothing to do, waiting for people to fill out long forms in pen. Seeing how popular these games were, enterprising companies began investing in creating more, better, and faster games.

Fast forward today, we have stereoscopic 3D now making an entrance into the world, gaining ground. Video game worlds are massive, mechanics more elaborate, more types of game play than we ever dreamed. All because my generation had geeks and nerds who enjoyed the classics. Even those prior to the 8-bit era are seeing attention now, my generation, the geeks and nerds at least, are etched in stone now. We will be forever remembered as pioneers into a new frontier that resulted in the internet as well, cellphones, portable computers, touch screens and interactive menu systems.

The one drawback is that I fear we have set the bar too high, this new generation will have to cause a drastic improvement in something in order to make their mark, or be lost like those before my generation. I know you young people can do it though, I have high hopes of seeing space travel or complete equality, perhaps a scientific golden age. But it is often the smallest thing that can cause the biggest mark in history.

I know, this was more of a rambling post. Right now I am waiting for Bravely Default to come out in my region, starting a new game would just confuse my tired old brain so I am holding off on gaming news. But yes, Bravely Default will be the central topic of my posts soon, I have it pre-ordered. So patience, I will get back to more gaming specific posts soon.

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