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Feature Friday: Is the Golden Age of Gaming Over or Just Beginning?

Side note: Please understand that the following article is wholly just a matter of one man’s opinion.

I have played a large number of games over the course of my life, from the Atari 5200 all the way to the Xbox One and PS4. Over this time, I have noticed several changes in graphics (which IS to be expected, but I’ll elaborate on that soon), music (again, to be expected), storytelling, and the overall feel of games. Over the following paragraphs I will express my thoughts on the situation of the gaming industry and it’s changes, starting with the graphics.

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For my example on graphics, we will compare modern systems (like the ps3, ps4, Xbox One, etc.) against the graphics of the Super Nintendo, because I personally love the styles of Super Nintendo games. First, look at the graphics of LoZ: A Link To The Past now, look at the graphics of Battlefield 4.

Obviously Battlefield 4 is much, much more advanced, but which one fills you with a bigger sense of adventure? It seems to me that the more advanced games get, the less stylish they look and thus makes them more run-of-the-mill. Another point is that back in the time of the SNES, games had less graphical capability, thus forcing game creators to be able to make something to engage the player that didn’t have to do with graphics; which leads into the next section: storytelling. Point: Retro

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Games nowadays create fantastic stories through dialogue, in-game writings (such as the books in Skyrim), and environments (you thought I would only defend retro games, joke’s on you). Try as they might, most game developers for older systems (I say most, because there were some dang good old game developers), would fail at being able to create a whole and amazing story comparable to modern games (such as Skyrim, or Mass Effect). However, the gaming pioneers that did manage to get the storytelling formula right, they did masterfully. Point: Modern

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One very important point to also make is the musical style of games. Music in games has changed vastly over the course of gaming history. Music has always contributed to the overall feel of a game, whether it was bad or good.

Retro nor modern games have better music than one another and, as much as I love 16-bit music, I love modern gaming music just as much. So I can’t pick a favorite for this category this time. Point: Tie

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Now, the last, and most important, category is overall feel (I will be using many games for this example). For me, nothing will ever match the feeling of plugging in Super Mario Brothers on my NES for the first time, nor will I forget the first time I popped in Assassin’s Creed 4 on my PS4.

Every time I plug in a game for the first time, be it retro or modern, a sense of adventure always rushes forth, taking me to new places to see, worlds to save, and stories to take part in. I’ve never seen why someone had to be solely dedicated to retro games or solely dedicated to modern games, because with each new game (yes, even Call of Duty and every other modern shooter) comes new experiences to take place in. Point: Tie

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To sum up my thoughts, I’ll just say that good game is a good game; whether it’s been around for 50 years or 2 weeks. Super Mario Brothers was just as good then as it is now, and while some games may fade into obscurity * cough*Killzone: Shadow Fall*cough* all games will be remembered by someone, whether it be retro, or state of the art.

We are gamers. We don’t limit ourselves to one loyalty (at least, not the true ones), we meet every game head-on with a gleam in our eyes and child-like wonder in our hearts. So get out there, and play a game, old or new, good or bad, just get out there and game!

Overall: Tie

About Jake Callier

Five parts actual review, 2 parts sarcasm, 2 parts bad puns, and one part self loathing = one of my game reviews.

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7 comments

  1. Christopher Deleanides

    I think we had a second renaissance in the 6th gen, with the breakthroughs that were made during the time. That being said, I do feel like we’ve hit a decline. Quality does seem to be somewhat stifled by development costs as well as the nature of the industry today. I predict that at some point publishers will probably scale back and focus more on the quality of gameplay, rather than pumping most of their revenue into marketing and graphical improvement. The sales just never seem to meet the costs, it’s becoming that much more obvious as time goes by.

    Everything goes in cycles, so we should probably expect to see another golden age just as we did another decline (the first and biggest being the crash of 1983).

  2. I hope you’re right about a new golden age Chris, and I totally agree with you about the costs starting to outweigh the end product. How many copies did Tomb Raider sell and it was still considered a failure? Such a weird world.

  3. I like to think of the Golden Age of gaming being the NES/SNES/Genesis eras with the PSOne years being the Silver Age, to put it into more comic booky terms.

    That said, the Xbox 360 got me way more into games again after I had almost fallen out of the hobby completely in the OG Xbox/PS2 generation. I don’t know, maybe the last generation was my own little Bronze Age.

    And software sales might be down, but both new consoles are selling really well, so here’s to hoping that the new-gen is going to be something special! Fantastic article by the way Jake, great read and tons of fun!

  4. Christopher Deleanides

    I hope so too, because what we have now is less than satisfactory, to say the least. It’s bizarre isn’t it? Even when something sells well into the millions, it “bombs”. This even extends to consoles to a degree. When the SNES sold over 40 million, it was considered a great success. In this day and age, that would be deemed a “failure”. Of course, that may also attribute to how much the industry has grown, but it seems somewhat perverse if you ask me.

  5. Actually, I think you’re right on both counts, which is really pretty odd too since it’s both good and bad.

  6. Christopher Deleanides

    The 64/32 bit era was definitely in that awkward transitional period, what with the advent of streamlined 3D gaming. Video games took a somewhat strange turn, with more collectathons, and some rather odd experimental video games. Still, some very charming and creative works were birthed in that period. Personally, my second favorite era is the GCN one. There were quite a few games I enjoyed, and the ones I played aged pretty well. Truth be told, there was never a point where I almost stopped playing video games all together.

    Handhelds yes. There was a point where I almost stopped. 3DS reinvigorated my interest in them several times over..

  7. That’s basically me right now on the handheld front. I play my 3DS and that’s about it.

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