Hello again all, another Monday musing for you, why because I spoil you? Whats wrong with that? being spoiled is a good thing…… or is it?
Lately I’ve been replaying some very retro titles, some incredibly old and some that are just dear to my heart, the prime examples being games like Legend of Zelda, Megaman 2/3/4 (NES), Super Mario World (SNES), Grim Fandango (PC/PS4), Yoshi’s Story (N64) as well as a mixture of other titles, whilst still squeezing some time in to paint up my Templars (Storm Talon is finally complete, pictures to be posted soon.).
What does this have to do with being spoiled I hear you ask? Well lets think about those old titles and any others you can think of, and when you first played them. Now I remember being a mere child when I first picked up Super Mario World. It was a huge deal at the time, everything was exciting and new, I had no basis for comparison beyond the older Mario titles which were so unlike this new game. I remember the excitement of rushing home from school to rot my brains out playing it. There was so much that I loved about that game then and even now, it was charming, beautifully coloured, there were loads of new and foreign gameplay elements and even the iconic entry of Yoshi to the mainstream, I remember the joy of breaking open one of the very first blocks in the game and encountering this hilarious little Dino buddy which would go on to do so much more. If you’d asked me then and if you ask me now how I feel about this game the answers would probably match fairly well.
Fast forward a few years, video games in conjunction with technology evolved quickly, it had to in some instances to survive and succeed, while there is nothing wrong with that it has caused some problems, but thats for another day.
Now as I said around the time Super Mario World was released we had little choice in the games we could pick up and even less idea of how good a game was until we’d paid for it, and not only that if a game was particularly difficult or asked something of us we weren’t capable of (Looking at you Mike Tyson…… (Punchout Joke)) you were simply stuck, at best you could ask a friend or relative and hope that they could beat it for you but inevitably you were stuck, there was no internet to ask, no wiki’s, no game faqs. Now look at today, gaming is an hugely successful industry on its own, let alone the billions that are transferred everyday amongst the news, reviews, lets players and so on.
We are spoiled for choice and I feel that in turn makes us harsher critics, back in the day and even now with my nostalgia glasses on, I could tell you very little about what was bad about Super Mario World….. there just wasn’t anything but then I had little basis for comparison and again at the time little choice but to make the best of it. Yet look at any title released in the past few months or even years and I could tell you everything about what I like/disliked about it, what worked well and what didn’t, even down to how broken some game mechanics and workings are and it becomes easier to dismiss some titles or simply brand them as bad simply because of the studio they came from. (See Sonic Boom post about this joke :P)
I sometimes think that the huge markets and industry gaming now contains in some ways spoils us, we spend more time discussing whats bad about a game and even less time experiencing it. Some even get to that dejected state of simply FAQ-ing their way through games instead of ‘going old-school’ and simply working it out through trial and error. We have become impatient and even reluctant to just enjoy a game for what it is, good or bad. I myself found myself screen-capping password screens for Megaman with my phones camera, sharing this concept with my younger self would have blown my mind in an almost terminator-esque plot line.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about modern gaming and the industry as a whole, I just feel that we as players sometimes become so overwhelmed with the mind bending volume of games, that we simply ‘process’ them now and don’t really experience them. Instead of taking that small leap of trying new things or taking a chance that there are those joyous little secrets hidden in games that we all grew up with, we simply finish them and move on, the concept of re-playing a game to some people seems ridiculous, they would rather trade it in and pick up their next title of choice with the leftover cash. This for me is where it gets saddest of all, how disposable modern games have become. We use them once and move on so quickly, again if you’d told the younger me that after I’d played Megaman once… I’d probably never play it again, I’d have kicked you at crotch height and hid under my bed. It just wouldn’t have registered especially considering the lack of other games out there. I think thats what made finding everything about a game out so interesting, you had the time and opportunity, and so little seemed like a huge stretch back then.
So whats the point you ask? it is simply this:
Experience more by experiencing less.
The next time you pick up a title, approach it like you would have as a child, treat it like the only thing that matters, there are no other titles in the wings and try to experience every nook and cranny you can, fair enough it may take longer and in the long run you’ll play less games (experience less for those who didn’t get it.) but fundamentally you’ll be happier and at the end of the day when you jump on the internet to give your reviews or opinions, at least you’ll know you’ve done it right.
Until next Monday…. Spoil yourselves in a good way!