Recently I've noticed a common sentiment among retro gamers, regarding their children. On more than one forum I've seen posts from members who basically say they won't allow their children to play current generation consoles; they will only be able to play the retro games in their dads' collections. I can see what these guys are saying - retro games are a different kettle of fish to games being made today. Older games are less forgiving, with fewer lives and continues, no tutorials and higher difficulty levels. Today's games are all beatable, if you have the patience. However, all the patience in the world wouldn't get you to the Pac Man kill screen without some serious skills gained from some serious practice.
Current games don't let you die. There's always another attempt available if you fail. And there's always a Youtube playthrough or a detailed walkthrough to give away every secret. Sure cheats have always been around, but back in the day you had to work for them - either by finding the right magazine, or buying an Action Replay cartridge. The Internet has made all of this once sacred information freely available to all. The cynic in me would go on to rant about modern games being released before all the bugs are fixed, and DLC being finished and ready on release day, but the main point here is that retro game fanatics believe that newer games just don't teach skills like the old ones do. And in that respect, I agree.
I'm just not sure I agree with forcing your kids to play retro games. For one, they might not be that into games, so enforced fun isn't going to go down well. And if they are into games, are they going to want to play old ones when all their friends are playing the latest games on the current generation of consoles?
When I was young I was all about the latest systems: the NES and Master System were popular, as were the Sinclair Spectrum, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and Amiga 500, and PC games. My first console was a Gameboy, and I saved my pocket money for god-knows-how-many weeks to buy one brand new. It was the happiest day of my life and I played it every day without fail, for some years. I can't imagine being told by my Dad that I wouldn't be allowed to buy a Gameboy - I was to be educated in real games, ATARI 2600 GAMES, INTELLIVISION GAMES, VIC-20 GAMES! I would have been so gutted! While those systems had games that were good for their time, I remember playing some of them in the late 80's and thinking they sucked. The graphics and sound were too basic, the controllers were unwieldy, and they basically weren't cool. I would have been laughed at by my friends if they were all discussing Warp Zones they'd found in Super Mario Bros 3 and all I could contribute were my thoughts on Pac Man or Donkey Kong. I'm not saying Pac Man or Donkey Kong are bad games (they're great games), but kids get excited about the latest technology and games.
I remember immediately losing interest in the NES as soon as Super Nintendo was released. Better graphics and sound, bigger, more complex games... to me the NES was rendered immediately obsolete. Of course, nostalgia has caused the older systems to become desirable again, but it takes time and reflection to get to this point.
So while I've personally resisted the current generation of consoles so far, I know it's not that easy for children. Do you want to deny your kid the chance to have his/her own generation of retro games? You've got yours, let them have theirs!
My games room has had a a good tidying up and is now fit for purpose. Check it out...
No more boxes means I can now easily access all my consoles! The CRT on the right is specifically for systems with lightgun games (as lightguns don't work on flatscreen TV's). So under the CRT I have my NES, Saturn, PS2 and Dreamcast. I tidied up the guns by putting hooks on the bedframe and hanging them there like a gun rack.
Boxes of beads can be seen at the bottom of the photo on the right. There isn't anywhere else to store them, as I need them to hand in order to make my creations.
All that's missing is this...
I saw this pic on Tumblr and it pretty much summed up my feelings about Amiibos. While I've been picking up the odd one if I happen to see it, I'm certainly not attempting to collect them all, like some poor fools out there. I think Nintendo weren't sure if they'd be popular to start with, so didn't make as many of the characters they deemed less popular. This immediately made them rare and suddenly the most popular.
Plenty of the characters have simply been impossible to buy, at reasonable prices at least. I was hoping to just get hold of a few characters for my display cabinet, but even the few I would like have proven difficult to get. Pac-Man sold out immediately, and I'm sure the same will happen with Duck Hunt Dog & Duck and Dr Mario. Preordering seems to be the only way to get them, but even then you've got to be there ready to preorder as soon as the option is available. Luckily I managed to get MegaMan and Sonic, and have preordered a Zero Suit Samus.
I refuse to pay through the nose for Rosalina or Little Mac though! At the end of the day, they're just little figurines, and life will go on if I can't get hold of all the ones I want!
You may have noticed that every now and then I post a pic or two from my games room. This room is my haven, my Fortress of Solitude, and has come in especially handy while recovering from back surgery. The beauty of it is the fold out bed. It folds out in front of the many retro games consoles. For the last week I have spent many hours exploring Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker - a game that I once started over a decade ago and ended up giving up on. Nothing to do with the game, I just have a fun habit of starting epic games and not finishing them.
But this post is about my games room, not The Wind Waker (although I'm strangely proud of how far I've gotten this time). I love my man cave, but it needs work. Space is limited, and the constant challenge is utilising it efficiently. Above the consoles stands a loft bed, giving potential for 4 people to sleep in the room.
I have so much stuff for the walls, but they are full to the max with awesomeness already.
Some of my bead artwork is dotted around the walls, but a lot of it sits in boxes, taking up space in front of some of the consoles. My boxes of beads take up some room too, with the sorted colours in small boxes, and the spare colours in other cardboard boxes. Again, all taking up valuable space in my chillout zone.
My two glass display cabinets house many of my favourite collectibles. You'll see statues and models from Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Batman and Ninja Turtles, to name but a few. The best thing about these cabinets? No dusting! And they provide a fairly efficient use of space to display my stuff. They're also pretty cheap in IKEA!
Currently they're situated in pretty much the only place they can go in this room - the corner. I have a full shelf unit of DVDs on another wall - maybe if I managed to get rid of these I could better display my treasures? Possibly... sounds like a lot of work though, and we still watch some of those DVDs. I know, we're old.
And to the side of the loft bed, we have more artwork looking for a home. The Marvel covers canvas was a Christmas present that I have no space for currently. Add to this the A3 print of Sega Megadrive blueprints that came with my Kickstarter Megadrive book, and the signed poster for the Delorean restoration documentary that I'll be getting soon, and the framed Tron arcade marquee print that's sat around waiting for a home, and you start to see how much I desire more wall space! If only the wife would let me decorate the whole house with my awesome stuff...
And of course there's the ever-growing pile of Retro Gamer magazines. Even if I got binders for them, I have no idea where they'd go. I kind of like having them to hand to dip into every now and then, so I don't want to dump them in the loft.
So what's the answer? Get a new house would be the long term goal. But for now I'm going to look into renting a storage unit to store my artwork between shows and markets. This would free up some space immediately and make the room a little less cluttered. It would also restore access to half of my consoles. Now that they're hard to get at, I really want to play them of course! And with more weeks off work to come, what better time to sort it out!
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.