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 name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.