I spent way too many hours as a kid cursing programmers for developing too many levels of Zelda, screaming with joy once I finally knocked out Mike Tyson in Punch Out, feeling too proud of getting through levels of Sonic The Hedgehog in less than a minute, and memorizing every button mashing combination in Mortal Kombat only to hear the magic words FINISH HIM.
UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, B, A, START and all its variations used were a secret language conquering a magical world of wonder created by bits of code defined by exponents of 8.
It was mindless. It was fun. Your sense of accomplishment rode high after mastering levels of brain-numbing nonsense developed to challenge absolutely nothing that would take you far in life.
That last sentence is probably the only thing that still holds water about video games unless you’re one of those lucky few who…
- Became a video game developer/work for a video game company
- Manage to make a living in competitive video gaming tournaments (Yes that exists)
Today video games have become such an immersive experience so complicated and involved you need a crash course in computer programming to play some.
Or you need to be a kid again. I haven’t quite decided. I also don’t like to admit that I’m too old for something I used to enjoy as a kid. But in case you’re in the same boat here are 5 signs that video games may have passed you by.
When Two Joysticks Aren’t Better Than One
I can’t do it. Whoever thought I needed to control my character’s perspective as well as their direction was dead wrong! And all you lucky ambidextrous folk who have no trouble at all with first person shooters or how to use the hit stick feature in Madden just remember; in my day I could destroy you with the push of one button! Literally. There was only one button. Or two. Timing was everything and that’s all you needed back in the day! Now you don’t even know if you’re playing the game because…
When You Don’t Know If It’s A Game Or A Movie
Video game graphics have come along way from their 8-bit ancestors who moved around the TV screen like a geriatric on speed trying to stop themselves from tripping! Today they have just as much cinematic impact and appeal as feature films do.
But half the time I don’t even know if I’m supposed to be doing something or if the game is going through some elaborate exposition scene that completely captivates me (good) until it launches me right back into the game on some World War 2 battlefield where I immediately get shot and die (bad).
Of course every game that looks like a film gets the Hollywood treatment and becomes a film. Except most have the same problem book adaptations do. The 20 hours I spent in Imaginationland with that book or game is usually better than the 2 hour underdeveloped, underwhelming crapfest someone else imagined. Speaking of books…
When You Need A Book To Play The Game
There was a time when you played video games to avoid reading. Now you can’t play them without the strategy guide! Some even have their own book series to teach you how to control the damn thing! And don’t get me started on Minecraft! You want to feel stupid? Watch you’re 12-year-old nephew build a castle from scratch as he tries to explain how that software works.
You used to be able to figure out how to complete levels on your own. That was part of the fun. Now you need the strategy guide to tell you how exactly to get out.
Or you need it to tell you where that special tool or power is you didn’t know you needed and had no way of knowing you needed unless you bought the strategy guide that tells you so you can actually finish the game!
Thanks game company! Cause the game itself doesn’t cost enough I need to buy the companion book so I can actually play it. For the love of things holy just give me Tetris. I don’t even care if it’s on my phone. Which brings me too…
When Your Favorite Games From Your Youth Can Be Played On Your Phone
There was a time when blowing into a rectangular plastic case with a motherboard in it was normal and got the game to actually work. That my friends was high tech. But how old do you feel knowing what was high tech for you as a kid seems archaic and stupid to you now? We’ve been reduced to getting the same entertainment value out of simple flash animation games on our phones. Sure you can travel with your “entertainment system” now if you don’t want to talk to anybody or drain your battery. But sometimes immersing yourself in things that aren’t real can be dangerous. Of course now we have…
When People Call Trespassing, Reckless Endangerment and Death “Augmented Reality”
I missed the Pokémon thing by a few years. I’m so out of the loop I didn’t realize the “E” was supposed to have an accent mark over it until Word auto-corrected it for me.
Think long and hard about that, Microsoft Word auto-corrected the title Pokémon for me!
But I’ve been following the whole Pokémon Go craze because I find it fascinating. Not because I’m playing it mind you. Because I really just want to understand what goes through somebody’s mind when they walk into a total stranger’s backyard at night hoping to find Pikachu. I can’t imagine being addicted to a game so much that you’d risk…
- Robbery at gunpoint
- Assault by one of the millions of jerks in our world
- Falling off a cliff
- Getting shot at for trespassing on someone’s private property
- Crashing your car into something
- Getting hit by a car
- Finding a dead body
- Getting into a fight yourself, with other players
- Getting lost in the woods
- Illegally crossing the border into another country
All of which has happened to people paying more attention to their augmented reality then their actual one. Just because your augmented world is more colorful and cuter doesn’t mean the real world doesn’t exist. (Damn I sound old).
And Pokémon Go has its benefits. More gamers are exercising and socializing in person because of it. Awesome. Except video games were never, ever meant to do that. Maybe we should keep it that way.