So I’ve read Nattyb’s post today about how he yearns for the days of NES and Atari, and it echoes a sentiment I hear a lot that “video games used to be more fun.” Even if I’m of a different generation, I can still think back and say the most fun I’ve had playing video games was as a child with Mortal Kombat on Genesis,Goldeneye 64 and so on.
But is this correct? I propose an alternate theory. Video games used to be more fun because…you were a kid, and back then, everything’s more fun.
Imagine trying to play with action figures now. You could feign punching and kicking for a minute or two, but soon it would feel boring or stupid. But remember doing that when you were a kid? You could have epic battles between superheroes and Ninja Turtles that would last hours, and you did this for YEARS.
The fact is, everything is cooler when you’re a kid, and that’s definitely true of video games. You didn’t have to worry about balancing them with work or a girlfriend, you could just play, and the activity was inherently more relaxing.
But the flipside of this today is that the culture has changed, now with online play, you have to worry about ranking up, so all your other Xbox Live friends think you’re cool, and also trash talking and being trash talked by total strangers who with their ignorance make any game M-rated, so I can see a counterargument there. Simpler can be better.
Though I do think Halo is inherently a “better” game than Pong. It just is. Ask any kid to play a modern title compared with something on Atari, and they will pick the former. Even if it’s their first experience with games, new titles are simple better by definition as the medium has evolved.
The clouds of nostalgia can often cloud our minds, and though we had fun with these systems as a kid , it doesn’t mean things can’t progress. The same is true of movies and TV shows. Try to go back and watch Ren and Stimpy or Rugrats. It’s pure idiocy, and adults back then were shaking their heads at us for watching it, just like we don’t understand our kids’ obsession with Spongebob. But it was cool to us because we were kids, and unfortunately for us, we’ve just grown up and are constantly reminded we’re not supposed to have as much fun anymore.