For those of you who grew up in the 80’s or 90’s, those days are pretty much considered “the good old days;” the “golden era of gaming” if you will. And it’s not hard to see why. Even as somebody who didn’t really get into the gaming scene until the mid 2000’s, it’s understandable why so many wish we could go back to a time where games were released after they were actually finished, no need to buy many DLC’s afterwards spiking our game price to over €100 and we didn’t have to worry about our consoles breaking every six months.
1. Old fashion Piracy
Piracy was a big part of the computer gaming scene in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, people would often choose the same machine as their friends so that they could copy games for free. Typically, it ranged all the way from people who did the odd bit of copying, right to people who would have a drawer full of copied software, never having bought anything in their lives. Software publishers fought back by implementing copy protection schemes on disks and tapes. These measures only prevented casual copying as groups formed to remove the protection or ‘crack’ the games, distributing these versions of the games via postal networks or online warez BBSes. Now insert disk 2 please….
2. Blowing on cartridges
If something with your spanking-new eighth generation console goes wrong then you’ll probably need a team of NASA trained scientists to fix things for you. That wasn’t the case in the late ’80s and early ’90s, however, when millions of gamers worldwide grew up thinking that blowing enthusiastically onto the connectors of their cartridge was the cure for all console-based ills. And it worked!
3. ZERO load time
No menus, no loading bars, no annoying graphic advertising the brand you’ve already handed over hundreds of hard-earned dollars to every time you hit the on button. In fact, after flicking the hefty switch marked ‘power,’ there were no load times whatsoever on classic consoles, which was perfect for those of us who were always trying to squeeze in just one more game before bedtime.
4. Gameplay over graphics
Without the ability to create photorealistic worlds that make everyday life look positively mundane by comparison, developers had to prioritize gameplay over graphics. The result was a slew of side-scrolling masterpieces—eminently enjoyable games that are still being played more than 30 years later.
5. What happend to the joystick?
The joystick was the carpal tunnel-inducing controller through which many a gamer experienced adolescence. The world is a darker place without them. They just vanished from the gaming scene!
6. When there was no need for patches or DLC
When a game released in the classic retro era, that was it. You didn’t have to worry about downloading a patch or waiting for downloadable content to finish the story. It was good to go, packaged within a cartridge for players to consume. Having a complete game was everything, and something you don’t see too often these days.
7. When controllers had pause buttons
These days, controllers don’t really have pause buttons per se, but rather a Menu button on Xbox One and an Options button on PS4. Looking back, however, the NES revolutionized things by having a Start button to pause games, so people could go eat or whatever, then return to play.
8. When arcades were king
Before video game consoles dominated the home, there was another place you could go and hang out with your favorite games – the arcade. Most of these establishments are gone, but nothing beat spending Saturday night at a local hangout, losing your allowance on the likes of Tempest and Outrun.
9. The demo scene
The demos that came out of the demo scene were created by artists and programmers who simply wanted to show off their skills along with the capabilities of the hardware. The demo scene was particularly strong in continental Europe, and the Amiga tended to be the lead platform!
10. The magazines
Before the Internet came along, magazines were the main source of information about software, hardware and computer systems themselves. As computers became more mainstream, high street retailers started to stock computer magazines, eventually having to dedicate entire walls to them. The magazines that were published could be divided into the platform specific ones and those that were multi-format. They still exist, in fewer numbers, but it’s secondary to the Internet for most people. The point was, those glorious, colourful magazines were often the only source of information that you had on what was going on in the world of computers.