Generation Gaps

Yesterday, 7am – I’m clearing out what used to be my room (still is I suppose) and I find my 4 disc imported Final Fantasy IX OST.  Yes! A lost gem has found its way back into my – oh, it’s missing disc 1 *tosses*. But this got me thinking, or maybe it was just the brain activity being slow due to it being so early. You ever hear people talking, generally around the age of 20-30 about how great some old clunker is? I’ll use Final Fantasy as an example. When someone says FFIII is far superior to FFXII when you know they aren’t referring to the DS remake. Or how FFVII paved the way for 3D Roleplaying. You might sit back and think: “what are you fools talking about? Lost Odyssey is the best RPG ever.” If you made the mistake of thinking that out loud, expect some stares and the inevitable rant of a thousand horrors.

It’s like that for most long running franchises, or game genres in general. No argument is more controversial than not playing/liking a game because the graphics aren’t good. I personally hate that one, but unlike those old veterans, I can understand it. I know that it’s been said often, but that doesn’t mean its not true: this is a great time to be a video gamer. And I don’t just mean about graphics either. But you can amass a very diverse and amazing game library for cheap. Don’t let the HD fool you, game design ain’t changed that much. When someone refuses to pick up an old school title they never played, its understandable why they’d just let it hit the back burner. They’ve got more than enough current games to check out, and they probably aren’t making headway on those as quickly as the veterans have. Most old school gamers were kids or young adults. They had free time. Young adults still have free time, but they’ve got the games of today to play. Tell a gamer today that he should checkout a laundry list of games long past while he’s roaring through Grand Theft Auto IV, somebody might as well have told an old schooler to go outside and play in the yard. Not the same thing but…you get it. Doesn’t look to appetizing to visit a classic when there’s some new stuff on the table. It’s just not the same. You enjoy things more when they’re new. Then you enjoy them again when you haven’t seen them in a while.

It’s the same way Jake can love Super Mario Bros as much as Bob loves Crash Bandicoot and Alex loves Ratchet and Clank. Video game love is 1/3 good game + 1/3 new experience + 1/3 personal taste. In the same way someone can love a bad game if its their first game ever, an old game can be considered a classic. To be a classic, a game has to be innovative, sell well, and be remembered by the majority of people talking. I bet you’d see a lot different top 10 lists if video game journalists were comprised by a majority of gamers who had only been playing games for the past 5 years. But, who’s fault is that? Again, it’s not one’s duty to play every game ever made in order to fairly compare them all. Just the ones they’re comparing. If the industry exists in a similar state in the next decade or so, will these 40 year old old schoolers be complaining that video games aren’t as good as they used to be? Probably. And on the same forums they probably do now.

Well random guy who is getting yelled at for not knowing what a good game is even if it bit you in the ass, suffer through their ad mominem attacks. One day, you’ll be in their shoes complaining that something isn’t as good as what you remember. It’s just the way things work. And for pete’s sake, don’t pretend to have played classics just to seem like you’re old school or refined, or to fit in. It’s embarassing, and you’ll be found out by the Internet Lawyers.