Video games have been around for a very long time and I’ve been into gaming for well over two decades. Yes, I’m old and I just wish those darn kids could stop skating on my sidewalk, but I digress. Gaming has come a long way and there is a lot of things to love about modern gaming, such as mind-blowing graphics, the continued rise of esports, awesome gameplay mechanics and more. However, there are some things that were simply better back in the day. With that in mind, I’m going to discuss some of the aspects of old-school gaming there were better 20 years ago and that we don’t see much of these days.
Those lovely demo discs
Remember when you could walk into your local supermarket or just about any store imaginable and pick up a PC gaming magazine with that lovely demo disc? Well, I do, and even though you can still pick up some gaming magazines these days, those demo discs seem to have gone extinct.
Demo discs offered hours upon hours of gameplay and importantly, they gave you a real taste of a game you might consider purchasing. It was a simpler time back then when developers and publishers had so much confidence in their product that they could give you, for example, the first chapter of their game to try so you know you are making the right purchase.
Sure, we still see trials for games sometimes and the odd demo here and there, but for the most part you have to pay to try out a game yourself. We all know how that turns out sometimes, especially when a game gets hyped up beyond belief and turns out to be mediocre at best.
The Full Experience
The biggest and most noticeable change for me has to be that you mostly don’t get the full experience when you purchase a game anymore. There’s almost always something like a Season Pass, other DLC content or loot boxes containing either cosmetic items or even pay-to-win items. That’s not great to be completely honest because if I decide to purchase a game, I want the full experience.
Back in the days of old-school gaming, when you purchased a full game, you had the entire experience that you could enjoy without worrying about forking out more money on things later on. Sometimes, you still do get the full experience in modern gaming, but Season Passes have become the norm now. The only thing I can get behind is when a developer releases a true expansion for a game, with examples of Bloodborne: The Old Hunters or Witcher 3: Blood and Wine expansion coming to mind.
An expansion should be a big piece of content that doesn’t feel as if it was held back from the full game and added in later, and that’s something I sorely miss from the days of old-school gaming.
Mutual respect for the win
For over two decades, my go-to past time has been esports games. Things have changed now a bit now as I prefer single-player experiences like the magnificent God of War or Resident Evil 2 Remake, but back then, the love for anything multiplayer, especially with an esports aspect, was strong.
The competitive aspect is still here and better than ever in modern gaming with quick play and robust competitive options available but one thing that feels like it completely disappeared was mutual respect in multiplayer matches.
When you crushed someone in the original StarCraft (even with cheesy tactics), the player would type GG WP (Good Game, Well Played) and take the loss with grace. Now, in almost everything you play, matches are filled with sore losers who seem to have no respect for others at all.
I’m not sure what happened to the gaming community as a whole, maybe its that ever-growing sense of entitlement. However, having respect for all other gamers, no matter their platform, what tactics they use to win a multiplayer match or whatever else you can think of, is something that I wish everyone could have experienced back in the day of old-school gaming.
Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to see internet access reach as many gamers as possible and that multiplayer gaming can be experienced from home on a daily basis. Internet access and the options now available to gamers are better than ever, but don’t you miss LAN parties? When everyone didn’t have access to an internet connection or you still had that 56k modem to dial up with, the go-to way of experience multiplayer gaming was going to a LAN party.
Sure, it was a real mission sometimes, but the end result was playing games, talking about games and meeting like-minded individuals. There are still some LANs running but now, due to the impressive increase of internet access, they are few and far between. Even at these LAN parties, you see many gamers using the internet of the location and not even playing with those at the LAN. Further, you always get those guys who just download everything they can from a connection and watch anime before packing up and leaving.
It’s amazing to have solid internet now and be able to experience multiplayer gaming from your home, but I wish that everyone could have experienced those old-school LAN parties and that it was still a common thing in modern gaming.
Two decades ago, most games were difficult or at least provided a good challenge to the gamer. It was the norm instead of the exception like we have with the Souls or Souls-like games these days. I, for one, love a challenging experience but that might be because I started gaming over 20 years ago.
There are still some difficult games out there, but for the most part, developers are creating titles that are either simply easy or have a very easy difficulty setting. That’s not the fault of developers, however, as it feels like the gaming community has gone soft. What you hear now when a game (for example Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice) goes back to the old-school, brutally difficult roots, are screams of “I just want to experience the story” echo throughout the gaming world. It is the mindset of some gamers that has, in my opinion, caused this shift to happen.
It is unfortunate, as challenging games do not only provide players with a fun and rewarding experience but also pushed them to become better. An increase in player skill then carries over into other games, which yields positive results in multiplayer matches. Why do you think we see so many bad players in almost every facet of gaming now? Basically, instead of complaining, “Git Gud” as someone has beaten Sekiro in under an hour.
Can you think of any other ways that old-school gaming was better than the modern era of gaming what do you think of the examples in this article? Let us know in the comment section below.