Make Games Great Again

Grab Us by Our Disk Trays

supernintendo64

Old people want to bring back the good ol’ days, back when things were separate (but equal). Hipsters flip their hair and moan about music being better in the ‘90s. Millennials buy anything with comic book characters on it in a desperate attempt to hold on to their youth as it slips through their fingers.

And gamers won’t let go of their fuckin’ Gameboys.

If this goddamn blog ever has more than like 20 readers, I’m sure there might be a mouth-breather with a Pikachu flatbrim who writes long comments at me about how the Gameboy is timeless, Pokémon Red is a classic game and he made ALL his friends playing Gameboy, and the N64 is the best console, it had Majora’s Mask and-,

Look, dude, I get it. No, really. I’m a post-hipster millennial who feels like an old man most days. I’m all the things I just spent paragraphs of snark on. I have Power Ranger t-shirts from the original 90s show, I refuse to grow out of Harry Potter, and I tell anyone and everyone about how great the PlayStation 2 was, because there were more developers and diversity in the style of games. But there comes a point when I realize it’s too much, that the nostalgia goggles are misleading and that it’s being exploited by the gaming industry.

I spent $14.99 on Red Faction for the PS4. RED FACTION. The 2001 Volition title, a game that, while good when it came out, IS NOT WORTH FIFTEEN DOLLARS.

Check out the picture below. Look. LOOK AT WHAT I’VE DONE

REDFACTION

Why did I do this? Simple nostalgia. I played the original Red Faction when I was a wee lad. I hopped on my uncle’s computer, complete with its fancy glowing red mouse, and I wandered around the tunnels of Mars, killing authority figures with extreme prejudice.

Here I am, 17 years later, hungry for simpler times when I wasn’t aware of things like student debt, republicanism, gerrymandering, nuclear arsenals, spree shootings, did my kid eat today, did I eat today, where did I come from, where am I going, democrats, the liberal agenda, Tumblr— (full list will be on my tombstone)

Basically, what I’m saying is that it was an impulse buy, like grabbing a Snickers while in line at the grocery store. The problem is that old games and material is getting repackaged and resold to us, and we gobble it up. Companies make a few extra bucks, and Alex is bitterly reminded that games from 2001 have not aged well and no amount of “remastering” will make this game playable or likeable.

PlayStation has an entire menu for old games on their new console. Xbox One devised their “backwards” compatibility after sales lagged behind the PS4. They might as well proclaim “Make Games Great Again” and then proceed to grab us by our disk trays. It’s a cheap gimmick to pull in profits, and oddly, video games are one of the few mediums I can think of that are susceptible to this.

I don’t re-buy books because a new cover came out. I don’t rebuy movies unless there is new content or a definite increase in visual quality; I won’t buy movies just because I know they are on Netflix. I could talk about music, but who buys music?

But there is an entire game-nostalgia market. Sega, Atari and Nintendo classic consoles were released just in time for the holidays. Honestly, I don’t mind that. I really don’t. The classic consoles are at least a revival of a product that might not be accessible to everyone, especially since motherfuckers scalp classic consoles on Ebay. The very fact that people can scalp a Super Nintendo should be a sign that maybewe’re too hooked on the past.

But there is one major offender who committed a sinister act to draw sales to a lagging franchise. This one right here:

infinitewar

This is obviously exploitative, and the very fact that you can’t buy Modern Warfare Remastered as an individual game shows it. I’m sure David will rant more about this when he does his Infinite Warfare review, but let me just say this; the nostalgia trend feels a lot like the DLC trend. At first, DLC was cool and neat, now it’s a just a way to milk more money out of gamers. Remastered and re-released games are starting to feel that way.

We need to curb the nostalgia, at least in our purchasing decisions. Or we’ll end up getting sold Red Faction 2001 over and over again.

 

–Alex, 1/5/2017

 

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