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anne amère

Questions for OLDER GAMERS

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it's because the game requires SKILL and EFFORT to play.

I found that games like this require less skill and more memory- they do make you feel skilled once you've learned how to ace the level over and over.

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Once you've reached the upper levels in Yar's Revenge as I did, everything else is child's play or uninteresting.

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I always took the game personally when it gave me a challenge I couldn't overcome. A lot of that has changed, and I don't think that most games nowadays give you that sense of being so overwhelmingly frustrating, at least not for the right reasons. Old school games were enjoyable because you knew if you just tried a little longer, or thought a little more cleverly, you'd get through it. Not so much now, what with hints, tutorials, gaming guides, and the internet. The games that end up frustrating are only that way because they play badly, not because they were made to be a challenge in that sense.

I think what I miss most is the sense of exploration. It was so much cooler finding stuff no one had seen before, or that you would not have guessed was there. Zelda, Mario, Metroid. Those were all games where you had to write stuff down or memorize patterns. They gave you a map when you bought the Legend of Zelda on NES, but it was up to you to fill out where stuff was. God help you if you forgot where essential stuff was either. I must have played for days trying to remember how to get the white sword. I'm sure there are still people out there today who have their old hand drawn maps for Metroid.

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For Super Mario Brothers, I was visiting an arcade and saw some guy bounce on the turtle for tons of extra lives. For the minus level in the game, I heard about it as a rumor among the school kids.

For the Legend of Zelda and several other popular NES games, there was a black strategy guide that EVERYONE had at the time. I can't remember the name of the book though. It was a bible that was well worn by the time I was done with it. The second quest really stumped me. They introduced that new game mechanic of pushing through some walls, and nobody told me. My aunt pushed against a wall and went through, and then the rest of the second quest was easy.

Obviously Nintendo Power was a great source of information. There was a cheats and tips section that would contain the kind of information that you'd get from gamefaqs now. Before that there was the Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter. If I remember correctly, one of the fun clubs mentioned about how you could get to secret areas if you let some of the doors close on samus, which was good information for WEEKS of fun exploring hidden areas of Metroid. Actually, it was an exercise in frustration with "DAMN IT, SAMUS IS STUCK IN BALL FORM IN THE WALL. I WAS SO CLOSE TO GETTING TO THE HIDDEN AREA"

Mike Tyson's punchout.. I have no idea where I heard the 007-373-5963 code to start at Tyson, but I used it so many times, I don't even have to think to recall it. At my best, I used to be able to beat Tyson in about 1 out of 4 tries. 1 out of 10 if people were watching.

It is sort of like the konami code on contra. As far as I know, everyone knew the konami code right when the game came out, and we naturally tried the code on every konami game we owned, with some success.

I never could beat Ghosts and Goblins. That game was too hard man. I got to near the end, and found out that I needed to play through again, and said 'f this!

I never beat Battle Toads either. I did get past the cycle part that is so brutal one time, but I totally remember being crazy frustrated with how exact the timings needed to be. GRRRR.

I suspect that a lot of information came from the Nintendo game Hotline. They used to advertise that pretty heavily in the game pak manuals. I called a few times myself when I was stuck on some adventure game (Zelda: LttP, Battle of Olympus) and my impression was those game counselors were gods. I have no idea how they could figure out my problem from an over the phone description for some random game and give me back a correct answer in no time flat. It was amazing! From what I gathered, a lot of my friends called more than I did...

I'll agree with others that mentioned that we had a lot more time to spend on games. I typically got a game for my birthday and christmas. Six months with a game that takes 4 days to beat.. Think about that.

Somewhere after the first month with a game, I'd try to find glitches. Lots of the old NES games had problems.

Take Rygar, a pretty cool game with what I personally consider to have the best musical track for the NES (Sagila's Cavern)...

I found that if I calibrated my NES Advantage controller to press buttons as fast as possible, that I could slowly 'fall' from the top of the ropes in the game, and glide/fly practically anywhere. There were all kinds of hidden areas to explore with that trick. Of course, unless the controller pressed the buttons at exactly the right times, Rygar would fall to his death, so calibrating the controller was a must.

I'd calibrate the joystick using the options screen of the game gyromite. It turns out that when you press a button in the options screen the game beeps. The NES advantage had a dial on it that you could turn to calibrate the speed of the turbo button presses. When the audible beep on Gyromite was constant, that was the fastest the NES could accept auto fire presses. For reference, if you turned the dial to the max setting, the timings worked out such that it was NOT be the fastest possible setting.

So anyway, I don't think that what I did was particularly special. I think we were all doing similar things back in the day. So, it probably represents the amount of effort a lot of us put into the few games we owned.

The accomplishment that I am most proud of is beating this crappy game called Deadly Towers for the NES. I never had a guide, or an instruction manual, or anything. I never got hints, and I made it to the end after months of on again off again effort. God I hated that game. At least the ending music was pretty awesome.

So, that is my take on how we got our information before gamefaqs and emulators.

-Aubrey

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To be honest, retro gaming is a guilty pleasure of mine - I almost don't play any new generation of VG's anymore, nor am I ever really excited about them, but I still play the oldies religiously (sadly, I need to emulate them, now, but it's better than nothing).

I love those old, super difficult games (Silver Surfer still remains one of my favorites - bless those ridiculously difficult levels). They just get my blood boilin'! :-o

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I grew up with those harder games. I remember me and my father playing Zelda when I was like 6, just running around aimlessly killing things on the screen. Games had less direction back then which, I guess lookin' back on it now, isn't a great thing, but they were still a lot of fun. Zelda especially gave me the sense that it was up to me (and my dad, I s'pose) to save the world from...whatever the hell it was we were trying to save the world from.

Battletoads I never beat when I was little. I remember me and a friend would attempt it every single time he came over and never got past the third level (the speed bike level). 15 years later, I hacked my Wii and me and ANOTHER friend sunk a ridiculous amount of time into it and I finally beat it. Then I got to the point that I was able to beat it without using more than one continue. It was a great feeling to beat the snot out of a game that I could never beat when I was younger.

I also remember beating Mega Man 2 in less than a day when I was like 6. That and Battletoads with only one continue are two of my greatest accomplishments concerning videogames.

Sorry, I rambled. I guess the answer to the question is that we just didn't give up (unless it was Battletoads). We just kept throwing our lives, continues, and will at the game until finally it just gave up on us.

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This is gonna sound strange.

Anyone else ever feel "weighed down" by 3D? Like sometimes it's too much?

...Sort of. There are a lot of new versions of old games out there that have gone to 3d or tried to hype up their graphics. The sacrifices made in the name of graphics or easy mode gaming have been increasingly dismaying. I think that's why I like my DS so much compared to my Wii. Wii is great, but DS offers games that at least have a 'trace' of old feel to them, and they let you play some gameboy games too. Not as good as the old Nintendo/Super Nintendo, but getting closer.

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my brother and i played zelda with our dad and we had a giant piece of grid paper that we used to map out the overworld and all of its secrets

basically, we constructed our own guide

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Just had a strange thought: maybe nowadays, kid aren't as well prepared to accept failure as the now-oldest of us were.

With old games, you knew you were in for some randomness and unfair deaths, leading to lots of game over screens, disapointment and frustration.

But that frustration forged a spirit, and it made us pick the pad to try once more... times and again.

I wonder if the casual turn that the gaming industry has taken recently isn't there to respond to that lack of spirit in a way...

Actually it's fun when you think about the fact that today, some people manage to beat those game in between 5min to an hour and a half.

Imagine how a concept like speedruning would have ruined it all back then.

But I do enjoy speedruning some oldies occasionally like the Megaman serie, or Metroid/Castlevania.

Which lead me to another amazing thing old games has brought us: memory.

The amount of info we had to process and re-use later on in order to advance was tremendous.

To this day, I still remember useless things, like where the powerup are located in some game.

Or how to solve puzzles and get out of a particular maze in some other.

Whereas nowdays, if you're blocked, just head over to Game FAQ and you're pretty much done.

Which is a bit saddening in a way...

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Just had a strange thought: maybe nowadays, kid aren't as well prepared to accept failure as the now-oldest of us were.

With old games, you knew you were in for some randomness and unfair deaths, leading to lots of game over screens, disapointment and frustration.

But that frustration forged a spirit, and it made us pick the pad to try once more... times and again.

I wonder if the casual turn that the gaming industry has taken recently isn't there to respond to that lack of spirit in a way...

Actually it's fun when you think about the fact that today, some people manage to beat those game in between 5min to an hour and a half.

Imagine how a concept like speedruning would have ruined it all back then.

But I do enjoy speedruning some oldies occasionally like the Megaman serie, or Metroid/Castlevania.

Which lead me to another amazing thing old games has brought us: memory.

The amount of info we had to process and re-use later on in order to advance was tremendous.

To this day, I still remember useless things, like where the powerup are located in some game.

Or how to solve puzzles and get out of a particular maze in some other.

Whereas nowdays, if you're blocked, just head over to Game FAQ and you're pretty much done.

Which is a bit saddening in a way...

I think some people just got the wrong idea growing up. We're a different generation you know? It seems like a 'lot' of stuff we grew up with that conditioned us/toughened us up, have all been watered down for the current generation for fear of actually challenging them or upsetting them. With issues like Columbine and people lobbying against time-consuming games or potentially dangerous activities that still offered a lot of growth and character, the industries seem to have tried to meet these half-way on nearly all fronts, from quality of reading to videogames and movies. Of course, I could just be biased, but I don't think it seems like kids get the same enriching 'childhood' we did.

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This may sound like a "Back in my day"-style comment, but games in the NES and SMS era relied more on the player having to solve things for themselves. Games today hold the player's hand far too much, making even the most complicated thing easier by dropping blatant hints... if not just flat out telling you what to do. Even during the 16bit era, games were still harder in this sense than they are today. And really, the same can be said for computer games from the ol' DOS period.

Back then, the hints were vague and required you to explore to find out what they meant, the level designs required spot-on timing, enemies respawned after you killed them and scrolled the screen forward a bit, levels were specifically designed to be trial and error (forcing you to memorize each bit to advance)... it was all sorts of things that made the games of old tougher to figure out. These days, the game practically tells you how to win, and shows you how to go about it. It's quite a shift.

Now, I'm not saying that today's games are all cakewalks. Ninja Gaiden Black showed that hard-as-nails gaming still exists. But the majority of the titles we see now are made so it's easier to figure things out.

So yeah, when you step back to an older game you've forgotten about, or never got to play, there's a good chance it'll kick your ass without mercy. But that's only because it expects you to do the work, and not be guided through step by step by the game itself.

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While I would say older games are hard, I wouldn't say they're that hard in retrospect. Going back to play some of them, they're very very easy, or even if they have a high death rate, I can still beat them in just 2-3 days of casual game play.

I'm not really that good at games, so I'd assume most of you can also go back and do the same thing, even with "nintendo hard" games you've never played before. After growing up with such unforgiving games, any game today would seem a lot easier than it should be because we have a huge repository of video game conventions. So we can make some really weird leaps in logic to play that people that don't have the experience would never make.

That's what I've observed anyway probably means very little. I do agree that games now are a bit in the "too easy" side of things, it just seems more then too easy cause we started with very hard.

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i further the notion that it had a lot to do with what was available, the overal length of games, the number of terrible games, and how few games were released and how long it took for them to be released.

It's why many of those games don't hold up today.

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I have to say it's very aggravating watching my nephews play video games today and having them ask for help constantly (and if they don't get the help they just give up on the game entirely). I vow never to reveal that I actually could kick the crap out of the games that they play because I would then fall under the repressive stream of cries for help that my younger brother and sister must deal with, right now, but it is none-the-less really annoying watching them give something a try and tell me it can't be done, then give up.

It wouldn't be so bad if they just stopped playing because of that, but they keep returning to the same games, play up to a hard part and give up. What the hell are we teaching the children, to give up when something is difficult?!

They've gotten a little better about it, over time, but really - because other people can now simply play it for them there is no pleasure in the journey, anymore. Kids these days now only play to win - what's the fun of that?

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the difference is that we all have jobs now and no longer have entire days to devote to learning how to beat a game

an easier game that is still enjoyable is a nice diversion every now and then

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the difference is that we all have jobs now and no longer have entire days to devote to learning how to beat a game

an easier game that is still enjoyable is a nice diversion every now and then

...No offense, but that doesn't sound like the difference at all... Even with a job I seem to recall leaving the Nintendo on all day while I ran to school so I didn't lose my progress when I got back home and could get right back into it. You think I'd stop doing the equivalent just cause I have to go to work? And what does that have to do with the new generation of gamers/games?

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there is no pleasure in the journey, anymore.

This.

Like the saying goes: "It's the journey that counts, not the destination".

I feel as if it's the same in other areas of life. While teaching the basics of beatmaking, I always had youngsters asking me: "who taught you how to do it?"

To what I always answered that I was self-taught. That I had spend hours trying to figure things out, on my own.

They never believed me, because for them, and no matter what I said, it was obvious that I had to ask or pay someone to get this information.

So I can definitely relate to:

Of course, I could just be biased, but I don't think it seems like kids get the same enriching 'childhood' we did

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my brother and i played zelda with our dad and we had a giant piece of grid paper that we used to map out the overworld and all of its secrets

basically, we constructed our own guide

Yup, same. Did with CV2 as well, but that was just with the hints. Freaking graveyard duck...

Speaking of needing to take notes: Ultima IV, Quest of the Avatar. No one in his right mind would suffer through such a game today. No, screw you volcano, you take that damned bell, candle, flute, drum, skull and whatever else and shove them up your pipe. I'm done here.

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Even with a job I seem to recall leaving the Nintendo on all day while I ran to school so I didn't lose my progress when I got back home and could get right back into it.

You burned through a lot of TVs, didn't you?

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You burned through a lot of TVs, didn't you?

No. I left the Nintendo on. Since it was paused, I left the TV off. ..Why would I leave the TV on? That has nothing to do with my gaming progress. I can't think of a single time in my life a TV has actually failed on me.

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Hah, who didn't leave their games running? Nowadays electricity costs so much, though... I'm actually glad that part of gaming history is gone.

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I remember leaving my Sega Genesis on and unhooking the AV cables from the TV, so that my family could still watch TV even though I didn't turn off Sonic.

Man...you remember when Sonic was good? THOSE WERE THE DAYS.

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I remember leaving my Sega Genesis on and unhooking the AV cables from the TV, so that my family could still watch TV even though I didn't turn off Sonic.

Man...you remember when Sonic was good? THOSE WERE THE DAYS.

Hell yeah I remember. I remember when Sonic and Mario really were console rivals neck and neck.

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