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Generations of Gamers


XZero
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I grew up with a Sega Genesis and an NES, so Sonic and Mario took up a lot of my childhood. To this day, Sonic 3 & Knuckles is still one of my favorite games. The Sega Saturn also holds a place in my heart.

I play a lot of recent games too. Whatever direction the industry is going in, there are still a lot of quality games out there. With the exception of a few games (Half-Life, Portal, TF2, etc), I couldn't really care less for the FPS market. But that's me!

I find myself playing a lot of older games lately(also really obscure ones). It's hard talking to some of my friends about games:

"So I play Call of Duty: Black Ops a lot. What games do you play?"

Me: "Er... Ikaruga... for the Sega Dreamcast...? :'D "

"What are you, some kind of LOSER?"

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My story is especially strange. I'm 18, and when all my friends were playing with N64s I was stuck with an SNES and a SEGA Genesis. Thanks to my parents who were complete game-aphobes, I never managed to get a system more advanced than that.

So fast forward to now: a college freshman, who is the only person on the floor to have more than one emulator on his computer. A majority of my hallmates are "lax-bros" where all they play is COD and Halo. To them, the only fun experience on a video game is a win, and trust me, if they are ever on the losing end of a fight, the entire floor is aware of it. Heck, I even play COD with them, but what they don't get is the concept of not being seen. Every player I know has a tendency to go guns blazing into a fray, and nobody plays these games with any strategy. Only one other person on my floor has played DKC2, but instead favors the N64 games. It's like I'm the last of a dying breed: younger guys who happen to think that the golden age of video games has passed. I have yet to meet anyone of my age that feels that Link to the Past was a greater accomplishment than Ocarina of Time. I look at these people today and think that the way of video games has changed, not necessarily for the worst, but changed nonetheless.

More importantly, I wonder what would be the outcome if my older brother, who I inherited the games from, and my sister-in-law were to have a child. Both are avid RPG gamers, who have a history of old-school gaming. A 2nd generation gamer. Would the world be ready for a 2nd generation gamer?

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My story is especially strange. I'm 18, and when all my friends were playing with N64s I was stuck with an SNES

Haha. You and me both. Good thing, too. I never would have appreciated the fourth-generation consoles as I do if I hadn't been 'stuck' with the SNES.

And on the whole generation gap discussion, I'd have to say that this discussion is not taking into account the split between console, handheld, and pc gaming. There are three different 'evolutions' going on here. It's also important to keep in mind that PC gaming has essentially become increasingly synonymous (at least as far as game engines are concerned) with console gaming within the last two generations.

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I'm still a little disheartened that I seem to be the only one here within your suggested "poll range" to stand up for his own thoughts on past vs. present games.

Going back to what Gario said, it makes me more of an exception than a "rule", which I guess means that all teenagers are call of duty loving freaks who spend all their time bashing the graphics of older games and sinking money to play death match on XBL.

Haha. You and me both. Good thing, too. I never would have appreciated the fourth-generation consoles as I do if I hadn't been 'stuck' with the SNES.

And on the whole generation gap discussion, I'd have to say that this discussion is not taking into account the split between console, handheld, and pc gaming. There are three different 'evolutions' going on here. It's also important to keep in mind that PC gaming has essentially become increasingly synonymous (at least as far as game engines are concerned) with console gaming within the last two generations.

Consoles are pretty much covering everything discussed in this thread (mostly I've seen is SNES vs. Xbox 360)

I think the handheld market is really reaching to not only little kids but to old people as well, and I see guys at school bring in gameboy colors and play the original pokemon games. I think that the handheld market is a little less of a generation gap.

PC Gaming is an iffy term. Technically it's been around for a very long time, but the generation gap wouldn't be in what games the different generations are interested in, but rather what they define as "PC Gaming". I define it as playing MMO's and games like Team Fortress 2. This might lump me into a rule that teens only like online PC gaming, but whatever. (and I play Shatter and Droplitz, if that's worth anything. Previously I've enjoyed games like Civ IV, Portal, Jedi Knight 2 & 3, Torchlight, etc.)

Also, interesting fact: Some girl in my biology class mentioned she was getting Black Ops for christmas, which I thought was neat and scary at the same time.

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Seriously, though, guys, this is a pretty ridiculous generalization to make. As a few have pointed out already, there is just as much potential for a classic game to turn out horrible, bland, and focused on all the wrong things (E.T. anyone?) at a modern game, and just as much potential for a modern game to be absolutely incredible as any other. I can honestly say I see no gap in the history of gaming other than the progression of technology. Developers in the (S)NES era were extremely concerned about and pretty proud of how many pixels they could push out with state-of-the-art hardware simply because it was state-of-the-art. Just because we've gone through hella advancements since then doesn't mean things are suddenly different. There have been and always will be developers who lose sight of fun and create a media experience, and there will be others who make something that, while it may not look great, is ridiculously entertaining to play.

Along the same lines, you have just as many young gamers that fail to appreciate and look down upon old games as old gamers who have become jaded and turn their noses up at anything that smacks of novelty. Both could probably stand to get over themselves, but either way neither is intrinsically worse than the other.

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Along the same lines, you have just as many young gamers that fail to appreciate and look down upon old games as old gamers who have become jaded and turn their noses up at anything that smacks of novelty. Both could probably stand to get over themselves, but either way neither is intrinsically worse than the other.

I don't disagree with this, but from what I've been observing and especially from what I saw during my 5.5 years at GameStop, people under 18 were quicker to dismiss old games than adults were to dismiss new games. Thus, it's not that it's intrinsically worse to be on one side or the other. Instead, I suppose I'm noting that the numbers on one side are overwhelming compared to the numbers on the other.

My completely unscientific hypothesis is that for every ten 13-17 year olds, there might be one or two who would acknowledge that Zelda: Link to the Past is as good or better than Halo (this is NOT intended to get into a debate over the qualities of Halo or Zelda). On the other hand, for every 18-30 year old, we may bitch and moan like Crankey Kong about the golden age of days gone by, 8 or 9 out of 10 would probably acknowledge that Halo is a generally a good game that, while lacking novelty, did a whole lot of things well.

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Well, as far as that is a trend, I would say a lot of it may be due to exposure. Older gamers have, by definition, been around longer, so they were able to digest past games when the past was still present. Younger gamers not only have less exposure to old games, but even if they have played them, they've likely had less time to enjoy them and understand their merits. I mean, when you've had twice as long of a life to enjoy the same library of games as a high schooler, your experience alone means you're more likely to appreciate more things.

Also, many teenagers are boneheaded and hormonal. (I shudder to think of what I was like when I first joined OCR.) That's not to say they wouldn't enjoy our "classics" in, say, 5-10 years. Give them time to grow up, broaden their horizons and expand their minds, and then if they're still as closed as your jaded olde-schoolers, you can scoff and shake your head at them.

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I think a big part of it is simply that people who are 17 and younger are growing up with the Xbox and PS2 as their starting base, where others like myself were starting with the Atari XEGS, 2600, NES, Master System and such. We've seen where the technology was years ago, and where it went as the years rolled on. We have the perspective and sense of history from being there that 17 year olds today don't thanks to actually having been there, and we played the games with graphics that had four colors... and were wowed by them. So we know how things were from a view point that simply can't be recreated when you're 17 and playing games that are older than you.

See, when you're there to play Pitfall! on the 2600 the week it was released, it gives you a perspective that can't be reproduced, even by a child playing that game as their first one in 2010. When that game was new, it was still cutting edge stuff, not retro. So unless you've sheltered that 2010 child, even they will know it's old and that the newer games "look prettier." As a result of all this, when you're in your 30s, you can still appreciate the games from your youth in a different manner, more than a teenager playing those games some 25-plus years after their original debut.

Of course, when you factor in all the short attention spans that have been more the norm these days, is it really all that shocking that 17 year olds don't stick with their games very long? I can still play my 1987 Atari XEGS version of

and have fun with it. Meanwhile, the 17 year old who beat the single player side of Halo Reach, will likely never touch that aspect of the game again. Which brings me to another topic... multiplayer.

How many remember when games were single player only (or if it had a two-player mode, you took turns playing)? Now, it's more like, "Single player? I wanna go online and play with my buddies, not play alone." The single player mode of a game is getting a lot less attention than it used to, as multiplayer is where everyone's focusing... to the point that if a game comes out that's single-player only with no online play, it gets bashed left and right for not including it (Torchlight anyone?). It's as if somewhere along the way, people forgot about just zoning out with a game, and how it could be just you against whatever the programmers felt like throwing at you.

Anyway, enough "old man yells at cloud" rambling. The gist of all this is that if you're a 17 year old playing a game for the first time some 20-plus years after it was released, you're not going to have the same perspective as someone who was there when the tech and game was new and cutting edge. And 20 years from now, the same will be true for those who grew up with the 360 and PS3 as their starting point, when addressing those playing the XBox 1080 and PS6.

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a very staple of my existence

Mine and my brother's as well, nothing quite like Sierra adventure games!

Sierra plugging out of the way, there's another thing here that hasn't been brought up that stands out to me, and that's the success of a lot of indie games which use old school elements but modern graphics, often with a twist, such as Braid, Trine, VVVVVV, And Yet it Moves, most recently Super Meat Boy, and to add a non platformer, Machinarium (you mean the adventure genre isn't dead after all?!). I'm pretty sure these games are very popular with both the older and younger generation and wouldn't be too surprised if in some cases (especially with Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV) if it were a lot of younger generation gamers first exposure to ruthlessly difficult platforming.

I think the combination of high quality graphics (VVVVVV's intentional oldschoolness excluded) and strong, fulfilling gameplay has made these games a good fit for anyone who is, for lack of a better term, a true gamer. In this case I will define that as anyone who enjoys being challenged (and then of course, rewarded) by games, whether it be puzzle solving in a game like Machanarium, the combination of thought process problem solving and platforming that goes into a game like Braid or Trine, or the pure twitch muscle memory needed for the unforgiving challenge of Super Meat Boy. The games I mentioned are among my favorites of the last year (ok AYIM wasn't that great, but still enjoyable), personally, I am an older gamer who started with PC and NES games so in many cases, the appeal of a lot of those games was in the nostalgia value, but I think that those games would be able to have a lot of appeal without that as well, with the more modern graphics serving as a lure to older style gameplay (thoughts from younger games might actually be interesting in regards to that).

Regarding "PC gaming," I agree that it is almost kind of an anomaly now, in that sense that fewer games are "PC only" now, as compared to 10 years ago where there where still tons of big name games coming out only for PC and not for consoles. I'd say I'm very representative of the old school PC gamer in that I do like fps games like TF2, HL2, or anything Doom related, yet have never played Halo, and, even though it is available on PC, anything in the CoD series as well. As someone who grew up with id Software games and became a big fps fan as a result, their upcoming latest offering,

, is one of my most anticipated games. I would imagine a lot of people either haven't heard of it, or don't really care, which I can totally understand, seeing how id hasn't done much at all in the last few years and their last offer of significance (Doom 3) wasn't as epic as it was supposed to be.

I'd say it's fair to say that there's probably a whole generation of fps gamers who may have never touched an id game now, and this is where it gets interesting, as Rage, like so many other modern "big games" will be launching on consoles as well as PC and getting much more exposure than it would have had it just been on the PC. Whether or not it ends up being any good remains to be seen (will it be another amazing engine with less of a game?), but I sure would be happy if id was able to get to the forefront of the fps genre again, as someone who was strongly influenced by their games growing up.

In the end, I also completely agree with the idea that it's hard to appreciate something that was new 20 years ago if you've never seen it before compared to the guy who saw it right when it was new and was wowed. I can remember being impressed by a "color monitor" in my earliest days of PC gaming, and obviously, the SNES was amazing compared to the NES, this list could go on but you get the point. Some younger people are able to look beyond the graphics and discover these games, and some, well, are missing out! Still, if you weren't there when it was new, then it's old, whether it be the NES, SNES, PS1, older PC game, etc, and I think I can understand why some people might not see much in an older game initially anyway.

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The Coop, do you weep knowing that instead of playing the Mario Bros. game for the Atari XEGS, you could have been playing on the 800XL the infinitely superior-in-every-way

I know I do.

. Young kids will never know the joy.

No, as that floppy would likely not work anymore by now. My Mario Bros. cart however, still starts up on the first try :-P

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I prefer to just go play video games and not bother with thinking of this generation gap, since it's a silly thing, but there are times where I can't avoid it.

I'm 26. I have an 8 year old god-daughter who plays on a DS. Her idea of good games were Tinkerbell's Adventure and Bratz Doll-me-up-like-a-hooker throwaway games.

It wasn't until I gave her a copy of the GBA Super Mario World that I think she really started to understand what a 'game' could be like. She's swiftly gotten into Phantom Hourglass and Children of Mana--games I thought may have been too complicated for her, but which she's tearing through with a ravenous hunger. She talked my ear off the other day about facing off and beating a dragon in CoM with an excitement I only dimly remember from my youth.

Their household will be getting a Wii soon. We plan to play a lot of co-op games together, because joining in the fun with a younger generation should be our mission. We were pioneers of gaming, explorers and masters of a strange new market that no one could understand, and now that it has become a social norm we should embrace that and teach these youngin's what it means to really play games.

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I prefer to just go play video games and not bother with thinking of this generation gap, since it's a silly thing, but there are times where I can't avoid it.

I'm 26. I have an 8 year old god-daughter who plays on a DS. Her idea of good games were Tinkerbell's Adventure and Bratz Doll-me-up-like-a-hooker throwaway games.

It wasn't until I gave her a copy of the GBA Super Mario World that I think she really started to understand what a 'game' could be like. She's swiftly gotten into Phantom Hourglass and Children of Mana--games I thought may have been too complicated for her, but which she's tearing through with a ravenous hunger. She talked my ear off the other day about facing off and beating a dragon in CoM with an excitement I only dimly remember from my youth.

Their household will be getting a Wii soon. We plan to play a lot of co-op games together, because joining in the fun with a younger generation should be our mission. We were pioneers of gaming, explorers and masters of a strange new market that no one could understand, and now that it has become a social norm we should embrace that and teach these youngin's what it means to really play games.

That dang near brought a tear to my eye.

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I prefer to just go play video games and not bother with thinking of this generation gap, since it's a silly thing, but there are times where I can't avoid it.

I'm 26. I have an 8 year old god-daughter who plays on a DS. Her idea of good games were Tinkerbell's Adventure and Bratz Doll-me-up-like-a-hooker throwaway games.

It wasn't until I gave her a copy of the GBA Super Mario World that I think she really started to understand what a 'game' could be like. She's swiftly gotten into Phantom Hourglass and Children of Mana--games I thought may have been too complicated for her, but which she's tearing through with a ravenous hunger. She talked my ear off the other day about facing off and beating a dragon in CoM with an excitement I only dimly remember from my youth.

Their household will be getting a Wii soon. We plan to play a lot of co-op games together, because joining in the fun with a younger generation should be our mission. We were pioneers of gaming, explorers and masters of a strange new market that no one could understand, and now that it has become a social norm we should embrace that and teach these youngin's what it means to really play games.

With the Wii, I recommend Kirby Epic Yarn for fun easy going co-op. My girlfriend can't get into any games I play, so I picked that up, and she loved it. We had a ball co-oping it all the way start to finish.

Also, get her the old Harvest Moon game on VC. That will start her on a long road of great fun.

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With the Wii, I recommend Kirby Epic Yarn for fun easy going co-op. My girlfriend can't get into any games I play, so I picked that up, and she loved it. We had a ball co-oping it all the way start to finish.

Also, get her the old Harvest Moon game on VC. That will start her on a long road of great fun.

I have a Wii myself. Occasionally I drag it over and we play some NSMBwii (which she usually trolls the hell out of me in), but it's usually a hassle to unhook it from my TV station. Having played the new Kirby, I know she'll love it--as will her mother, I wager. Maybe I can get them to play more games together.

As for Harvest Moon, I think she actually has that for the DS. I'd have to check tonight when I go over there.

I'm treating her to ice cream for her good grades at school, but she doesn't know it yet. Getting her the royal sundae banana split, so massive it's as big as her head.

Sometimes, I think I spoil her too much.

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I have a Wii myself. Occasionally I drag it over and we play some NSMBwii (which she usually trolls the hell out of me in), but it's usually a hassle to unhook it from my TV station. Having played the new Kirby, I know she'll love it--as will her mother, I wager. Maybe I can get them to play more games together.

As for Harvest Moon, I think she actually has that for the DS. I'd have to check tonight when I go over there.

I'm treating her to ice cream for her good grades at school, but she doesn't know it yet. Getting her the royal sundae banana split, so massive it's as big as her head.

Sometimes, I think I spoil her too much.

I hate NSMB Wii on multiplayer. So much room for causing friendly fire.

Anyways, kids always seem cooler and more fun when you you don't have to deal with them 24/7. I.E. not your kids.

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I have a really hard time getting into most 3D games, and I tend to gravitate more 2D games. The games I've really liked in this current generation of PS3, 360, and Wii, are games like Kirby Epic Yarn, Muramasa, Super Paper Mario. Yeah all Wii games. I believe the Wii is the best console for gamers like me that appreciate the times gone by of games that cared less about graphics and more about providing a good experience overall.

I guarantee you Vanillaware paid MUCH more attention to detail in their art than most game devs do with their 3d models.

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After years from the time that I had made a crappy thread about this matter, I would say that a person who can play any game and understand its concept, the greatness of execution it had for its time, and its generational impact has a good judgment of video games.

Being that we have grown from 2-D to 3-D, polygons to CGI, bleeps to symphonies and more, we choose to understand the games that we are playing, and to know if it lead to the greatness of modern games (that are great).

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Funny, my <18 family members are aware of the greatness of yesterday's games. They can see the pluses and detect the flaws with ease. Also, they exclaim that a lot of the classics were given the necessary elements needed for their longevity. This exceeds numbers and popularity. However, with games such as Cheetahmen, Street Fighter 2010 and Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, we are very much aware that the games that sucked didn't get much attention for that very fact... they just plain sucked.

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Funny, my <18 family members are aware of the greatness of yesterday's games. They can see the pluses and detect the flaws with ease. Also, they exclaim that a lot of the classics were given the necessary elements needed for their longevity. This exceeds numbers and popularity. However, with games such as Cheetahmen, Street Fighter 2010 and Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, we are very much aware that the games that sucked didn't get much attention for that very fact... they just plain sucked.

Till the AVGN reviews them. Then suddenly everone is in a rush to play some of them.

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