The video game industry has come a very long way. The technological advancements that define our entertainment experiences: HD graphics, 3D capability and motion gameplay for example, were nothing more than the abstract ramblings of a mad man during the 1990’s. Though simple by today’s standards, video games of the past were able to captivate the imaginations of millions, creating a foundation for many of the industry exploits today.
Do you remember when Nintendo came out with the Game Boy Color, or when the PlayStation was released and gamers were introduced to fully 3D graphics? Moments like these mark more than just significant milestones in the industry, they represent cherished moments for individuals, the memories that drive our insatiable gaming habit into the future.
I was born in the 90’s, and although my first gaming console was the NES, the Nintendo 64 initiated my love for video games. The classic titles and franchises that characterize the decade were not all stellar releases on today’s scale, but they each possessed a unique charm and innovation that made up for less-than-perfect graphics or sound. Without the insistence on state-of-the-art visuals, developers were forced to capture our imaginations through other means: gameplay, creativity, plot depth, and individuality.
Think about the Square Enix (previously Squaresoft) for example. The Final Fantasy series was able to forge a connection between gamers and its series’ characters despite a complete lack of voice-overs. Developers inspired a rare relationship between the player and the character, one that is difficult to even achieve in 2012. Fans of the franchise are still holding out for a Final Fantasy 7 remake, 15 years after the game’s release, obviously the creators did something right.
When video games transcend their time, become unforgettable experiences regardless of technological limitations, they can be dubbed true masterpieces. The combination of quality, innovation, and fond associated memories is what makes classic titles rank above our modern, high-budget gaming blockbusters.
When thinking back through your gaming past, which memories stand out? What titles got you hooked on video games?
Editor’s Note: I was hit with a wave of video game nostalgia today after writing this article and decided to bust out my N64 to play some of my childhood favorites: Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Yoshi’s Story, Goldeneye, Starfox 64, Pokemon Snap, Banjo Kazooie. Good times let me tell you.