New Generation of Gamers

Now that kids from the late 70s early 80s are grown up and have kids of their own, what do you think is the biggest challenge in having them enjoy classic games? I was born right around the introduction of the NES to the US market but I don’t have kids. I think one hurdle is the primitive graphics of early games but one could argue the 8 bit look is making a comeback. Maybe its the absence of online gaming? What do parents and non parents think?

I didn’t get into gaming until the Gamecube era, and I know that games without save checkpoints bother me. I tried to play my boyfriend’s copy of Mega Man ZX and feeling dumbfounded that there was no checkpoint before the boss. And I realize that first gen games didn’t have the ability to save at all and that led to the passcode system, but UGH.

That’s true, something I didn’t think of. The ability to save whenever you want or to have a checkpoint before a tough part makes things easier. Plus those old games are really hard (most of them). That could deter someone. Mega Man games are known for being difficult.

I grew up in that era, but I don’t have kids yet. I’ll let you know in a few years.

I will be patiently waiting :smile:

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My 600 Games project is kind of a direct response to this. My 4-year old is just getting into gaming and I know my 2-year old won’t be far behind. I want them to know the joy of slamming a plastic cartridge into a game console, flicking the power button and just having it “work”. I have shelves lined with custom game cases to recreate that feeling of browsing video store shelves for your next rental.

I’m also (evil) not letting her play anything newer than 16 bit games for the time being, at least until she’s got a better handle on mechanics… and also can read… After that I’ll open the N64 and maybe Gamecube up to her. My PS1 collection is mostly RPG’s so…

Right now she’s way into Super Mario 3, and she prefers the NES version. She gets SUPER excited whenever she beats a new level.

Just tryin’ to raise her right :smiley:


That’s really cool. I follow your reviews, which I enjoy very much, and I do recall you posted a picture of a youngster playing some NES classic. Has she played any mobile games or anything recent? This is a really fascinating scenario, because if she is getting into gaming fresh from the beginning of video games then it would be like us playing NES for the first time when we were her age.

That’s pretty much the idea. I want to recreate that for her as much as possible so I’m “forcing” her to stick with the older generations before opening up newer consoles to her. Very first game she beat was actually Castle of Illusion. The exception to that is Mario Maker, which I let her play. It’s cleaner than coloring and the creative implications are huge. Even then she says she doesn’t like the New Super Mario theme as much as the others lol.

No kids yet, but there should be some on the way. I’m almost 30 and I don’t want to be raising puppies when I’m grizzly.

I dunno how I feel about that. I think some newer games still sort of have that simplistic magic charm that kinda shines through even though they are using 8-bit style graphics and old game mechanics. Some games are timeless and some games age horribly. A timeless game will have no problem capturing the heart of the younger generation of gamers. I think most of the Mario games have this quality.

I really wish there were more games that had awesome family bloodlines, Belmont from Castlevania style. I really like the idea of a series of games building on a family line and a generation by generation. Saga Frontier 2 kinda sorta did this in the same game (you play a guy and his son, and his grandson). Suikoden has many recurring non-canonical characters. But I want to play CRASH FISTFIGHT, be awesome and save the world, and then play his son MAX FISTFIGHT, save the world from some other disaster, and then play his grand-daughter MERCY FISTFIGHT and the grand daughter is the strongest of them all due to awesome lineage and secret arts passed down.

That was a tangent.

Anyways, I can’t wait till I’m 70 and in a nursing home and everyone in the nursing home plays video games all day and we all get together 3 days out of the week to play some random oldschool game that will be ancient by then like Smash Bros or Street Fighter, maybe a little Super Mario Bros, some Starcraft. Golden-Eye, etc.

That’s true. Timeless games are always fun and exciting despite how old they are.

I’m a big fan of the Castlevania games and I love the story line. There’s a certain charm to watching the Belmont family progress and the games are just awesome with unforgettable music.

That would be amazing!! I wonder if they would be all emulators by then? My 30 year old NES is still working great so maybe the hardware would still be original…probably not though.

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To be specific, I’m not BANNING my kids from newer games, and one of the big reasons I keep things simple for her is kinda funny… her hands aren’t big enough to really manage anything other than an NES controller. I also want to keep her on a bit of a learning curve, mechanically. We actually tried starting her on Wii games, figuring the motion controls would be more intuitive, but all we got was “it’s too hard” and getting the remote shoved back. So, I figured the best thing to do was have her start where I started!

I heat the New Generation of Gamers they don’t play my games…
they have there oun legends one day one of them will say I heat the New Generation of Gamers they don’t play my game.

True. Same for a lot of things. Music, movies, tv shows. Maybe books but I feel like the Odyssey written thousands of years ago is still popular.

I think kids are way more savvy than we give them credit for. I think young people totally “get it” with the whole 8-bit stuff and retro gaming in general. Games like Super Meat Boy that take retro gameplay elements are popular for young people, and things like Minecraft are really popular and use lots of pixel stuff, even if the young ones don’t realise that this style is a nod toward the olden times. It’s funny though because often pixel art just looks nicer and neater, even to someone totally unfamiliar with games. Look at Monkey Island 1 compared to Monkey Island 3. Even a isolated tribesman in the amazonian wilderness would recognise the neat and simple beauty of pixel art by comparison.

I always joked with my girlfriend if we ever have a kid I’m going to lock him in a basement and pretend we’re in a post-apocalyptic nuclear disaster scenario… set all the clocks and calendars to the late eighties and say “this is what gaming is” and present him/her with an MS-DOS 386/486. I would be so crushed if my kids didn’t appreciate the brilliance of things like Crystal Caves or Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure (or for console people, the equivalent would be the original Mario or Zelda on NES or whatever).

At the end of the day though, the truth is that graphics don’t really matter. It’s more about gameplay. A game can look absolutely horrible and it can still be a masterpiece if the gameplay is on point. Aesthetics are just a bonus points. Again Minecraft is a perfect example, most popular game in the world (especially among young people) but it looks like crap. Things like Pewdiepie’s game thing (Legend of the Brofist? I haven’t played it.) are huge with kids, and they use SNES-style graphics, kids lap it up. Even something like PacMan or Pong I think kids will still appreciate because ultimately a pretty game is worthless if the gameplay stinks. Look at Arkham Knight for example.

If you look at Metacritic (which is a really bad metric to gauge popularity, I realise, but still) you’ll see Shovel Knight and Fez right up there in the “top ten greatest games of all time”. So I wouldn’t worry, I think the kids get it. :relaxed:

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I think it may partially depend on what games kids are playing first and if they have some expectations about how all games should look. But I agree with you game play is what matters not graphics. Some games have a unique art style and have the rest to go along with it like:

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like people think you’re not a true gamer unless you have the newest and most expensive console and maybe those misconceptions get passed along to the wee ones. But then again, there are 8 bit games on those consoles too. So I don’t know what my point is.

Something else brought up is the challenge of old games, where you have no checkpoints, very few lives and maybe a continue if you’re lucky. I would want my kids (if I had any) to try out Ninja Gaiden, but that game is insanity in a cartridge. But it’s still lots of fun. But anyway. I agree, I think kids will like the classics.

It’s true actually I guess there’s a range of kids, and it depends on parents as well. I remember when I was young you’ve got some kids that are just assholes lol, and they totally won’t get it. I remember 3-4 years ago I was on the train and eavesdropping on some young teens, they kept talking on and on about “cod”. Saying things like “yeah man, the new cod is awesome, but I got cod last year, that one was great”. And I was thinking to myself "what the hell is with young people these days, I thought they were neomillenials, not fishing fanatics… talking about cod and mackeral and snapper, what on earth is going on? Later a friend explained to me that “COD” is an acronym for Call of Duty, lol, I seriously throught they were talking about fishing.

Anyway I’ve gone off topic, but I think a lot of young punks would be into COD garbage and Destiny and stuff like that and would completely ignore the retro stuff it’s true.

Some kids want the fancy Kevin Spacey melty-face-scan technology on their latest flashy new console. But that’s the thing… many of these new AAA games aren’t really games at all, they’re more like linear interactive movies.When I was young there were jocks and it was the nerds who played with computers. Nowadays the “jocks” are playing COD and bad interactive-movie games with lots of QTE elements and stuff like that.
In reality “gamer” is a bit of a silly nonsense term. Who is a “true gamer” I think it’s just anyone who plays a lot of games, even if they’re bad ones. If a 40 year old mother has never heard of Dark Souls or Zelda but she spends a lot of her time on Farmville and Bejewelled, well, she’s a gamer. It’s just a different sort of gamer. In fact probably most gamers these days spend the bulk of their time on microtransaction games and facebook games and stuff like that. The definition of a “true gamer” is totally subjective.

We’ve definitely been really spoilt but I think game design is changing, people have realised that games got too easy with “save at any time” functions. Designers are realising that brutal games are fun because you get such a profound sense of achievement. Things like the Dark Souls series or Super Meat Boy, or even more awfully-difficult stiff like I Wanna Be The Guy.

We’re still spoilt though these days with emulators and save states, and I’m definitely guilty of that. I remember a couple years ago I set a goal for myself, I wanted to beat Battletoads the original on NES, one of the hardest games on the NES system. I couldn’t get far, even with save states. It was really cool the other night to see Mike from Cinemassacre beating Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on NES, using a real nes with real controller, no save states, no nonsense (and you’ve got channels like “The Game Chasers”. You get so much joy and a profound sense of fulfilment when you defeat these intense challenges. It’s great that indie games are going back this way and even the big studios are seeing the benefits.

I had a monkey on my back for a decade, I never beat System Shock 2 and it always haunted me, but in 2013 I finally went back and did it and it was amazing. Two games that still haunt me to this day are GODS (a DOS/Amiga platformer 1991) and Monster Bash (DOS, 1993). I spent so many endless hours on those two games as a kid, I got so close but I’ve never beaten them. They haunt my subconscious, mocking me daily. Totally brutal. Now I have the luxury of playing these classics on my huge lounge monitor with a controller, is that cheating though haha? Some day I really have to put a week aside and finally beat those two games, it’s been over 20 years, it’s soon time for my revenge.

But, back on topic (sorry so much rambling and off-topic stuff in this post) you gotta also take into account that we’re seeing this through a different lens. I remember my grandfather trying to get me amped up about HAM radio and 78 RPM records and I was bored to death and totally uninterested. Perhaps we’re stuck in the past and we have to accept that all these old gems, their memories might die with us. With VR coming and stuff, 200 years from now who’s going to give a crap about DOS/NES gaming? In the end everything eventually turns to dust. It breaks my heart to looks at my beautiful lovingly-cared for book collection (some of them really rare/out of print masterpieces like the Codex Seraphanianus and I think, where will all my books be in 200, 300 years? Best case scenarion for 20 cents a pop at a thirft store, but more likely chucked in landfill as the pages yellow and the glues inevitably come apart. Same with old electronics, all these old systems are dying out. I’ve been trying to get my hands on an old MS-DOS 386/486 for years but they simply don’t exist any more and they don’t even manufacture the parts.

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Well written I totally agree with everything. I still like to think there will be some museum or emulator system preserved in the future for the classics. There probably is a museum just for video games. To the Google!:
So hopefully they all won’t fade away but they probably will in 100 years. But who’s to say?

I may not have conveyed my ideas as I had hoped. When I think of true gamer, I’m talking about someone who plays or has played thousands of games. They have all the systems and they’re current with the technology. It’s their main hobby and they are dedicated. Sure there might not be a lot of people like that. I do agree that a true gamer can be anyone who spends a good amount of time playing games whether it’s games from the 80’s and 90’s or current games. I just have this memory stuck in my head of when I went to a GameStop and picked up:

for $4. This was early 2000’s. People there were ragging on me saying things like “have fun with your two button controller.” So I pictured those people as the face of gaming and I was just some esoteric collector of out of date games.

Thanks to the wonderful power of the internet, unless there’s some crazy solar flare/EMP bomb/gamma ray burst then hopefully everything with have some persistence for the foreseeable future. Sites like Internet Archive: Wayback Machine are absolutely wonderful. A touching story: one of my favourite authors of all time was Hugh Cook an extremely obscure failed author, all of whose books are out of print, which is sad because I think he is one of the greatest writers of our generation, far superior to Tolkein. I managed to collect all of his books but they’re impossible to find now in hard copy. He sadly died of cancer 5 years or so ago and his website/domain obviously wasn’t paid for, and thus his huge body of work (short stories, blogs, entire novels, etc he put on his website) vanished. But thanks to services like this I all this stuff is still intact and accessible: also have their somewhat buggy and controversial online dos game archive, playable through the browser! This site is an online museum of old games and it’s a beauty to behold, despite little issues here and there. Have you seen it? The library is extensive, 2500+ games. Wonderful stuff:

I see your point, however it comes back to gameplay. Those guys are disconnected from reality. Your see these Razor mouses with their 15 button, 8 toggle switches and inbuild touchscreen and 4 scroll wheels, plus changing RGB under-mounted LED lighting. If I buy this $160 “gaming mouse” does that make me a hardcore gamer? Those guys certainly thought so. But it all comes back to gameplay. I would much rather spend 3-4 hours on Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (1986) than even 30 seconds on Arkham Knight. Good gameplay is good gameplay regardless of the system. Chess is popular and has great gameplay, and really the “gaming machine” is just a bunch of rocks on a piece of cardboard yet it’s a masterpiece and has been since time immemorial.

Part of it is nostalgia, that’s true. Why spend hundreds hunting down old systems and cartridges on eBay when you can download all this stuff and emulate (or play it through the browser even) for free? I guess we’re guilty of the nostalgia; wanting to re-live that childhood wonder. But we’re all guilty of it. Everyone has strange passions, it’s good to do what makes one happy. Most people spend their free time watching men running around in circles on a grass field chasing an inflated leather sphere around, that’s absolutely bizarre to me. Many girls spend all their money on thousands of pairs of expensive shoes that they never actually wear. I guess it’s part of being human. Not exactly sure what point I’m trying to make in this paragraph, but I’m sure there’s a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere lol.

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I agree. It’s never quite the same though. I mean, playing NES or DOS games for the first time is awesome, even today. But childhood excitement can’t be re-created to the same degree. I still get pumped about things, but not like running around the house screaming excited. I think we definitely touched on some interesting points. Value of gameplay vs graphics, timelessness of games and how to preserve them, nostalgia and how that gets passed down to the next line of gamers. Increasing difficulty in games and the retro look becoming popular maybe even in the AAAs. What did I miss?

I think you cleverly concentrated everything down into a neat little parcel, something that I seem incapable of doing myself!

I remember the absolute wonder and disbelief and awe of games as they evolved. I remember playing DOOM for the first time… I seriously couldn’t breathe, it was so exciting, so visceral, and the graphics! Nowadays it looks a bit old a goofy (although actually there’s something called Brutal Doom I played recently that recreated that wonder for me by injecting some modern elements into that old game).

Perhaps that might be a really good way to bring these gems back. Tweak them a little. Just imagine getting an old classic but then just putting in a checkpoint system or taking it down a notch on the “3 lives game over” thing. Save states are a step too far (some emulators even have a ‘rewind’ function, like Braid), it would be cool if there was an emulator that would take classic games and insert mechanic similar to Shovel Knight. Or perhaps only allow a limited amount of save/load-states per hour or something. That’s one thing that’s unforgivable about some old games: where if you die you have to start again from level 1, redo an entire 3 hours of gameplay or whatever. I can understand why kids today would get frustrated with a mechanic like that, even myself I can’t stomach it.

I had this discussion recently on the difference between “hard” and “challenging” or something. A good game is hard, even brutal, but it should be fair and allow you to learn and get better. I think that’s why the Dark Souls series is so good… when you die, it’s because you screwed up, it’s not because the game has trolled you. Spelunky is another good example. That game is so hard. I’ve been playing it regularly for 2 or 3 years and I still haven’t beaten it. But it’s (usually) fair with solid mechanics. It’s hard but fair.

We’re in a very different and fascinating time in games. Indie devs now have all the tools and a lot of the power. One dude in a basement can make more money than a team of 300 working on a AAA title. So finally the power seems to be in the hands of the players. There are literally millions of indie games, in fact I’ve made a game, anyone can do it now. I’m thinking that’s probably the future of gaming really… the user-created content. Procedural generation, but also things like minecraft. It’s exciting times. I really want to make a 3D game! I think I’ll start learning how in the coming months.