Tuesday, August 12, 2014

3 Reasons Why the Old School Era was Not Always Perfect

It is very possible that you have heard the term "old school gaming" or are an "old school gamer" yourself. If you are one of those who were raised on previous gaming eras like the 8-16-32 bit eras, consider this one a nostalgia trip, but if you are younger than that you will learn today that old school gamers were not always the "privileged kids" that years of the nostalgia trip of others would make you believe. Sure, we had awesome games that had very high quality standards in terms of game design and content, but there were some details that from a kid or teen perspective will sound as if those times were the dark ages of gaming. Let's see some of those things that prevented those times from been perfect.

Note: Take into account that these reasons apply mostly to people that lived through the old school days from the late 80's and 90's either as a kid or a teenager.

doom annoying teacher
We still have some of that annoying anti-gaming stuff, but if you lived on the retro days, you know it was way worse.
Video games had a worst reputation than now and we got the worst part of it.

In our present day, there is a big deal of controversy surrounding some games and sometimes even getting to ridiculous lengths when narrow-minded people fail to distinguish the difference between fiction and reality. Now, back at the old school times, the controversy wasn't just about some games, but about the whole industry itself. We as kids had to endure all the anti-gaming propaganda of the late 80's and early 90's when the whole concept of video games was considered the enemy of students and electric service bills. Kids on those times had to settle with restricted gaming hours often playing just a few per week (mostly on weekends), extreme social criticism of anything that looked remotely violent in a game and the false notion that the gaming consoles of the time were power hogs that beefed up the bill. This meant that even if we had great games, many of us were not having enough time to play them all. This went on at least until we were older and our parents stopped making these draconian rules based on the bad rep that games were having at the time.

There was a flood of misleading products way worse than on these times.

There are good products, crappy products and crappy products advertised as if they were the holy grail of consumer entertainment. On our present time we have a weapon against those "holy grail" products and that weapon is the internet. Now picture those days when the net was not a common thing and all we had as kids/teens was the TV, magazines and word of mouth. We had to separate the treasures from the trash in wave after wave of presumptuous advertising (especially on the holiday season) where hardware companies were basically telling us that their product was the most revolutionary thing ever. If you don't believe it, go watch some retro 1990 game peripheral adverts on you tube. These over the top adverts put our imaginations on overload mode so we ran to our parents and begged them to waste some money in useless stuff or desperately try to save the money ourselves. We had so much self-made faith in these kinds of things that the disappointments became really bad, to the point that up to this day most of us have lost all trust in advertising which is kind of a good thing, but it was a piece of wisdom that didn't come cheap.

Broke Gamer
The truth for many old school gamers back in the day,  getting to the games dollar by dollar.
There weren't many special deals on stores.

Nowadays we have a lot of deals coming from different stores retailer and not, but back at the day if you wanted to get a new release, you had to pay the full price hands down almost without any kind of deal or compensation. Shell out the 50+ dollars and get the game. That was pretty much it, without any special bargain offer, boosted trade in value or pre-order bonus. So back then we had parents that thought that gaming was going to make us flunk all classes and no incentive for them to buy you the games or make it easier for us to get them by ourselves. This meant that many times we had to save our lunch money and/or become some sort of slave on the house in order to get the money for a new game. The other option was to wait a couple years until the game landed at a bargain bin on any game or toy store, but most of the time we preferred to go the distance instead of waiting. Specials deals and stuff came up halfway through the 32 bit era, but by that time most of us were old enough to get our own game money or we could just borrow them from a friend since that era was well known for the game borrowing networks that were made by friends, neighbors, etc. If you want a figure of how hard it was to get a game check this out. A game that costed 50 dollars on the old school era would cost 87.80 on these days. Now imagine been a jobless kid or teen shelling almost 90 bucks for each game today (or asking your parents to do so), without the advantage of special deals.

Old School Gamer
Old school certified.
Wrapping things up

These 3 reasons really wrap up the whole concept as they intertwine between each other. Don't get me wrong I was raised through the 8 to 32 bit eras and I loved any minute of it, but it is interesting to get a little insight on how difficult it was to be a gamer back then if you were not rich or at least lucky. Erroneous "social" notions about games limited our playing time, we lost precious time/money with hardware that was useless and when we wanted to get a game we had to either beg to our parents or really work (taking the word "work" quite loosely here because most of us just were kids or teens by the time) in order to get the games we wanted. How did we managed to have so much fun at those times you ask? Maybe we did the best we could with what we had and that is why we enjoyed it so much.

The Inflation Calculator

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