If you grew up in the ’90s, then you were privileged enough to remember a simpler time that did away with annoying gaming-related stuff like shitty lag and unnecessary microtransactions which involve real cash. You can definitely say that gaming graphics during that time won't even make it as mobile phone material today, but we really don't care. Because what that decade lacked in visuals it more than made up for in other departments.
With that in mind, let us now recall the factors that made the ’90s gaming experience totally awesome and, quite possibly, even better than today. (Okay, we’re being a bit biased here but allow us tandercats gamers their time to shine, youngins.)
NO DLCS AND MICROTRANSACTIONS
Ah yes, us titos and titas of gaming vividly remember a time when you could actually play through a whole video game in its entirety—bonus campaigns and all. Heck, games like the PlayStation One era Final Fantasy games and the Lunar series went through two to three CDs just to give you the full experience. Can you imagine Final Fantasy VII being made today? They’d probably release the sidequests as a separate downloadable content (DLC)!
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Now DLCs are great for expanding the game’s universe via extra downloadable missions for its own title. But it’s complete bull when you’re withholding something vital to the storyline. Asura’s Wrath for example, required that you purchase several more downloadable campaigns in order to play through the true ending. What. The. Heck.
NO INTERNET REQUIRED
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Translation: No lag (unless, of course, your rig is already crappy to begin with). Staring at our frozen screen is a bitter reminder that our country has one of the slowest Internet connections in the world. Definitely not conducive for raiding virtual caves and killing in-game baddies. LAN parties, anyone? Just invite a bunch of your bros over to hook up their PCs and you’ve got a nerd party going on. Plus, you get the bonus of having actual human interaction since you’ve probably gotten pasty-faced from playing Doom 2 all week. Social skills +10.
LESS GRAPHICS, BETTER GAMEPLAY
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We appreciate realistic graphics and well-rendered characters as much as the next geek but there’s a strange charm to the pixelated-beyond-recognition games back then. Because of the limited capabilities of yesteryear’s consoles and desktops, game devs poured all their effort into the mechanics. So games like Super Mario, Earthbound, and Earthworm Jim might not look like much now but still had stellar gameplay. As of late, there’s been an influx of "retro" games on Steam harking back to that gameplay-intensive style because, you know, there's still demand.
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Trash talking online and hiding behind your monitor and headset is child’s play. However, talking smack in someone’s face while you’re inside their house raiding the fridge and invading their couch takes balls. Games like the N64’s GoldenEye taught us the joys and horrors of multiplayer gaming. The physical shoving, stealthy peeking at someone else’s splitscreen, the pikunan, the camping—couch co-op was where lasting friendships were made.
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Okay, it was kind of a hassle to go all the way to the damn save point but hey, it taught us discipline and dedication. Auto-save is the lazy-ass route. Plus, you can’t undo your idiocy a few actions back—too much like real life. Memory cards, like the ones for the old school PlayStation, were also built to last decades.
NO NEED FOR PERIPHERALS
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These days you need some extra shit to plug in to make some games work. There’s an influx of toys (Amiibo, Disney Infinity, Skylanders, and so on) out on the market that are supposedly vital to your absolute enjoyment of a video game. In the NES days, you just shoved in that cartridge and you're good to go. (Okay they tried to make peripherals like the NES Power Glove but yeah, that didn’t really fly)
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Hard work and dedication is required for plowing through particularly difficult video games. But sometimes, we just wanna revel in our god complex and say "F*ck it!" and punch in a cheat code to provide nigh invulnerability or infinite riches for ourselves. Old school games had a lot these quick-fix codes that allowed gamers to just mess around. And if we didn't have a game's codes, we’d use the good ol' Game Shark/Game Genie cheat systems. But when in doubt, Konami code. Always.
THE 500-IN-1 CARTRIDGES
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Okay, so maybe two-thirds of the games in 500- or 1000-in-1 Family Computer cartridges are usually copies or don't even work at all. Still, having one gave us that tingly sensation associated with the thought of exploring (and hopefully finishing) each and every game it offers. Plus, even if you take away the duplicates and non-working ones, that's still hundreds of legit games you can play. Can you honestly say your current Xbox One or PC stash have more titles? We thought so.