The landscape of video gaming is in a constantly fluctuating state. Every year, we experience new innovations in the technology behind the platform. From the rise of ray tracing to teases of the next generation of games consoles, there is always something exciting to see in the world of video games. But as we move forward, we shouldn’t forget to also look back. The video game industry is built on foundations of genuinely incredible games that range from works of near-perfection to titles that set new standards for developers and gamers alike.
Akin to classic movies that any cinephile really can’t afford to miss, from the works of Stanley Kubrick and Hitchcock to even more modern classics like Cameron’s Terminator or the Alien series, fans of gaming should always be looking to not only get the most of the present day but also revisit the past to experience the very best gaming has to offer.
But with so much on the gaming slate ahead of us, what reasons are there, really, to go back?
Graphics Aren’t Everything
Compare Mario Kart: Double Dash of 2003 to Mario Kart 8 of 2014, and the difference is like putting a Rembrandt up against your doodle on Draw Something. But, from an entertainment standpoint, this means very little. Despite being released 11 years apart and featuring widely different graphical capabilities, both games hold exactly the same user score on review aggregator Metacritic — 8.6 and 8.6.
The 21st century and, specifically, more recent years, has seen the graphical potential of games skyrocket. 4K consoles now provide a truly immersive visual experience and one that can really capture your imagination. However, at the end of the day, a beautiful landscape and realistic rain doesn’t make a game fun. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for N64 is widely regarded as one of the best games ever made. That fact isn’t changed by the fact that Link has a flat and pixelated face with cartoonish, drawn-on eyes.
The gameplay is what really captivates us, which is why classic games are always worth a revisit. No matter how technology advances, the fun behind the title is what matters, and sometimes that’s like lightning in a bottle. You’ll only ever see it once in a rare place, and to experience that magic, you have to go back.
Unmissable Gaming Narratives
Many games these days, from Fortnite to Ark: Survival, have lost the love of storytelling in favor of action and gameplay. There is nothing wrong with this evolution, and the shift in focus can result in some mind-blowing experiences, but you lose something as well.
Plenty of great games of the past are not built upon their mechanics but their intense story and unfolding drama. Titles like Half-Life 2, Resident Evil and Final Fantasy might not bring the epic, instant-action intensity of Call of Duty, but they do take you on a journey and immerse you in a different world.
These stories are unique to the games that produced them. You can’t revel in the creepy, dangerous, intoxicating tales of Bioshock without playing that specific title, for example, and some of the best fantasy games, like Fable and the Elder Scrolls series, provide one-of-a-kind narrative experiences that cannot be missed.
The only way to experience these stories is to revisit the classic game.
Classic Games Are So Easily Available
Previously, one of the major deterring factors of playing classic video games was their accessibility. Most people don’t own an Xbox 360 or PS3 anymore, let alone a Windows 98 computer or Nintendo 64 capable of powering relics of the gaming world. Modern gamers are more used to modern innovations. They buy games online and download them quickly and instantly. Nobody but the most hardcore of nostalgia-seeking gamers want to spend their time hunting down vintage consoles or trying to locate a copy of Age of Empires.
But these days, accessibility isn’t the barrier it once was.
There are plenty of remakes of consoles out there, from SNES to Sega, while backward compatibility is becoming ever more widely used, and online download platforms are enabling PC gamers to go back and experience the classics with the same ease of access they have to titles released only yesterday.
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