Nostalgia by Bloggs

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NOSTALGIA.

I’ve had a gutful.

Fallout 3’s the game that recently aroused my ire- although it’s not so much the game as the reaction to it. The whiny, unpleasable, fan-dumb reaction to it. Now, I’ve played a bit of the game, and as far as I’m concerned, it can be officially regarded as Pretty Sweet™. It’s got the Joe Bloggs Seal Of Approval. But Jezus, according to the fan base, the whole thing would have had to be a constant 80-hour sidequest-filled blowjob to match up to the INCREDIBLE, LIFE-AFFIRMING Fallout 1 and 2. Reviews of the new contender were filled to the brim with phrases like “It’s good- but can it live up to its legacy?”

I can’t claim to have played either of the (no-doubt fantastic, I’m sure) original fallout games, but the whole debate quickly became moot when I looked through some reviews Namely These Fallout Metacritic ( Fallout 3 Metacritic and noticed that Fallout 3 actually rated higher than the original- an 89 to the newbie’s 93. A poor score for one of the best damn games of all time, I’d think- so, Fallout 1’s obvious brilliance wasn’t immediately recognized by the gaming press? The gaming press overhyped Fallout 3 with dishonest reviews?

Worse, I noticed, starting to laugh, the reviews of the original Fallout were calling it the Spiritual Successor to some now-forgotten RPG called “Wasteland”- wait for it-which they were calling one of the best RPG’s of all time.

In that one moment, I could suddenly see it all, in one big thread stretching back to creation. Wasteland was probably originally compared unfavourably with some even older creation rendered only in ascii art, which was itself called a boring rip-off of some dark-age creation played on the oscilloscope, which reviewers said had none of the spice and originality of freaking PONG, which, itself, had people grousing about the days when all they had was pictures on the cave walls, and that was damn well good enough for them.

And some day, far in the uncharted future, some future space-reviewer will lean back in his chrome-plated hover-chair, have a sip of cyber-wine, look out at a particularly amusing VR simulation thoughtfully and say-

“It’s good.

But is it FALLOUT 3 good?”

For those who need it spelled out to them, I’m not having a go at the Fallout franchise. I’m sure they’re great games. I’m not even having a go at reviewers, or RPGs in general. I’m talking about the fact that, apparently, no game is ever as good as the game released a few years before it. Fallout 3 isn’t as good as Fallout 2, which was a sad misinterpretation of Fallout 1. Deus Ex 3 will not be good enough to kiss Deus Ex’s multiple-pathed boots. Super Smash Bros. Brawl was a carbon-copy imitator of Super Smash Bros. Mêlée, with none of the latter’s pizzazz and spunk. Half life 2 sucks when compared to Half Life, which itself was just another Doom clone. Games have just been on a terrible downward slide for the entirety of their existence, getting worse and worse with each game created.

Except, of course, that’s bullshit.

If I can be the one to call us out on this: The technology people use to make games has been getting progressively better and better. No-one’s arguing that, right? And the people who are making games- stay with me here- are not getting any worse. So games, therefore, unless the people who make games have been suffering some sort of mass-brain damage recently, are getting better and better.

There’d probably be a mass outcry to that last sentence, if anyone actually read this blog. Seeing as there’s not, I’m going to continue as if I’ve been suddenly asked a bunch of angry question by a pitchfork-wielding hoard of nostalgia-crazed fans.

“But duuuude, games back then had much better economy of design and the beauty of simpliciiiiityyyy” The shambling creatures would cry. “Modern games are overly influenced by fooocus grooooups and getting the increasingly large amounts of money they pour into the game baaaaack, so that there’s no real innovaaaatioooon. Graphic s should be a secondary conceeeeeeern grah grah grah braains.”

Legitimate arguments all, unwashed masses. But, c’mon guys, let’s be fair- past games were hardly just one incredible innovative gem after another- and the fact that they’re putting huge tons of money into them makes them really good games. Hey, if you want non-graphics intensive Innovation, the Indie games scene( TIGsource ) is still putting it out in spades. Can you honestly look at a page of stuff like this( Cinemassacre ) and say you’d prefer to be living back then?

But, the past is always better than the present, for some reason. Time heals all wounds, and that shitty interface and instant-death platforming that gave you a huge headache in your youth will be fondly remembered as an adult. Nostalgia, folks, clear and simple.

I fall prey to this as well, I have to admit. Adventure Games are my fond memories of choice, and I’m personally terrified about what they’re going to do to Monkey Island over here( Tales of Monkey Island )- Will it ever be able to measure up to the originals, etc. And, of course, there’s a ton of cash-cow farming enterprises that seem to delight in making terrible sequels to games you once loved. I’ll list the childhood-memory raping Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts ( Banjo-Kazooie Nuts n’ Bolts ) and leave it at that.

(VEHICALS, MAN. BANJO DOESN’T RIDE, HE FREAKING JUMPS. AAARGH.)

But, there’s a time when you have to look back at the games you thought you loved- look back at an article like this( OldManMurray ), and realise-

“Hang on.

That game was actually pretty shit.”

So, come on people, let’s not get hung up on the past. It was great. We had some good times. And hey, good old games deserve to be remembered. There’s a reason people obsess about them so much. The past was great fun, while it lasted. But- let’s stop this bloody glorification of it, ok? If I read one more article about how old game X is better than new game Y, or how the demise of adventure games shows how gamers have become morons( Adventure Gamers ), or how gaming these days just isn’t the same( Games suck these days ), I’m going to spew high-definition bloom-lighted vomit all over the place.

Honestly. It’s not the game that you think was better than today- it’s the memories it gives you. So, can we, as a group, try and sort of admit:

New games are pretty cool, actually?

Drowning in Pixelated Nostalgia-
-Joe Bloggs.

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