December 1, 2008

Nostalgia Makes Gamers Crazy

Andrew Weymes (aka MrWeymes) Says: Nostalgia is a formidable beast in the video game industry. Current video games look better, play better, and have more narrative than video games on previous consoles.

However, most older gamers in their late 20s, or 30s are very quick to tell you that Final Fantasy 3 is the best RPG of all time, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the best action adventure game of all time, and that Super Mario Bros. 3 is the best platformer of all time. Slightly younger gamers in their late teens or early 20s, who started playing video games on the Playstation 1 and Nintendo 64, are likely to tell you that Final Fantasy 7 is the best RPG of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time holds the action adventure crown, and that Super Mario 64 is still the best platformer they ever played.

People who proclaim things such as this need to take their nostalgia glasses off, enjoy games on the current consoles, and remind themselves that they have been playing video games for either 10, or 20 years, and that of course they are a little jaded when it comes to video games.

After years of playing video games, it becomes apparent to a gamer that in a JRPG, the lead character is probably going to be a young male, he's going to have a love interest who will also be in your party, she's going to be cute, and he's going to have to save the world from a villain. In an action adventure game, there is a good chance that you’ll need a new item before you can get to an area that is out of reach, and in a platformer it's fairly obvious that you will need to jump at some point.

These are the formulas that most games in their individual genres follow. New gamers probably don't notice these formulas for a while, but video game veterans are always quick to point them out. Being formulaic shouldn't lower your opinion of a video game.

Is the game nice to look at? Is the story interesting? Are the characters interesting? Is the game fun? Does the game have good controls? These are some of the questions that veteran gamers need to ask themselves. In your heart, no game is ever going to replace the first few amazing games you played, but that doesn't mean that those games are as good as you remember.

For example, there is probably a young gamer somewhere in the world playing his or her first JRPG, Blue Dragon. That gamer is probably going to remember that game for the rest of his or her life as an amazing gaming experience that got him or her more interested in the video game universe. Does this mean that Blue Dragon is better than a highly rated JRPG that will eventually come out on the Playstation 5? No, it just means that people remember things a lot better than they actually were. Blue Dragon may have been uninspired and average to many JRPG fans, but for relatively new gamers, it's likely that the turn based combat system was addictive, and the story was enthralling.

Here are five games that are touted as the best in their genre by legions of fans. Beside them will be current games that are just as good, or better if you were to take your nostalgia glasses off.

Final Fantasy 7 (Playstation 1)Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintedo Wii)
Super Mario Bros. 3 (Nintendo)Little Big Planet (Playstation 3)
Silent Hill (Playstation 1)Silent Hill: Homecoming (Playstation 3, Xbox 360)
Golden Eye 007 (Nintendo 64)Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (Playstation 3, Xbox 360)

Current video games are technically better than older video games in every way. People refuse to acknowledge this because of their memories of these past games, but the reality is that if you were to get an unbiased opinion on which is better between an old game like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and a more recent game like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, more likely than not, the more recent game would win.

Nostalgia is a dangerous beast. It's the reason why people still play the SEGA Dreamcast.