I recently played through Jade Empire on my Xbox. Yes I still have my original Xbox in excellent working condition. When I finished the game I asked myself why I enjoyed it as much as I did. I do not think the success of retro games is because of one key factor. After thinking about this for some time and watching a couple different retro game channels here on YouTube over the years I have to come to these three ideas.
- The obvious nostalgia. I am not going to go any farther on this idea because it is so apparent and would be trite to expound other than to say, It was not nostalgia points that made the play through of Jade Empire awesome. It was this lack of nostalgia that I got from the game that triggered this thought process in the first place. That leads me to the second point.
- Story driven gaming. That’s right. Once upon a time you had to tell a story because imagination was required to gain an immersive experience. It has been a long time since I have had a truly immersive experience with a video game. Recently last year I had an almost unconscious slip into immersion from Origins. While I enjoyed the game, and the story was alright; the immersion came from the realism of the environment. I was playing in my den that is dark. In front of a 50 inch screen and that realism created for me the first no imagination driven immersion. Some of my greatest video game experiences over the years have come in RPG’s that I was able to immerse myself in and truly Role Play. Morrowind the 3rd elder scroll and the first fable are easy examples for me of games that induced this experience. The immersion I most recently experienced was created and almost induced by the game. It did not require me to exercise my mental faculties in order to immerse. Honestly it concerns me a little that it happened.
- You know what you are getting. Games from the past are a sure thing. You know going into the game what you are going to get and can fairly judge the value of the experience before making the purchase. I typically do not buy a console until it has been out on the market for a couple years. I wait for second or third generation of the console to roll out and for the game library to fatten up, with more titles and some affordable options. For gamer’s that are always playing the most recent games to release some of these games are burning them; Purchasing and playing games from the past must seem like a refreshing experience with much less stress.
I wonder if this trend will grow over time. If Video games will evolve like books. With gamer’s playing in certain genres from certain time periods like some readers only read books from Victorian England, or crime solving mysteries exclusively. I know this has already happened to some extent, but in comparison to the world of literature Video games have barely scratched the surface.
Retro games continue to retain there value and some have even appreciated over time. Like an excellent written book, Video games need story and mental engagement to truly transcend to the status of a great game. As I write out my thoughts I chance upon the idea that the great classics of Dickens, Dumas, Dostoevsky are not for all readers. They are the pinnacle of writing and cannot truly appreciated by a reader that has not already attained a certain degree of skill at reading. While the visual media of video games posses a more simplistic delivery vehicle for the story some of these same skills translate. I wonder as humanity ages with video games if players 100 years from now will look back on some of the true classics of video games and have a similar appreciation for them as I do for The Idiot. Thanks for stopping by. If you enjoyed this video hit that like button and if you would like to here more a my meandering thoughts hit that subscribe button. Till next time.