Extra Life for Some Old Games
Backwards compatibility and the romanticism of games.
L + Down, R + C-Right, R + C-Up, L + Right, L + C-Down, R + C-Up, L + Right, R + Down, L + Left, L + R + C-Right.
I still remember the code for invincibility on Goldeneye for the N64, not the most useful thing to remember anymore but it might be soon enough.
Microsoft has added backwards compatibility to their new Xbox console the Xbox One X; this means it will now play games from the two previous generations of Xbox: the 360 and the original 2001 edition. Some people may ask why as newer and more advanced games are being released everyday. I'd say these people were probably people who either only had the current generation of Xbox/Playstation or they were non-gaming people. Like our favourite films and book some games will stay with us forever. Those classic moments, entire levels or specific in-game experiences are locked in our minds forever and why would you not want to revisit them if you had the chance. I still fondly remember spending days playing the Zelda games and hours destroying my friends on Goldeneye (without the invincibility) and they still bear the physiological scars to this day.
The desire to replay these games could be simple nostalgia or it could be something much deeper; a desire to return to the joy of those moments and that shines a light on one of the essential elements of gaming - escapism.
Gaming isn't just play, it's a way for many of us to warp away from our everyday lives and the stress and difficulties it brings. Going to another place where we can be what we want to be, make moral and ethical decisions with no real world consequences, be the heroes we would like to be or simply just live another life. Some games are there at the right time for us to just be the perfect escape alternative universe to spend our time in and when we're offered the chance to go back to them why wouldn't we want to! The chance to live that alternative life again and bring back the joy we felt when we played them before sounds perfect right now. The ability to play these old games with a more mature, experienced and practiced hand and mind would also offer people the option to revisit old haunting grounds and maybe unlock new areas or un-obtained achievements thus tempting the competitive players back too. Some of us don't consider ourselves getting older, we’re leveling up!
Since the release of the first home game systems in the 70s and 80s gaming is something that has become a huge part of people’s lives and as these gamers get older it’s something that is being carried forward increasingly through their lifetime. Surely then retro-gaming demand is only going to increase as time passes and game developers and platform creators are going to have to acknowledge this demand. From a financial point it would make sense to welcome this demand. Game developers will be able to re-release these games for old and new gamer alike effectively doubling their potential market. Console makers will keep the loyalty of the people who bought games for their previous consoles whilst encouraging people to buy their new consoles. Microsoft have started the ball rolling and Sony have announced a cloud based system to play previous generation games so will we see the other platforms following too?
Whilst it is fairly clear that the benefits to the gaming industry are financially driven what drives us - the gamers to want to buy into this retro-gaming trend. Is it simply a case of nostalgia, the desire to beat our own past records or a desire to return to a happier time and place that motivates us?
I don't know but I do know I still have my old N64 and copies of old Xbox and Xbox 360 games so all I will say is - Microsoft I'm holding out for SSX Tricky on the new Xbox, so if you can unlock that I'm ready to replay.