You know what I'm playing right now? For the first time ever?Batman: Arkham City. I'll give you a second to check the date this article was uploaded. No you aren't reading an article from 2011. Yes, I genuinely haven't played the game before and no I didn't manage to avoid spoilers for eight years.Especially not THAT spoiler.But man, even though I'd seen the Let's Plays, compilations, and heard what happened from friends it was nice to see it myself. It was nice to earn that ending for myself.Playing old games isn't a new phenomenon, my best friend plays Shadow of the Colossus religiously, even today, and retro-gaming is still alive and well today, lot's of indie games on Steam have that pixelated art-style and synthesized music meant to evoke the age of the SNES and it's ilk. And it's especially not something new for me. My first game console was a Sega Mega Drive (a present from my favourite auntie). I'm sure it was lot's of other people's first game console but mine came in a cheap blue plastic box with no instructions and three games (Sonic 2, G-Force and a version of Sonic 1 that didn't work properly). More tellingly, I got this in 2002 or 2003, about six years after the Mega Drive had been discontinued.I didn't care, of course, I was about eight years of age. We plugged it into the TV in my parent's bedroom and I would play it whenever I got the chance—even trying to get my sister or cousins to play it with us. Sadly, being tiny children, we weren't great at it.We were actually fairly horrible at it to be quite honest.I later acquired a copy of Sonic & Knuckles from a car boot sale. The feeling of finding a new game, a game I'd never heard of, for the game console I had was incredible. Nine-year-old Max was over the moon about it.It's not so hard nowadays, to pop into your local game shop and find a cabinet or shelf full of games for the NES, the SNES, the Dreamcast, the Mega Drive. Hell, I've even seen a couple of Atari 2600 cartridges at a second hand games store before. But back then, whenever I went into gaming shops everything was for the newest consoles, or the previous generation and I was left a little sad.There's been other consoles since the.: (My poor little Mega Drive got it's wires crossed and ended up flickering black and white and making a horrible screeching noise.) I got a Game Boy Advance for Christmas one year, but that was the closest I came to being on top of the console market.The next console I got would have been a cheap Sony Playstation, and at this point most of my friends had gotten Play Station 2's or GameCubes. It was around this point I started to notice that I had a few advantages over them:
1) I wasn't spending as much money on new games.
If I wanted a new game it would put me back a couple of pounds? I was usually buying them from car boot sales or charity shops which also meant...
2) I had a load of stuff no one had ever heard of.
You've got to admit the joy of showing other people stuff was fun, me and one of my best friends played Worms Armageddon together for the first time and he thought it was amazing.
Maybe not the biggest advantages ever but they are ones I like.
The trend's continued since then, I saved up for an Xbox and the week after I got it, the Xbox 360 was announced. I bought an old Nintendo DS off a friend and I've kept hold of it to this day. I recently came into possession of some old Game Boys.
When I've bought a PC they have, until recently, always been aimed towards work rather than play, but now I can actually run more modern games I find myself going back to games I wanted to play years ago but never had the chance.
And last Christmas, a friend gave me his old Xbox 360 while he was having a clear out. I finally got to play Halo 3 and that's sort of where it hit me for the first time.
It doesn't matter that I spoiled the ending of these games, it doesn't matter that no one's on multiplayer anymore. I'm enjoying them, and I get to share them with my friend's, they get to talk about stuff they enjoyed again through the eyes of someone else.
I suppose that's my favourite thing about playing older games, being able to make people remember the fun they had playing them. I don't see myself as a retro-reviewer, but maybe I can get people talking about the things they enjoy a bit more?
Last time my girlfriend came over to visit she sat me down to play Civ City Rome and gush about all the fun she had playing it as a kid.
She gets it.
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