Four Video Game Luxuries That We Take For Granted

Video games have come a long way. What was once just a toy is now a billion dollar industry capable of expressing ideas in a way that no other media is capable of. In the last 40 years, we’ve gone from four colors and a handful of sound effects to Hollywood-level masterpieces with scripts that would make Martin Scorsese do a double take.

4. Audio

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Looking back over gaming’s history, there are several modern staples that would have been hard to predict. Remember when you had to buy an expensive add-on for your Intellivision if you wanted the luxury of audible voices in your video games? And even then they were synthesized voices that bore only a slight resemblance to a human being.

3. Saving

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Back in the early 90’s, I distinctly remember wishing that my local FuncoLand had a list of the NES titles that utilized battery-powered save states. In most cases even the ability to enter a continuation code was an impressive feature.

2. Sequels

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Today if you’re playing a AAA title like Call Of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, a sequel will probably be on the shelves within a year, but we used to wonder if Nintendo and Sega would ever make sequels to Super Mario Bros. or Sonic The Hedgehog. Those days were rough.

1. Patching

Looks like fun, right kids?

Looks like fun, right kids?

When purchasing a DOS game in the early years of home computing, you had to cross your fingers and hope that the developers did their best. Unlike today they couldn’t just rush a title to the market and fix unplanned problems with patches. There were no reliable delivery system, so customers would have to write letters to the developer or find a dial-up bulletin board to see if other players had the same problem. And if there was a fix, patching was ugly.

Today, if a game has a major issue on launch day, a simple hotfix is typically available.

I’m not trying to tell the young whippersnappers to get off my lawn, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back and remember how far we’ve come. It reminds us that anything can happen in the future.

  • Strontium Dingo

    INTELLIVISION!

    While I remain convinced that this early console was (ASTROSMASH!) simply the fever dreams of a young and (AD&D: CLOUDY MOUNTAIN!) naive Strontium Dingo, it’s good to see that others had the same (MOUNTAIN MADNESS: SUPER PRO SKIING!) dream.

    Gaming has indeed changed over the years, sometimes for the better. But along with patches, we get day one DLC – perfectly legal, yet fairly unethical. And that can sadly be said of many (*COUGH*lockboxes, lockboxes everywhere*COUGH*) of the current gaming standards.

    Regardless of the above paragprah, imho you’re 100% correct that we take a lot of stuff for granted in modern gaming, and I’ll leave it at that without splitting hairs any further. :)

    I once wrote a chiptune song about this topic: I start off by complaining about the state of modern gaming, when compared to the days of old, then resolve into acceptance of the good things about modern gaming. Ironically, because of my internet connection, I’ve still not gotten to take part in most of the stuff that I actually dig about modern gaming (unless ridiculous lag is actually part of it)!

    (I would provide a link (I love the song, but I guess I’m biased), but I’m not here to spam – I’m here to read and comment. I’m not fishing, just stating my intent here. Also, I don’t want to be ‘that guy’.)

    Great article, really enjoyed it!