In My Day, We Managed Our Aggro! — The Rantings of an Old School Gamer
A diatribe on how difficult gaming used to be and how it has changed
When I was a kid, my dad complained of growing up in harder times. I do too now, but in a completely different way. I am aging, and I am a bit of a nerd in some ways, which provides for an interesting combination that I’m not sure is precedented in previous generations.
You see, my generation was probably the first real video game generation. We started them young, grew up with them, and were the first generation to really take them into adulthood with us. I am not and never have been a professional gamer, but I was there to watch that concept dawn.
I’ve gotten to the age and the point in my life where I no longer really play video games. It’s not necessarily that I’ve outgrown them, though. It’s more that, as most people do with age, I’ve become less willing or able to accept and adapt to change. Video games were different in my gaming prime, and, I maintain, they were better.
If you don’t still fear death in a video game with every fiber of your being, it’s because you weren’t there, man; you don’t know what it was like.
When I say better, I mostly mean that I think they were more challenging. They were harder, more frustrating, even crueler at times. I’m not talking about the violence portrayed in the video game content but rather about the manner in which the game developers and entertainment companies treated the players. The mechanics of the games were sometimes brutal, and even the smallest achievements in these games required an unreasonable amount of practice, skill, and commitment.
Everquest was a prime example of this. That game was so unforgiving that customer backlash against it created a sea change in MMORPG gaming. We had hell levels. We had real tactics and strategy. We knew loss and defeat and frustration. We were constantly humbled. When we were victorious, though, it was glorious.