Monday, August 24, 2015

Ode to the longest, possibly greatest, console generation

For the past few days I've had the opportunity to go through some older games. First, definition of terms so this isn't so confusing:

Current gen - Xbox One, PS4, Wii U
Last gen - PS3, Xbox 360, Wii

The last console generation started around 2005. 2005. Think about that. That was over 10 years ago. Hard to believe a console cycle lasted this long. Technically it's still 'current gen' for many players who haven't bought a new console yet.

When you play what is considered 'last gen' and you've already played 'current gen', you'll be surprised at how good last gen games are, even with comparatively less impressive graphics. One time I fired up the original Gears of War (inspired to play it over thanks to Microsoft's Xbox One backward compatibility announcement). The game holds up. It really does. Gears of War has this look that belongs to it, that no one else could ever pull off right. I'd dare say it does 'post-apocalyptic' better than Fallout 3 ever did.

I even got the chance to replay Bioshock lately. The introduction to that game, is probably the greatest introduction in the history of games. It's just pure interactive storytelling, and even if you already know what happens, you get an experience that you probably can't ever get in any other medium, and it's polished the most in this particular game. It's really old, by the way. I think the box said '2007'. (i dont remember the exact year when the game came out) Very few games have accomplished the ability to engage you so much as Bioshock 1's original introduction. It was so good that Bioshock Infinite could never match it, no matter how many millions of dollars 2K/ Ken Levine threw at it. It's basically a perfect storm of various elements that make it such a unique set piece that will probably be remembered for many years.

Would you believe I played Burnout Paradise for the first time a few days ago? There were just so many games that came out last gen, over the span of 10 years, that not everything has been played by everyone unless you're some crazy hermit who doesn't need a day job and still gets electricity at your home. I was really impressed by the game, too. The graphics looked really old, but the core gameplay and the crazy crashing mechanic still holds up. The game just feels good and there's a 'roller coaster ride' feel to the whole thing. I hope EA makes another one soon.

I guess I just realized one thing after this whole experience. We all complain that games are too short, are repetitive or never really innovate. At the same time, we've all got ridiculous backlogs of games that we've never finished, and some of them are truly gems despite what people on the internet will tell you. I propose this. Play your back-catalogue. You'll be surprised by the games you already have. Some of these games, I've already forgotten their mechanics or storylines and I find myself geniunely enjoying the experience of replaying them, after several years had already passed. Give it a shot. Play an old game from the 360/PS3 era which you haven't touched in a while. It's a great way to pass the time while waiting for the next big thing.