Uh oh, Millennials. How little you really know about gaming.
Those Generation Y types just do not understand the problems that we went through to put them in the position to have fun gaming times today. There is a whole generation of gamers out there that have known online gaming their whole lives. They have grown up in this Xbox and PlayStation world where the only gaming frustrations they face are laggy servers. These are very much First World problems.
But it wasn't always that easy.
There was a time - we will call it the days of yore - when gaming was a fringe pastime, only acceptable for young children and adults with no lives. We did not speak about gaming, and we could not speak about gaming. That is because with each new controversy we were pushed further and further into the shadows.
But we fought, we played, and we eventually we prevailed. That is why you Millennials can enjoy Call of Duty 25: Interstellar Warfare and Final Fantasy LXVII in all their glory.
Gaming has come such a long way over the past 20 or 30 years. It is now a mainstream pastime where the top professional players make enough money to live a desirable lifestyle. We don't expect gratitude or a pat on the back as just knowing that we paved the way is enough. Here are 15 things that Millennials will never understand about gaming and, for the most part, you are welcome:
15 Waiting For Hours To Download A 20MB Patch
There was nothing quite like bringing home a new PC game from the big box electronics retailer of choice and jamming the disc into the CD-ROM drive for a (hopefully) quick install. With the game installed all you had to do now was boot it up and play...until you received the dreaded warning that a new patch watch available and must be downloaded before you could begin.
In today's world, you can download entire games in the amount of time it takes to brew a cup of tea. Back in the stone age, however, seeing this prompt meant your PC was about to be tied up for the next half a day while a 20MB patch for Command & Conquer trickled down the phone line.
Don't even get me started on the rage that would erupt is said download was interrupted close to completion.
14 Being Yelled At By Your Parents For Tying Up The Phone Line
It is hard to imagine in 2017, but at one point hooking your PC up to the internet meant that all phone service in the house was disabled. This was a time before everyone had a cell phone and before you could simply text your friends to see what they were doing that day. Every single piece of communication was through a landline and you PC would render that landline inaccessible.
This was bad enough if you were personally going to need to use the phone, but if your parents were expecting a call or had to get in touch with a relative, then your internet session for the night was over before it began. This, in combination with ridiculous download times, made those formative years of online gaming an absolute pain in the neck.
Or a pain in the ear if someone happened to pick up the phone while you were online.
13 Having To Blow On Your Favorite Cartridge To Make The Game Work
It is 25 years down the road, and I still have no real idea if blowing on a cartridge worked or not.
The concept here is simple. In a time before you would download games to the system hard drive and play them from there, a time before even CDs had become the gaming media of choice, your favorite 8-bit and 16-bit games would come on a handy dandy cartridge to be loaded into your console.
This was a smart design choice, right up until the point where dust and debris got inside the base of the cartridge. At that point, the game simply wouldn't load, and the Micro Machines marathon you had planned was over before it began.
That is when you would purse your lips and blow into the cartridge like it was a trombone, repeating the process until the game either worked or you put in Super Skidmarks instead.
12 Insane Loading Times
Admittedly loading times still suck today. Having to pause and wait in the middle of an adventure, such as when opening a door in Fallout 4, really takes you out of the experience. That though is nothing compared to the loading times we had to deal with in the pre-console wars days.
Computers such as the Commodore 64 and the Spectrum ZX ran many of their games from cassette tapes. The loading times of a cassette varied, but there are published games out there that longer than 10 minutes to load. That those games then generally consist of graphics and gameplay that make Frogger look advanced does really make you wonder why we bothered in the first place.
11 Having To Buy A Multitap For Four Player Gaming
Multiplayer gaming today is so easy. Either you get online with your friends in a dedicated party and tear up Call of Duty, or you meet over in someone's basement for a spot of couch co-op action. Again though, it was not always quite that simple.
Back in the day, the only way to stick four control pads into two console slots was via the magic of the multitap. They were expensive and bulky pieces of equipment that had extra controller ports, and they were the only way to make four-player TimeSplitters a reality.
Of course, if there was a mix-up in communication and your friend forgot to bring their multitap you were in trouble. This was especially true as only one player in a gaming group ever seemed to be forward thinking enough to own one of these life savers.
10 Sonic Being As Popular As Mario
There was a point where Sonic was just as popular as Mario, but as one continued to build a legacy through interesting and innovative games, the other just kinda fell off of the map.
It has been an interesting fall from grace for Sonic because at the height of the character's popularity he was everywhere. There were a couple of different TV cartoons based on the hedgehog (that combined to run for over 80 episodes), there were Sonic stuffed animals and toys all over the place, and there were the video games themselves that vaulted Sega into a leading game company.
It worked because, as a character, Sonic was more relatable than Mario. While both inhabit fantasy worlds, Sonic's general attitude made him cooler than a dorky little plumber. Somewhere along the way though Sega let Sonic down, hence the Mario world we live in today.
9 Saving All Of Your Quarters For A Night At The Arcade
In this Millennial world, the game consoles we play on at home are equal to the cabinets you can find in an arcade. If you can find an arcade at all that is.
The graphics and gameplay experiences that we can enjoy on our couch are so much deeper and more detailed than they were in the 1980s. Plus sitting on the couch you don't have to deal with crowds, and you can snack as and when you like.
Growing up, playing games like Street Fighter II, NBA Jam, and The Simsons was the real deal. I even miss the big arcade boom of the 80s. Even so, every dollar earned would be saved with the intent of blowing it all down at the arcade, that kid paradise where skill was king and beating high scores was all that you cared about.
8 Control Pads With No Analog Sticks
Millennials will never understand how difficult it was to get used to playing with analog sticks for controllers when we grew up using nothing more than a D-pad.
Sure, in the arcades there was all manner of weird and wonderful control systems, but the genre-defining consoles from Sega and Nintendo stuck with a D-pad and some assortment of buttons for their games. We should really have seen it coming with the arcade sticks that the companies produced, but they cost like 100 bucks, and no one had that kind of money to splash on any peripheral that wasn't a Power Glove.
Eventually, analog sticks became a thing. Then twin stick controls took over games there were many deaths caused by shooting and firing at a wall or the sky instead of an enemy as we got used to the change.
7 The Simple Joys Of Gaming Magazines
Most of these changes have been good things, signs of progress within an industry. This entry, however, is just sad, as Millennials will never understand the feeling of getting home from school to the latest copy of EGM or Nintendo Power.
This was a time before internet spoilers, and breaking news existed. To get industry information - be it news and reviews or hints and tips - we would find the knowledge inside the pages of out favorite magazines. Most of these were monthly periodicals, so the news was old before we even received the copy, but it was a simpler time, and no one cared.
These magazines would be read literally from cover to cover. Eventually, demo tapes and discs became the norm that just added another layer of amazement to a delivery date that would be circled on the calendar every single month.
6 Having To Write Down Passwords For Your Game Saves
Automatic game saves are fun, huh? Now imagine your favorite game is probably 10 to 20 times more difficult, and you cannot save in the middle of a level. Oh, and at the end of the level it doesn't save either, you have to write down a password which is utter nonsense, exceptionally long, and a pain in the butt to type back in on the password screen.
Welcome to late 80s gaming.
It was almost like the game companies didn't want you to complete these early games. The difficulty/password combination was unbelievably frustrating, especially if you had parents who had a habit of throwing away scrap pieces of paper with random letters on them.
Guess we won't be completing Metroid after all.
5 The Essential Nature Of The Action Replay Cartridge
A lot of this goes back to the difficulty of games during this period. While no one likes to cheat, it is also true that no one likes to spend $60 on a game and be stuck on the first level for years because of bad collision detection or a lack of lives available to the player. That is where the Action Replay cartridge came in.
This would give your character the boosts needed to beat a level. It is important to note that this wasn't like online cheating where you are screwing over other players, it would just give you extra lives or invulnerability, something to get one up on those crazy 80s developers.
4 Your PC Gaming Options Being Freecell, Hearts, MineSweeper, And Solitare
Was there anything more disappointing that sitting down at a modern(ish) PC for the first time and going through the Start Menu to get to the games section. This is a new PC. It has unmatched speed and processing power. Yet the only games available to you are versions of MineSweeper and Solitare.
It was almost as if Microsoft was playing a cruel joke. No kid wanted to spend their evening with either of these games. MineSweeper was too hard to grasp, then when you did grasp the concept, it was instantly boring, while Solitare was a game played by old French ladies.
Computers today still come with these games (plus others) but downloading a new and better game takes mere minutes as opposed to a day out shopping.
3 Atari Being A Name That Mattered In Gaming
Beginning list as a company in 1972, Atari was the biggest driver of the video game industry in its very earliest days. Millennials though no little to nothing about the name as Atari was essentially ended in its initial form when it was blindsided and bankrupted by the video game crash of 1983.
Atari created Pong. That alone should be enough to cement the company's legacy, but the Atari 2600 was a piece of kit that was ahead of its time and is often cited as a reason why later developers and game creators even got into the industry at all.
Yes, Atari made many missteps along the way, but you feel that Millennials only see the company as the one who had to bury between 10 and 20 semi-trailer loads of their games - famously including E.T. - in a New Mexico landfill. Atari deserves better than that and Millennials need to understand that Atari is one of the main reasons that they can play on their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 today.
2 Four Player Split-Screen Action On A 20-Inch TV
Sitting around a 65 inch LED TV with friends is fun, but you haven't lived until you have players four-player split-screen Goldeneye on a 21 inch CRT TV.
There is nothing like running around as Bond while trying to hunt down Jaws and Oddjob starting at a quarter of a screen that is smaller in size that your average video game box. Back in the day, we had to strategically sit around the TV in order to best maximize the chance at actually seeing what was happening in your assigned screen quadrant, and even then it was a crapshoot.
People just didn't have the big TVs that you see today, and we certainly didn't have them in our bedrooms where video games were played. It frenetic and chaotic struggle, yet we loved every single minute of it.
1 Nintendo Vs. Sega Instead Of Microsoft Vs. Sony
Today's console wars are very much dominated by Sony and Microsoft. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have such a dominant market share that it is hard to see any other company coming in and competing. Yes, Nintendo has its corner of the market, but it is not going after the same demographic as the two other companies.
The '90s though was completely different. This was a time where Nintendo and Sega ruled the roost and the console war was very much on. This is the war that laid the very foundations for what we have today as the two companies fought to innovate and evolve over the top of each other. They took gaming away from a kids only pastime and games such as Mortal Kombat began to make gaming relevant for adults.
Millenials may not understand this, but Sega vs. Nintendo is the reason that gaming is mainstream today.