Image by Flickr user kylebaker

Retro Bound?

Image by Flickr user kylebaker
Image by Flickr user kylebaker

As the beginning of 2014, you know how many games for which I was so incredibly excited I was counting down the minutes to the released dates? Exactly zero. That’s not to say I wasn’t looking forward to a few games (South Park: The Stick of Truth, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, and Fable Anniversary, for example), or that I was oblivious to the release of the likes of Titanfall, Thief, or other big budget titles. It’s just that nothing new really lit up all my gaming cylinders.

So here we are nine months later, and only one game has me all a’jittery – Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s the only game this year that I’ve even thought of pre-ordering. And if I do get it, well…it’s still an if. (Though I probably will get it.)

Lately, I’ve been much more interested in less current games: older Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii games, as well many from generations long gone. It’s not that current games aren’t awesome and all, it’s just that…that…well… Okay, take for example the latest Tomb Raider. It looked fantastic, got solid reviews, and with its Uncharted-ness seemed to be right up my alley. It was an immediate addition to our Gamefly queue. Once it arrived, I managed about an hour of play before I got bored. Awful, right? I mean, how could anyone not enjoy a game like that?! As I played, everything just had that “been there, done that” feeling. Maybe I was in a grumpy mindset, but it just felt like other games that I had played before, and I simply wasn’t interested in continuing. That’s my prevailing thought when it comes to most of the games that are being released: not interested.  Even if a game is hyped as being “new,” “fresh,” and “different,” somehow it never turns out to be those things exactly.

Aside: It goes without saying that there are exceptions. As I mentioned, I do want to play Dragon Age: Inquisition, but that’s primarily because I’m already invested in the series (happily [Origins] and less so [DAII]). I’m sure the same will happen with the likes of Uncharted 4, Kingdom Hearts 3, Batman: Arkham Knight, and maybe The Witcher 3 (if I can manage to complete to first two.)

More and more I find myself shying away from your drive-around, shoot-em-up, stealth-attack, twitch-mash, battle-battle games and favoring not just simpler games, but simpler games from the past. And not even “simpler” games, generally – there are a number of old RPGs that I’d really like to get my hands on, like Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, and early Persona games. And it’s not like going retro with my gaming is going to create more free time or make me never want to pick up an Xbox One controller. What I’m looking for right now in gaming is satisfaction, and for some reason, right now, my instincts are telling me that I might find more gaming satisfaction in past rather than current games.

Granted, this is all quite subjective and up-in-the-air at the moment. I did start playing Max: Curse of the Brotherhood recently, which reminded me of how great platform puzzlers can be. Sadly, and despite my protestations in June, I’m nowhere close to finishing Metroid Prime (though there’s still time before the year’s end). So it’s not like I’m suddenly going to trash my backlog and start scouring eBay for old games and consoles. But after Dragon Age: Inquisition, who knows? Maybe it’ll renew my faith in AAA titles, or maybe it’ll push me even farther into thoughts of retro-dom.

How excited/happy are you with current games as compared to those of previous generations? Do you have older games in your stash that you continue to enjoy despite their age? If not, what retro games would you like to play that you haven’t already?

13 thoughts on “Retro Bound?”

  1. I don’t blame you for the lack of excitement towards thsi year’s releases. It has been a pretty weak set of twelve months for gaming.

    The good thing about it, as you seem to have realized, is that it gives us time to look back on past classics!

    1. Well said! This general gaming lull is probably what brought on these thoughts in the first place. Until everyone can get in gear with utilizing the power of the PS4 and Xbox One and start making unique games that don’t follow every formula, revisiting past games seems like a perfectly great idea. :)

  2. There are games this year I’m interested in, but not in the same way as Dragon Age: Inquisition. Obviously. ;) Most of the other games I’m interested in getting are the ones where I don’t have the console for, like Xbox One and the Wii U. Right now, I’m perfectly content in trying to play all the games that are for the 360, Wii, or DS. I’ve got plenty of games from the old gen to keep me busy for a good long while.

    1. I’m with you. And even though we have an Xbox One, I’m not much interested in the exclusives for it. (Though maybe that’ll change with Inquisition.) My backlog from the past is plenty for me now. I even pulled out my old Gamecube in order to make some headway with Metroid Prime. The Wii is great, but I had forgotten just how much I loved playing on that system!

  3. I definitely am having a much better time with older games right now. I am currently catching up on a bunch of old PS1 games at the moment (just beat Chrono Trigger and am now starting Chrono Cross). I am excited about Kingdom Hearts 3, the new Zelda for the Wii U, and the new Super Smash Bros., but other than that, I really am not excited in the slightest about the new consoles. There are still good, old games I need to play, and I have so many games I already own that I would love to play over again. In fact, games I’ve already played are looking a lot more appealing than anything being released right now.

    I sometimes ask myself silly questions, like if I had to choose between keeping my current games and never buying any new ones or buying new ones and getting rid of all my current ones, I’d choose the former. Sadly, I think what I have is better than what’s being released. But, it’s also not a bad thing to be happy with what we have. So yeah… And it certainly saves me money, which is always a plus.

    1. You hit the nail on the head in saying we should be happy with what we have. It’s a thought that’s easy to take for granted when all you read about or see people playing is the “next big thing.” My husband’s playing Watch Dogs right now, and the more I watch, the less fun it looks, mainly because it’s nothing new. Driving, shooting, escaping, being stealthy…same game, different day. You can’t just tack on some new ability to a game (like in Watch Dogs’ case, hacking) and call it revolutionary.

      Once I finish Pokemon Leaf Green, I’m going to look into playing other older games hat never really crossed my path back in the day, Chrono Trigger is currently very high on that list…

  4. Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    A few months ago, before Dragon Age: Inquisition came rambling along and Bayonetta hooked me with merely a glance, I considered a possible gaming future that was rooted in the past. I thought that in order for me to really stick with gaming as a perpetual hobby, I might have to focus less on the here-and-now in gaming and more on the overlooked gems of generations gone by. These inklings culminated in the post below that I wrote for United We Game. Despite the fact that I’m playing recent games now, I wouldn’t call these thoughts quelled. If anything, my desire to head back before moving directly forward is stronger than ever. Though it is humming along quietly in the backseat while I take on dragons and witches. Because, priorities.

  5. I am pretty excited about current games! Super Smash Bros for Wii U has been a blast to play through, and I am looking forward to Captain Toad, which looks like a very original and creative game.

    Still, I don’t blame you for not being excited about the releases this year. It was pretty lackluster overall, and going back to retro games we have played or finally tackling one that has been forgotten on our backlog is always fun!

    As for retro games I need to finish, I should probably take a look at games of the KIrby franchise. It is the one Nintendo franchise I have not explored that much.

    1. I’ve had every intention of playing a Kirby game for a very, very, veeeerrry long time! (I think Kirby’s Epic Yarn as been the Gamefly queue for forever.) So much else keeps me away from it, but someday, maybe, I’ll get to one of the games as well.

      That’s unlike my relationship with Super Smash Bros. — we just never connected. The closest we ever got to being pals was SSB Brawl. It was fun enough, but I never dealt well with the super frenetic gameplay. But since I’ve got a Wii U and not much to play on it, maybe I should give SSB another look… :)

      1. Epic Yarn plays very different from most Kirby games, that’s why you will find many of the franchise’s fans do not like it. I, on the other hand, love it! It is awesome!

        I hope you like SSB for Wii U. I have been having a blasty with it.

  6. Dragon Age: Inquisition has been everything that I’ve hoped for so far, but with all the recent disappointments that have come out (Destiny, Halo: MC Collection, Assassin’s Creed: Unity…) it’s getting harder to really want to get excited about what’s coming out. Some of it sounds great, but then again so did Destiny…

    Still got old SNES games to try/finish anyway. Super Metroid and Final Fantasy III (aka VI) in particular.

    1. Your comment about recent disappointments makes me think that it really can’t be easy to be a game developer these days. I mean, not only do the masses expect home runs each and every time, but the hype machine that goes along with major releases must be unbearable at times. There’s just no way every game is going to live up to all expectations — and it’s too bad the disappointments in games seem to be occurring more frequently. (Add to that “incomplete” games with tons of glitches and headaches, and it makes you think that something in this whole equation has really gone awry.) It’s probably made a lot of people take a step back from jumping head first into new releases. Maybe they’ll be great; maybe not. It’s a perpetual gamble.

      Still, gaming has come a very long way in a short period of time. Nothing wrong with taking time to appreciate the classics in order to more fully appreciate current titles.

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