When Classic Games Become Unplayable
For many gamers, their favorite memories with video games come from classic games that they played when they were younger. Whether it is a long time gamer playing The Legend of Zelda for the first time or a younger gamer loading up Final Fantasy VII to see its beautiful FMV, many of our favorite games are now considered classics. But what happens when the games that we and the gaming community see as classics become difficult to play? Are those games as good as we remember or are we seeing those games purely through “nostalgia-vision”?
Many gamers out there are familiar with the classic PS2 title Ico. This game, when released in 2001, was not a commercial success by any means but it has become an industry darling when it comes to storytelling, immersion, and art. Ico has become what many people consider to be one of the greatest games ever created and a work of art to just as many. What really hurts is when you go back and play games like this.
While there isn’t anything wrong with the way Ico was made when it released all those years ago, it’s clear now that it can be hard to handle. I love this game just as much as the next guy but this game’s combat, platforming sections, and save system are severely lacking by today’s standards. When you can play for 30 minutes, jump off of a ledge wrong due to the lack of modern day platforming, and have to restart 30 minutes ago it can become quite taxing on the player and may even be enough to make some quit. This is a sign that a classic game is becoming unplayable.
Now Ico is not unplayable yet, it is just becoming that way. Think of it as a book written around 100 years ago. If you were to look back at such a book today you would find the language to be very wordy by our standards and would likely not be able to finish it. This is what is happening to classic games. We are forgetting the language we used to game with over the last twenty years and are learning a new gaming language as we speak. What can be done about such problems you say? The games that are becoming archaic need to be remastered and redone the same way novels are so that we can better understand them today.
The fact that games from previous generations are becoming harder and harder to play is evident and scary as well. While it is great to think that some nice company is going to take our favorite old games and recreate them, it is highly unlikely that it will happen to each and every classic video game. This leaves us to either play these games by re-learning our forgotten gaming language or to not play them anymore. But will these games that we think so highly of still feel amazing to us today or will replaying them ruin our fond memories we have of them?
I consider Final Fantasy VII to be my favorite video game of all time. I played this game when I was younger and still feel a love for this game that I simply don’t for any other. As I went back to replay this game this past month I couldn’t help but feel a wealth of emotion build up inside of me. I was happy to revisit my friends within the game, nostalgic thinking of all the good times I have had with the game, and sad when I realized that the game doesn’t hold up as well as I remembered in my memories. Final Fantasy VII is still a good game and has a good story but by today’s standards is considered graphically embarrassing as well as a grind. What I was surprised to find though was even though I knew the game wasn’t as good as I remember it, I still love this game above any other. The reason for my undying love of this classic PS1 title is my “nostalgia-vision”.
Without Final Fantasy VII being the exact way that it is I would not feel the same love for it that I do today. Would I like a remake of this game? Sure, but I don’t want it to replace the original version of Final Fantasy VII. This game, with its bad graphics, questionable translation, and ‘grindy’ feel is perfect to me in every way because it is imperfect and controls the way that it does. Will this game feel as great to a new player today? Probably not, but does that really matter?
With gamers so worried about their favorite games appealing to the newer gamers of today we have forgotten an important thing. These games weren’t our favorite games because they controlled perfectly or because they were made with every type of person in mind, they were and are our favorites because of the work we put into them and the reward we got out of them. That is why even today you see people talk about their memories with The Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy, or Pokemon Red/Blue. These games aren’t perfect for everyone but they are perfect to those of you out there that have memories with them.
So gamers, stop worrying about whether or not your favorite game will become unplayable in the future. It may take a little bit but you will pick your skills back up and be able to play through it once more. Will it live up to every expectation that you have in your head? Maybe not, but it will take you back to those glory days when this game was your every waking thought.
So go on gamers, pick up your favorite classic game and replay it. Don’t worry about how it is by today’s standards, or if it controls perfectly. Just enjoy the great memories you have with your favorite classic video game and all of the fun times you had playing it.