Video games have evolved at breakneck speed since their mass appeal took off in the 1970s. We’ve gone from arcades and home consoles to handhelds and cellphones in a short matter of time. We’ve moved away from big boxy cartridges, and can now download thousands of games straight to our consoles.
Obviously, some old school video game stuff is no longer around. Did you have any of these?
This week marked 20 years since the release of the Sony PlayStation. Gaming’s come a long way, but I have too – I’m now married and I have a five year old son. I’ve lived during the lifespans of four Sony PlayStation consoles and a handheld. But somehow, this isn’t the only gaming birthday that shows my age.
When I heard that the PlayStation turned 20, I thought about what I was doing back then. I was sitting in my friend’s living room, playing the “PlayStation Picks” demo disc – featuring games like Jumping Flash, ESPN Xtreme Games and Wipeout. I was playing a CD-based system for only the second time – the first, of course, was the SEGA CD, which next October will be 23 years old.
If you sit and think about all of the video game birthdays that pass by every year, it’ll break your brain.
Fathers pull their inspiration from weird places. Some of them pull it out of their own father’s teachings. Some of them pull it out of necessity and learn on the fly. But what indisputably prepares you for fatherhood the most is video games.
Old NES games, specifically. Look, that console had two buttons. TWO. There was no dual-stick move-and-look. There was no rocket-jumping. You didn’t get a gun and a melee attack. You got JUMP and SHOOT. If you were incredibly lucky, and you usually weren’t, you could use a second weapon or skill by holding B while pressing A.
The games were brutally tough, unfair, and unrewarding. And all of that hardship prepared a generation of boys for fatherhood.
Some things are too good (or too bad) to keep around forever. This is especially true in the world of junk food, where brands constantly crank out products based on market trends and flimsy pop culture references.
My son will never eat some of the junk food I had when I was younger. I certainly won’t tell you that he’s missing out on some of these. This is a list of tooth-and-organ-rotting garbage. But try not to get nostalgic reading this list of stuff my kid will never be able to eat.
In our series Old Games for New Kids, we suggest a great past-generation game to play with your new-generation children.
by Data East – NES (and more, see below)
The beauty of old Nintendo games is that the two-button limitation kept games simple. In Rampage, you play as either Lizzie the giant lizard, George, the King Kong clone, or Ralph, a giant warewolf. You’re presented with a couple of blocks-worth of cityscape per level, and in the simplest of terms, you destroy it. You climb buildings and punch holes in them, often discovering food and traps inside. You can also smash the cars, tanks and helicopters that chase you as you move city to city.
Being a Nintendo fan for the better part of my 31 years, I’ve known frustration. I’ve been through the gauntlet on NES games, tasted the satisfaction of SNES, felt the burn of multiplayer party games on the N64, GameCube and Wii, and gone it alone on all the handhelds – GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, DS and DSi to name a few. But the 3DS brings a new mix of all those things – frustration, satisfaction, multiplayer fun and portable distraction. So is the story of Mario Kart 7 – a game that has flaws, sure, but is a whole lot of fun – and championed-in a very important 3DS update.
That update included the ability to join friends’ games via the friends list – a vital function of the friends list initially left out. As well, players met through Mario Kart now show up in your Mii Plaza. But these things aren’t as important as the gameplay in Mario Kart 7. After all, it doesn’t matter if you can join a friend’s game if you’re not interested in doing so. It’s good news then, that Mario Kart 7 is loads of fun, despite some quirks and problems, and it’s a really fun game to play with your kids for all of the obvious reasons.The gameplay in Mario Kart 7 is, at its most basic, the same thing you always expect from a Mario Kart franchise game: you race, you shoot stuff at each other, you win, you lose. And if we just took MK7 straight based on that, I’d still be on-board for a near-perfect score. Just fair warning.
Some time ago, we reviewed Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which was decidedly not-epic for dads to play. With a no-death system and non-traditional Kirby play, it left father-fans of the franchise wanting a real Kirby experience to share with their kids.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is nothing like Epic Yarn – and that’s a good thing for you dads. As well, kids (let’s say kindergarten to tweens) will get more of a kick out of the risk-vs-reward gameplay moreso than the all-rewards gameplay of Epic Yarn. There’s not too much risk, but I’m pleased to report that you CAN die in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, but a little saddened to report that you might not ever taste that bitter death because the game’s so easy. More on that later.
Surprisingly enough, I can’t remember the last time I played a proper Kirby console game, aside from Epic Yarn – which was not a “proper” Kirby game at all. In the meantime, I’d played all sorts of handheld iterations of the franchise and enjoyed them all. Humorously enough (and I’m talkin’ gamer humor, not real, actual humor), Kirby’s Return to Dream Land was supposed to be released for the GameCube in 2005, but then got pushed back to the Wii. It was then put on hold in favor of Epic Yarn (good call, guys), yadda yadda yadda, and here we are.