I was trying to think of a suitable sendoff for my final post here, and I have decided to take a look at one of the driving forces behind my gaming tastes: nostalgia. There are some games, particularly Nintendo 64 and PlayStation-era games, that I have a great deal of personal childhood nostalgia for; Final Fantasy VII, Ocarina of Time, and the first two generations of Pokemon games are games that I have played several times over the years and never seem to stop loving. There are also classic games like Chrono Trigger and the classic Mega Man games that I did not play when I was younger, but I still love for various reasons.
But why is it that I find myself so frequently drawn to older games? There is simply something I find charming about classic games. The design philosophies of 16 and 32-bit games resonates with me on a level that newer games often do not, especially when it comes to RPGs. The relatively simple turn-based JRPG will probably always be one of my favorite game types; I never seem to go long without playing one. I doubt I will ever lose my affection for older JRPGs.
Games today have much greater technological capability than games used to, and while this is certainly a good thing, it is not without flaws. Classic games had a level of care put into them that many games today do not; when working under the limited size and graphical output of an NES cart, a developer would face a more challenging limitations than someone designing a big-budget PlayStation 3 title. I am certainly glad that developers have much less restrictive technological limitations than they used to, but I am also a bit sad that games have lost that stylistic touch they used to have.
Graphically, I feel that the 16-bit era has aged better than perhaps any other era of gaming; the SNES sprites still look just as good as they always have, while something like Final Fantasy VIII looks horrendous by modern standards. I also rarely find a modern game soundtrack to be particularly memorable. Just because a game can have an orchestrated soundtrack does not mean it necessarily needs one – FFVI sounded just fine on SNES hardware, after all.
I realize that this all makes me sound far more crotchety than any twenty-one year-old has any right to be. I should like to make it clear, however, that by no means do I think gaming today is bad, or even really any worse than it has always been. What I am instead saying is that I prefer the style of older game design, especially JRPG design, over modern gaming. I certainly have nothing against modern games, and in fact as I have mentioned before some of my favorite games have been released in the past five years or so. My love of older games is just something that I hope to never lose.
As far as newer games done in a nostalgic style are concerned, I have somewhat mixed feelings. I would like to see games do things that are new and exciting, like the Portal games. My one big issue with nostalgia-inspired games is that they rarely do anything new, and they are rarely as good as the games they are inspired by. For all that I loved Breath of Death VII, it was certainly no Dragon Warrior IV. While I do like the idea of new games done in a style inspired by old games, I would much rather see something that is not only new and innovative, but also well-implemented; I am not simply advocating novelty for the sake of novelty either.
I realize, readers, that this post has been a bit unfocused, but I wanted to share some thoughts on nostalgia and on my feelings on classic and modern gaming. Sadly, I must now take my leave from Lusipurr.com, due to time constraints and other personal issues. It has been a pleasure getting to know the site’s current and former staff and readers, and I bid you all a fond farewell, friends.
[Editor’s note: despite claims to the contrary, no bears were harmed during Deimosion’s employment at Lusipurr.com. -Lusi]