Top 10 Things Our Kids Won’t Remember About Video Games

Remember the 3DO?  What about Mode-7 graphics?  Not all early video game ideas should be remembered (We should all just forget about the Virtual Boy), but some are simply destined to  be forgotten.  Come sit on Grandpa’s lap as he tells you about the Top Ten Things Our Kids Won’t Remember About Video Games. 

health10.  Health Packs:  It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time when your health didn’t regenerate.  No sir, you had to wander around until you found a health pack, or you were dead.  No cowering behind that box in the corner and channeling your inner Wolverine.  But I’ve always been curious:  How exactly do these things work?  If most early video games are to be believed, then you can’t pick them up and carry them (God forbid), you simply step on them and you feel better. My only explanation is that it was the 90s.  These things didn’t need to make sense back then.




9.  N64 Controller:  Obviously, the next generation will see Goldeneye 64 on Top Game lists and Most Innovative lists, but they won’t know the grisly details.  Yes, it innovated console shooters in ways that had never been done before.  Yes, it is, rightly, the blueprint for which the modern shooter would later innovate further on.  Yes, it was absolutely horrid to play a shooter with only one crappy analog stick.  Nintendo has a knack for predicting the future, but when they guessed that humans would suddenly sprout a third arm (because I can’t think of any other reason for that controller design) they were dead wrong.  This will baffle archeologists for years to come.



8.  Random Battles:  While it never made a lot of sense, random battles are a part of my childhood.  Nowadays, if you’re low on HP, or half your party is poisoned, you can simply avoid the enemies at your leisure.  Not in the old days.  Nope, you had to contend with beasts that apparently spawned from the bowels of hell right in front of you.  Sure you could then run, and then they would simply disappear, but even that wasn’t assured.  Of course, with today’s graphical power you no longer need a visual separation of gameplay elements, but the threat of random battles will haunt my dreams forever.



7.  Lives:  This concept has all but gone out the window.  Lives are a relic of a more unforgiving time.  A time when if you lost all your lives, you didn’t return to the last checkpoint.  Hell, you were lucky to return to the current level.  You might be forced to start the whole game over.  Maybe a password, if you had been extra nice.  Now, we are coddled with generous checkpoints, unlimited respawns, and even if you do start the game over, you keep all your items and levels!  I fear the green mushroom may soon be an extinct breed.



6.  Text Boxes:  I’m not going to lie.  Most gamers won’t be too terribly sad to see text boxes go. As long as we have Nolan North, I’ll agree they may be unnecessary.  Even from someone who keeps subtitles on at all times, obviously the spoken word is a step up for our industry (sometimes). But what I’ll miss most of all is that all-encompassing answer of “…”.  I was never quite sure what that meant really, but silence and a cool glare just don’t do it for me.  Now, instead of funny text mistranslations, we get wooden voices and hyperactive Japanese voiceovers.  That was worth it.


save5.  Save Data on Games:  Remember renting Final Fantsy VI or Link to the Past on SNES? Maybe Super Metroid or Super Mario World?  Before starting a new game, you would invariably check out the guy who had every item and was near the last boss?  It was like living a power fantasy. No memory cards or hard drives to fiddle with, you saved your game directly to the game baby!  Of course, as cool as it was playing on BALZ’s Zelda save, it wasn’t worth losing your data when your brother decided to play it while you were gone to school that one time he got sick ny eating old nachos.  Not that I had that happen to me or anything.



4.  Renting Consoles:  Yeah, you could totally do this back in the day.  That’s how I experienced all the Genesis games, and why I still have nightmares about the Jaguar.  Of course, that’s when game rental places still existed and didn’t cost you an arm and a leg.  Five games for five days for five dollars, along with a console to play them on!?  Let’s see GameFly give me that kind of deal.  Now you’re lucky to find games to rent anywhere, forget about consoles.  Thanks, Redbox!


card3.  Memory Cards:  First it was on-game saves, now its hard drives, and tomorrow all data will be stored online.  But in between that madness, was the Memory Card.  Do I keep that insane RPG I worked so hard at in RPG Maker, which is costing me six blocks, or should I delete my four Symphony of the Night saves?  Decisions!  Now of course you can just save it all, but block management was a key part of the PS1 experience.  It was almost like a meta game, unless you learned midgame that you don’t have enough blocks to save your Metal gear Solid data.  Then you run to your friends house to clear some space, hoping your mom doesn’t turn off the game while you’re gone. See, video games can encourage exercise.



2.  Blowing in Cartridges:  Oh yeah.  Surely we’re all old enough to remember this.  The coolest thing was, everybody had their own tricks to getting NES games to work. I myself always held down Reset while blowing in my console (I swear it worked!), but blowing in games was as commonplace as playing them.  While not having to do that, and receiving better music, graphics and game experiences, made the switch to discs inevitable, there is one advantage that is undeniable.  No load times!  It’s true.  I was there.  I saw it.  How I miss those days.



1.  Trading In Games:  While, technically, you can still do this, trust me; this is a thing of the past. With the advent of DRM’s and pre-order bonuses, nobody wants a used game anymore. Developers have been taking steps to ensure that the only worthwhile game is one right out of the wrapper.  With the cost of a game, even a used one, plus the fee you have to pay to access its features, you’ll be paying more for a used game than a new one!  Our kids will look at us like we’re crazy when we tell them we could bring our old games in, and exchange them for new ones.  Not all new ideas should be embraced…



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  1. Eric W.

    Fun list! I was hoping to see arcade cabinets and paying a quarter to play a game in there somewhere – talk about a relic of the past. Crazy to think we’ve already gone through two evolutions of save systems – from cartridge based to memory card, now on to hard disk storage and the future looks like all cloud saving. Heck physical copies of games may well make this list in a few years as the future moves to all digital. Oh video games, you’re so young yet you’ve come so far already.

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