So a good friend got me a modded console recently. What that means is, I have a (bleep) system that was filled with every ROM from every game made between the N.E.S and the Nintendo 64, including Sega machines. While this is particularly cool, it is not particularly rare. Many people know how to do this and end up having one system that houses all their old systems. What I have found strange is, there are tons of games I could beat as a kid on this console, but I can’t seem to beat them anymore. Is it that games have gotten so easy that old-school games are impossible to us now, or is just the simple fact that, as we age, we get suckier at game and less patient?
It’s actually a little of both.
They Were Hard For A Reason
THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID! sorry guys, I just wanted to finally kill that joke once and for all. Anyway, the old games that used to exist on the N.E.S and Sega systems WERE made to be difficult. Why is this?
Because they games were short. Very short. You have seen the rising popularity of the speed run. We now know most old school games CAN be beaten within the span of twenty minutes or so. So how did developers make it so gamers would get their money’s worth? Make the game extremely hard so it takes them MANY hours to finish, even if the game itself is short. It’s quite smart, actually. Who wanted to pay fifty bucks for an hour of fun? No one, and the industry knew that.
Here are my current experiences with five games I could beat as a wee child but only ended swearing at this time around.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out
Beating Tyson used to be old hat for me. I just knew his timing. It wasn’t easy but like any pattern could be memorized. But apparently only by my child mind, because this time around I cannot even time my King Hippo knock outs right. I can’t even get to Tyson. This is why cheat codes exist.
I remember code. Put it in, He beats my ass mercilessly for an hour before I rage quit.
Ghosts and Goblins
Nope. No way. Though I can clearly recall getting to the end of this game and then having to go through it again on ONE GUY to really beat it, this is like foreign levels of impossible to me now. Took me weeks of memorization back then, and I no longer have that patience. As of right now, I cannot even get past second level. This is not so much challenging as the kind of thing that makes people want to murder other people for no reason.
I need to shut this game off now.
Mega Man 2
Okay, okay, so this I can work with. I remember the order in which to get the weapons so you could be overpowered early in the game (I love the time before game patches). Though the timing of this game is insane, the controls are as tight as I remember and though I can clearly see I will not beat this game, I at least make enough progress that I feel like a human again.
But by the time I make it Wiley’s castle my hands are sweaty and I just can’t take it anymore. It is actually stressful in the same way paying bills is. I do NOT remember gaming feeling like this.
Okay, much like we all these other games, timing is everything. Right down to the second you jump and attack. This is the moment I realize games like this left NO room for failure. None. You either did shit perfect, or you failed. I breeze through the first level as muscle memory comes back from all the time spent on the game. I even remember the wall cling cheat for the first boss. Go me!
Then, by level 3 it all goes to hell. The birds. The flying birds. Their patterns are like schizophrenic drunks driving blindfolded, I cannot tell what to do. Wait, these birds are reminding me of the very bane of my video game existence as a child…..
THESE F*CKING MEDUSA HEADS! I REMEMBER IT ALL NOW!!! NO, NEVER AGAIN!!!!!
*smashes controller off of wall and burns modded console
Well, I guess that says it all. Screw old school gaming. It was cruel. Lesson learned. Ima go play Bioshock, You know, a game with an actual story that WANTS you to beat it? Yeah, that is more my style now. Screw challenge for the sake of challenge. To me, that was fun as a kid, but not an adult.