Old video games pave the way

Forget all your “Halos” and your “Ghost Recons.”

Some of the most popular games being played today are almost as old as your average college student.

“This is a generation that was exposed to console gaming and highly developed coin-operated gaming at an early age,” said Blake Steck, editor-in-chief of Gamebattles.com. “As a result, classic games and prolific franchises still hold a spot in many gamers’ hearts.”

For many gamers, the majority of which are in the 18-35 year age bracket according to Steck, growing up playing “Zelda” and “Mario” have endeared them to such classic titles and they continue to play them regularly.

“They are the classics, they are what everyone was brought up on,” said Bill Bogantz, freshman. “You[‘ve] got to remember the past to appreciate the future.”

Bogantz, who owns an Xbox, Gamecube and PS2, said his favorite games are still on older systems.

Bogantz’s favorite system is the Super NES, which was released in 1991. Playing host to such titles as “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” and “Super Metroid,” the system tops many gamers “Favorite system of time” list.

“It was a very special time, growing up, you remember playing those games,” said Travis Fishburn, sophomore. He also said the Super NES was his favorite system.

“It was my first system so I had a lot of fun with it.”

Even with all the great games available now – Bogantz listed Resident Evil 4 as his favorite new title – gamers still sometime choose older games as their favorites. For Bogantz, the choice between his “new” favorite game and older one was no contest.

“Earthbound is my favorite game of all time,” he said.

Steck believes that the habit of returning to play older favorites may die out as technology progresses, however.

“As technology evolves and next-generation platforms expose gamers to a level of graphics and immersion never before seen, the technology curve will adjust accordingly” he said. “Gamers that once considered “Asteroids” and “Pac Man” vintage gaming will grow accustomed to the level of detail provided by upcoming next-gen hardware, therefore making the leap back a generation that much more noticeable.”

The love of classic games may have roots in other areas beside nostalgia. With the release of newer consoles, such as the Xbox 360 and upcoming PS3, companies such as Microsoft are making as little as $4 a console sale. They can make as much as $30 for each game sold, according to Steck. This can lead to a deluge of bad games hitting the market.

“Older titles are traditionally perceived as “higher quality” due to the fact that in 1990 there were 5 percent of the game developers in existence today,” said Steck. “Companies were not multitasking and developing each title was far more labor intensive.”

Fishburn agrees with this assessment.

“The majority of the games just aren’t that good,” he said. Fishburn feels there was more originality in the Super NES days than there is today.

No matter how you feel about classic versus current gaming, one company plans to offer both.

Nintendo is set to release the Revolution console late this year, and aside from playing all new games, the machine will also play a slew of classic Nintendo games, all the way back from the 8-bit era.