Simple games need a comeback

I’m done angering the masses, at least for this week. Let’s talk about something more pleasant. Should I talk about God, love or family? How about goals, success and hard work? All great choices indeed, but I have decided to talk about video games.

Yes, video games. Even when it’s 80 degrees outside, and the sky is crystal clear, you might find me curled up in bed with a Nintendo Gamecube controller embedded in my palms. You see, I have a lot of problems. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, this is not breaking news. Beating the living tar out of a video game character releases all the anger trapped within my body. After all, people look at you funny if you take your anger out by physically beating a drifter to within an inch of his life.

As much fun as “Metroid: Prime” is, I prefer those games which involve the group. While all of my male friends will often partake in a rousing game of “Super Smash Brothers Melee,” I have noticed that some of the women aren’t as fond. Even the ones that play aren’t very good at the games, either. I know from where this stems. If you take a look at the progression of the original Nintendo (NES) controller to today’s Gamecube controller, you will see a noticeable change. The classic Nintendo controller had nothing more than an A-button, a B-button, a directional pad (up, down, left, right), a “Select” button and a “Start” button. Today’s behemoth Gamecube controller possesses buttons of A, B, X, Y, L, R, Z, and Start — along with two directional pads and something they call a “C-Stick.” The PlayStation 2 controller has even more buttons, and the mammoth XBox controller is too large to fit inside a Lincoln Navigator. How could these gargantuan interfaces not intimidate a casual video game player? Remember, it only takes a spider to freak out a girl.

Whatever happened to simplicity? A plumber stomps on turtles and navigates through pipes in order to defeat a turtle-dragon hybrid creature in order to save a princess of a kingdom inhabited by talking mushrooms. Today, the hottest game involves hot-wiring cars, soliciting hookers and running over the elderly. “Super Mario Bros.” may have been the result of a bad hallucination, but at least it had class.

Not only was SMB tasteful, it was easy to learn. Everyone knew the A-button was used to jump, and the B-button was used to shoot fire. To explain the controls Madden 2003 would easily fill my allotted column space.

I think it’s wonderful that video games are all three-dimensional. We have many smart people developing these games. But whatever happened to the two-dimensional side-scrolling games? Your character used to start out at the leftmost part of the stage and avoid pitfalls and obstacles in order to reach the rightmost part of the stage. Stages used to be numbered. They used to have time limits. What happened to the good days of video games? I say bring back a couple of nostalgic 80’s-style video games. We have the technology and the memory to combine the mind-blowing graphics of today’s consoles with the endless fun of two-dimensional levels.

If you play today’s games, you will notice that the number of courses, levels, or worlds is normally below your expectations. Three dimensions is taxing on the disc’s memory. I say free up some memory by creating a million kajillion levels of varying difficulties, all while keeping the state-of-the-art graphics and sound we have all come to know and love.

And I don’t want to see a cheap knockoff of an old game (“Donkey Kong 7: Featuring DK’s third cousin, Dumbass Kong!”). Either create an original plot, or give Mario his fire flower and raccoon suit and let him raise hell.

Next, don’t make the gameplay so complicated. Implementing eight buttons and three directional sticks is not the way to bring in new players.

Games need to be simple, and the controllers need not cause a person’s pants to dirty within seconds. Video games need to be easy to learn and have excellent replay value. The aforementioned “Smash Bros” and “Mario Party” are fine examples of simple-to-learn games that drain hours and hours of valuable time away from hard-working college students.