This week sees the introduction to a new regular segment on Mega Dads that we’re calling “Generation Gap”. In each installment of Generation Gap we will be covering a specific topic in regards to video games and presenting two separate (and sometimes contrasting) opinions from two gamers of a different generation. Adam, a child of the 80’s who grew up amidst the rise of home gaming, and Chris, a young pup who was born just a few months before the launch of the original Playstation. We hope to provide a fresh spin on many hot button topics in the world of gaming as well as provide analysis on the industry from two separate lenses. We hope you enjoy Generation Gap!
This month’s topic: Classic Games.
As a kid, what was a pioneering game or innovation for the industry?
What is the standard of a classic?
How do you use these ‘classics’ of your time to set the bar for new games today?
Growing up primarily within the years after the turn of the century, the games industry was vastly different than what is was when it was being first established in the late 70s and early 80s, as well as how it is in the modern day. With advancements in hardware capabilities, games were becoming more experimental all the time.
I have many fond gaming memories from these years. I was fortunate enough to have several game systems during my early childhood, so I was able to experience a wide variety of games. Some of my favorites, the ones I would call classic games and recommend within a heartbeat, include such games as Super Mario 64, Pokémon Red Version, Spyro: The Year of the Dragon, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, Final Fantasy X, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, and my favorite game of all time, Kingdom Hearts.
Now, why would I call these games classic? Well, the reasoning for this is about as varied as the games themselves. For some, like Final Fantasy X, it was the story. For others, like Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, it was the soundtrack. For others still, like Pokémon Red Version, it was the characters that inhabited the world. However, each of these games had one thing in common which truly made them great; they were all incredibly fun to play.
That’s why I believe that this was such a great time for games. During this time, developers were focusing on the different things the player could do within the game. You want to fly through the sky as a dragon collecting eggs? Sure thing. You want find out who would win in a street fight starring gaming classics? You can do that too. The freedom to explore different gameplay during this time was the greatest innovation that came from this era.
It’s the engaging gameplay that I was experienced to during this time that influenced me as both a gamer and a game developer. And that’s one of the things that I look for when I play games these days. How much fun am I having playing this game and how is it different than the many games that I’ve played in the past? I believe that as long as a game is entertaining, then it has the potential to be a great game.
When I was a kid, gaming was in its infancy. Unlike Christopher, who grew up in an era of game developers that were looking for that next innovation, or a new way to turn the rules of gaming on their heads, I grew up in the age when those rules were being written by the masters.
While many of the early games of the 8-bit era were nothing you would look twice at these days, there certainly were monumental steps taken towards laying the foundation that gaming is built on today. Not only were these pioneering games important in establishing the framework for future games, many of these games rival todays current-gen masterpieces.
Super Mario Bros. 3 still stands tall as one of the best (if not the very best) entries in the series with incredible level design, gameplay altering power ups that put previous efforts like the Fire Flower to shame, and music that would make even the trees dance. The Super Mario Bros. series has been trying to recapture that magic for decades now, but I’m not sure anything has been able to emulate the thrill of discovery and freshness that Mario 3 provided.
It’s games like Mario 3 that define classic. In today’s gaming market there’s been so much ground covered that it’s hard to come away feeling like you just played something completely unique. So much of today’s gaming is about building off of something that worked before and just giving it a new sheen. And while Super Mario Bros. 3 is in fact a sequel and uses the same basic framework of the original Mario Bros., it has so much original content and character that it feels like it’s own beast.
From the Warp Whistle, to the Frog Suits, to the Memory Game Toad houses, there are so many memories and moments in Super Mario Bros. 3 that you can’t help but look at it as one of the pinnacles of all of gaming. That’s what a classic is, a game that you can look back on 20+ years later and not only remember the endless fun it provided you then, but the endless fun it provides during a play through today.
I wonder how many of today’s biggest games will be remembered as fondly as games like Mario 3. Will Uncharted hold up in 2025? Will Skyrim still shine when I’m 50? I guess I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that I’ll still be styling in my Tanooki Suit in the retirement home.
This week our speed painting is ‘The Prince’ from the Katamari series. There are only 2 weeks left of my speed paintings and then my year long ‘Art Appreciation’ project will be finished. If you’d like to to see your favorite character featured then you need to leave us a comment here at megadads.org, Facebook or Twitter! Time is running out!