Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Then and Now…

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 12, 2011

Some things change. Other things… not so much.

Then:
Arguments would get heated over Colecovision vs. Intellivision vs. Atari

Now:
Arguments will get heated over XBox 360 vs. Playstation 3 vs. Wii.

Then:
We’d keep pumping quarters into a machine for extended play.

Now:
We keep pumping digital dollars for DLC for extended play.

Then:
Pirates would buy a pair of floppy discs for $2.95 each to store an illegal copy of a game, and then spend another couple of bucks photocopying the copy protection questions. They claimed it was because the games were too expensive.

Now:
Pirates won’t even spend that much to legitimately buy a deeply discounted sale-priced game.

Then:
Television pundits and self-appointed community protectors freaked out over a video game where you could drive around in a car and kill people (Death Race).

Now:
Television pundits and self-appointed community protectors freaked out over a video game series where you could drive around in a car and kill people (Grand Theft Auto).

Then:
We’d pay as much as $80 for major computer game. Which was equal to about $140 in today’s dollars.

Now:
$60 is the recently-raised top-tier pricepoint for a game. Which is equal to about $60 in today’s dollars. Of course, after you buy all the DLC, it might be closer to $140 soon…

Then:
Ports from the arcade machines either required a joystick to play on the computer, or were nearly impossible to play.

Now:
Ports from the console either require a joypad to play on the computer, or are nearly impossible to play.

Then:
You might have to drive across town to find a store that carried the game you wanted. And if it didn’t carry it, you’d have to mail-order it.

Now:
You can buy a new game for your iPhone while you are sitting on the can.

Then:
A game made by three guys in six months would sell for $50. And people would complain it was too expensive.

Now:
A game made by three guys in six months sells for $5. And people still complain it is too expensive.

Then:
98% of the games out there were crap.

Now:
98% of the games out there are still crap. But prettier.

(And we only remember the 2% of the “classics” from previous eras that are recognized as classics simply because they weren’t crap.)

Then:
Half the games were brain-dead clones of recent hits.

Now:
Half the games are brain-dead clones of recent hits.

Then:
RPG fans joked about when we’d see Ultima XV or Wizardry XV.

Now:
Final Fantasy XV announcement expected imminently by RPG fans. No joke.

Then:
Women didn’t play video games! Well, almost never. Except for those who did.

Now:
Women don’t play video games! Wait, what do you mean Farmville is a video game? No it’s not, it’s a… a… oh.

I could just keep going. But I know you really wish I’d stop, so I’ll stop now. And let you take over…


Filed Under: Geek Life, General - Comments: 10 Comments to Read



  • sascha/hdrs said,

    “Then: 98% of the games out there were crap.”

    Oh come on! that’s pretty harsh! At least there were many more games which were more original and wacky than now. ;)

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    If you include indie games (particularly Flash games), I’d argue there’s many more games coming out each year then there were back then. But if you are only including “pay to play” indie games (as opposed to ad-supported), we’re probably around parity.

  • MalcolmM said,

    Then: Games in completely new genres were fairly common.

    Now: There are almost no new genres, and 50% of games are shooters.

  • Celso Riva said,

    Then: To buy games you HAD to go to a shop or get shipped at home waiting for weeks
    Now: You can buy games instantly without leaving home :)

  • Steven Fletcher said,

    Then: Many RPGs consisted of wandering around a maze and fighting monsters.

    Now: Many RPGs consist of wandering around a big empty space and fighting monsters.

  • Xian said,

    Then: It took an hour to download a game from GEnie, Compuserve, or a BBS on a 300 baud modem

    Now: It takes an hour to download a game from Steam, GoG, or Impulse on a 3 mps DSL modem

    Then: You had to worry about memory management, 640K conventional memory limitations, configuration files, and boot disks and fiddle with them for an hour using various combinations to get your new game to load (I’m looking at you Falcon 3 with your 600K + conventional memory requirements)

    Now: Everything generally works as long as you meet the system requirements

  • LateWhiteRabbit said,

    Then: You had to know command line instructions to run a computer game. EVERY single time.

    Now: You put in a disk or double click a file and follow easy on-screen directions.

    Then: (1983) A powerful personal computer with a GUI cost $10000 – the equivalent of $21000 today.

    Now: A powerful personal computer with a GUI (HA!) costs only $1600 dollars and has quad core processing and GBs of RAM.

    Then: Smack talk and name-calling during a multiplayer game meant the player was really good and few took it too far, because the result of calling another player “gay” or insulting their mother involved the very real risk of being dragged outside the arcade and beat mercilessly.

    Now: Name calling and “smack talk” in a multiplayer game mean the player is likely stupid/racist/a douche/13 years old or all of the above. And fist fights now land kids in jail. 0_o And are impossible over the internet.

    Then: All games had controllers.

    Now: Some games have no controller.

    Then: Video game movies were bad.

    Now: Video ga- nevermind.

    Then: I didn’t know piracy was bad. Or that it didn’t involve ships and beards. (My parents owned a Xerox machine – and a collection of no less than a dozen blank floppy discs at any time. It was so . . . easy.)

    Now: I know piracy is bad. And that even computer piracy sometimes involves beards. And I post long analyzations examining piracy using economy models and theories.

    Then: Japan was the dominant force in console gaming.

    Now: The west is the dominant force in console gaming. (You trained us too well our eastern masters – now the young children that sat at your feet soaking up your, uh, massive weirdness, have become the teachers!)

  • Mndrew said,

    Then:
    RPG fans joked about when we’d see Ultima XV or Wizardry XV.

    Now: We weep bitter tears over the fact that we will never see Wizardry IX or M&M X.

  • skavenhorde said,

    Then: The game included a huge manual that provided a setting and some background to the world.

    Now: What’s a manual?

  • Catherine A. McClarey said,

    LOL! Your list brought back so many memories!
    Then: Patches are read about in computer game magazines. You mail a postcard request (possibly with a blank floppy disk); a few weeks later, the patch disk comes in the mail.
    Now: Patches are downloaded automatically when you boot up your computer and connect to the internet — slowing down or freezing everything else you wanted to get done until the update’s finished downloading, and then restarting the computer (sometimes without asking you via “click here to restart & install update” first).

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