I believe that there was a time in gaming where games were not about some forced story, or fancy graphics, or other forced elements that intruded on the only thing that mattered in gaming. That thing is gameplay. You know, the thing that makes games games. Games aren’t books. They aren’t movies. They aren’t television shows. They aren’t any other form of passive, boring entertainment. They’re games. So why do we want to treat them like these other kinds of entertainment these days?
I feel there was a definite shift in the mid-1990s in gaming to a gaming model that wanted to get a new generation of people interested in buying games, a generation removed from the one before it that balked at fancy graphics and stories in games that didn’t have the quality gameplay to back it up. And so the new generation began putting poorly done games like Super Mario 64 and Metal Gear Solid on a pedestal which they didn’t belong. Super Mario 64 was just a poorly done, lazy game with poor controls and a terrible camera, and Metal Gear Solid, to be honest, should have been made as a movie instead of a game, something the storytelling would have fit in much better.
It’s sad that even sites and discussions about “retro” gaming these days tend to include this “new generation” of gaming directly responsible for the sad state gaming is in today, and always wants to push that definition of “retro” forward to even later. This is why I concentrate on true retro gaming — one I define as not a period of gaming that took place X years before the current time, but a certain style and attitude of game design and development that happened before gaming decided to change for the worse.
No, not all games since 1995 have been bad, and not all games before 1995 are good. But on average, the quality of games pre-1995 far exceed that of gaming since. And this is why I concentrate on games from that era only.