The Waiting Game
Oh… you’re still here? Wow… I didn’t think I had any readers left. Oh well, maybe this week will do it. Might as well make the most of it.
You see, after failing to find another hobby worth mentioning, I dove, head first into Modern Gaming. Of course, with my limited budget, that means I could only acquire a Playstation TV. Nonetheless, it allowed me to open up my eyes, yet again, on many things I never had the chance to experience.
Stumbling through online stores of “digital content”, “game streaming” and “unsubtle fetish/not quite pornographic” Dead of Alive DLC packs, I was taken back by the new possibilities opening before me. Quickly, I bought the first brown and gray shooter I could find and installed my PS TV as quickly as possible.
I’ll never understand your Vanilla Ice fetish…
That’s when “IT” happened. I finally experienced the mythical “out of the box” modern gaming experience. I took the PS TV out of the package, installed it on my monitor and connected to the internet. 15 minutes later, I had entered my PSN account information and credit card number. That’s when an update was pushed on the console. 30 minutes later I started downloading the game I bought. Shortly after the 90 minutes download, the game was almost ready to go. All that was left was a 15 minute update.
Now, try to put yourselves in my shoes. I tend to disagree with most people on most subjects, but, this time, I agreed wholeheartedly. I admit that I was taken back quite a bit. This modern gaming trend is complete bullshit. That two hours before being able to play a single game was WAY too short. Back in my days, we had to earn our games. We had to wait a lot longer than a measly two hours.
I remember getting my SNES for my birthday back in 1992, while celebrating at my grandmother’s place. I was ecstatic as it was my first video game possession (the NES belonged to the “family”). I ripped through the package to unlock the juicy treasure inside. When I finished the dubious task of thanking whoever got me the glorious gift, I threw myself at the nearest TV to plug it in. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was smothered by my father who insisted that I wait until I get home because “installing the SNES right now and ignoring the presence of all the folks who were there for my birthday was ‘impolite'”. After several hours of boring adult conversations, we started the commute home, that lasted another couple hours. I ended up falling asleep and having to wait the next day to play it… Awful.
Then came my next console, the Playstation. I remember it clearly. The year was 1996. October was fading away, taking with it the memories of my POG Halloween costume. As the November weather attacked my neck, fully aware that I had recently shed the protection of my mullet haircut, I could only look forward to Christmas to bring me a different kind of chilling sensation. This was gonna be a good year. I didn’t even know what I would get as both the N64 and the Playstation were on my list. It wouldn’t have surprised me if I had gotten neither of them, but Xmas day finally came and under the very tightly wrapped paper, I found Sony’s first console.
Only 90’s kids would dare dress up as this…
Unfortunately, being at my family’s cottage for the Holidays, I had to make do with whatever old TV we had the chance to have over there. This time around, the cathodic monster was not lucky enough to be blessed with proper composite A/V connections. By the time the Playstation rolled in, that was the only base option of connection to the TV… The stores being closed in the Holidays in the neighboring villages, it took a couple of days for my parents to buy me the coveted RF adapter… That’s when I finally took to Crash Bandicoot. You might say I didn’t miss much, but it took nonetheless more than 2 hours.
It was pretty much the same problem when I got my Xbox, but there were other issues also. You see, as much as I wanted to “get in line” with the “mature shooty-bang-bang” library of the Xbox, I still longed for something more. In this case, the object of my desire was the Dynasty Warriors 4 game. Game distribution being what it is back then, any game that wasn’t a guaranteed hit was scarcely seen on shelves. Alas, the sweet feeling of that hack n’ slash soothing action was slowly drifting out of reach, like a paddleboat caught in a light current. Like an amiibo hunter whose preorder just got cancelled. Anyway, needless to say I had to spend a lot more than 2 hours searching for the game. Mind you, when I say “I,” I mean my sister.
The point is, think back on what we had to endure when we wanted to play a game or a console we didn’t own. Recall how long you begged, the hours you studied to keep your grades high enough to deserve games, didn’t the reward feel good after these long days? Think of how you slowly earned money by doing tedious housework like cleaning your own room, taking out what was mostly your trash and washing your bodily fluid soaked clothes. Look back with pride at the harassment campaigns you led against your own family, whining until they gave you what you wanted or got out of the room, didn’t they give you the illusion of making you a better person?
I even had to wait until two weeks ago to finally get my hands on games I wanted as a kid. Let me tell you nothing compares the satisfaction of experiencing an above-average game years later, after it age badly, letting you arrogantly express your distaste to the fleeting voices of the fans who are, one by one, dismissed from you Twitter timeline by your aptly spammed Nostalgia blindness accusations. The bottom line is, retro games made you work and wait for new games. If you did, they rewarded you handsomely.
Even recently, I had an urge to play some Captain Skyhawk. I quickly drove to my father’s house, where my NES was temporarily stored throughout the selling process my property. When I drove back with both the NES and Captain Skyhawk in hand, I plugged in the console to find out, disappointed that the game didn’t work. Of course, this is to be expected of NES games sometimes. I drove to the store to pick up some rubbing alcohol and came back to try and clean those contacts on the cartridge, complaining about the pain of having most of my games stored away. When after a thorough cleaning session, nothing seemed to work, I gave up on my NES, still working on the original hardware and went to eBay to purchase a “HOLY GRAIL 72 PiN connectOr, rare, brand new!!!! No reruns Sent from my iPhone”, in the used video games accessories section. Two weeks passed and I finally received it, after installation and another cleaning session, I could finally play my beloved Captain Skyhawk!
Finally getting back to the adventure on the brown ocean
This where the contrast with “out of the box” experience of modern consoles really showed. You see, even though I had to wait for 2 hours to play a game, I wasn’t bound to the TV. I went elsewhere, took a walk, cooked up a meal, had sexual intercourse, watched TV, worked for a while, grabbed a beer, etc. Back in the days when we tried to connect our retro consoles and were missing some cables, had to blow in cartridges or constantly begged our parents for pocket money, games needed our undivided attention, because they loved us. Games don’t love us anymore. They don’t care when we go away… They’re just cold, loveless digital media…
See you in two weeks!