The way video games are played has changed dramatically over the past decade. What was once considered popular and common in the 1990s seem ridiculous and unplayable to today's gaming crowd. As the art and development of video gaming continue to evolve and refine itself throughout the years, many gaming characteristics of the past will slowly fade away or become forgotten over time. Instruction manuals? Video game hotlines? The younger gaming crowd may have no idea that these things even exist.
The following are five examples of video gaming characteristics that are now dead, but were once popular.
Detailed, Colorful Instruction Manuals
Replaced with: tutorials integrated into the game
Did you see that thin, black and white booklet that comes bundled with the video games that you buy? Probably not, because not too many people read instruction booklets anymore. Once in vivid color, containing dozens of pages of art and detailed gameplay instructions, gaming manuals these days typically contain nothing more than a controller guide and health warnings.
What modern game developers are doing these days is integrating tutorials right into the gameplay, typically in a mandatory tutorial level at the beginning of the game. Players, therefore, will have a general grasp of the controls and mechanics by the time the main part of the game starts.
Remember the 80s, when the first thing you'd do after buying a game is pulling out the instruction manual and reading it? Looking back, it seems like a whole different time period.
Replaced with: Health Regeneration
It seems like just about every character has health regenerative powers similar to the X-Men's Wolverine in modern video games. In older games, especially shooters, players have to pick up health packs in order to regain any lost health. No matter what kind of damage the player has sustained, whether it be from gunshot or a bad fall, these miraculous health kits will instantly heal the player.
Modern games don't typically use these bothersome health packs anymore. As wonderful as they'd be if they existed in reality, health packs are now a bothersome thing of the past. Instead, games like Gears of War and Uncharted use instant health regeneration. If your character's been shot in the face a couple of times, simply take about 5 seconds of rest. His health will be immediately full. Whether gamers these days are just getting lazier or developers are simply making their action games flow more smoothly, one thing's for certain: we'll rarely see those cute health packs in the future.
Using The “Select” Button to Actually Select Things
Really, when was the last time someone actually used the “select” button on a controller to, you know, actually select something? Another example of an old tradition that just lingered around, the select button hasn't had proper use since the days of the SNES. These days, it's more of a “miscellaneous” button that has multiple uses, such as accessing a radio or map screen.
The XBOX 360 controller renamed this awkward button to “back,” and the Nintendo simply scrapped the button altogether on the Wii. Like a useless appendage, perhaps this button will no longer be needed during the next console generations and will simply fall off.
Long, Boring, Non-Interactive Cutscenes
Replaced with: Being Locked in a Room While Events Occur
When Metal Gear Solid 2 came out in 2001, players were appalled with how little game there was in this video game. A majority of the game's story was presented in long cut scenes, often spanning hours at a time. In fact, I knew of a person who had to pee in a Big Gulp cup because he did not want to miss an un-pausible cutscene toward the end of the game. Gross? Yes, but what little choice do gamers have when you can't even pause these hour-long movies?
Modern games have changed that. Instead of presenting players with what is basically a non-interactive movie to tell a story, stories in many games these days occur in real-time. In the ending of Bioshock, for example (spoilers ahead), the player is forced to kill Andrew Ryan during an amazing monologue. All of this happened using the game's in-engine graphics, and remained in a first person viewpoint while the player continues to have control over the character's actions.
However, stories being presented in real-time often can be executed poorly, too. In some games such as Dead Space (as great as it was), players will find themselves locked up in a room and would be forced to watch a sequence of events to progress to narrative before the door can open up again. So instead of watching a long, boring cut scene, modern gamers can now watch a long, boring cutscene through windows of a locked room.
NPCs Talking to You With Their Dying Breath
Replaced with: NPCs Writing on the Wall With Blood
a funny thing that you may have noticed in modern video game fiction:
just about every non playable character spends their dying moments
writing on walls with their own blood. In games like Bioshock and Dead
Space, there are messages written in blood all over place depicting what
a character's final thoughts were. Phrases such as “Forgive us,” “Let
Me Go,” or “The cake was a lie” are all words that someone thought was
important enough to leave behind using the last bit of strength and
blood in their dying bodies.
you rarely see bloody writing on games of old. Back then, dying characters would actually talk to you. In Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,
Link finds his dying uncle in the basement of Hyrule Castle. With his
dying breath, he utters the famous lines, “Link, you can do it! Save the
Princess… Zelda is your…” If A Link to the Past were a modern game,
Link would have found his uncle already dead, with the same words
written in blood on the wall behind him.