The short but intense history of video games is general enough to transcend the notion, as it enjoys today as much as, or even more than, the timeless classics of cinema and music. We have already provided works that have succeeded in infiltrating cultures, such as technical limits and market trends themselves.
However, lasting first-generation gamers have succeeded in extending the life cycle of some specific games far beyond what was expected at the time of development. And today, games without current online features or continuous expansion have been resolved in a way that the community not only forgets them but also prefers to play them compared to current suggestions. It’s hard to think of. why?
Today’s video games are released in a “life cycle” controlled by post-launch content and online support.
The first thing to remember is that the life cycle is calculated when designing today’s games. If you release a new Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed every year, it may seem logical to stop the continuity of the same IP title that was released a few years ago. Excessive extension of annual saga support will condition the sale of future deliveries. But when you think about it, when you make the first “Donkey Kong” for arcades, or when you premiere “Tomb Raider” in the era of 32-bit consoles.
On the contrary, this does not mean that the latest games and games adapted to new market models do not have the ability to become new classics that can withstand the passage of time. As we’ve seen before in areas such as remake feasibility and game cracker continuity, it’s the user community itself that matters here as well.
The first persistent generation of gamers
Unlike other new artistic or cultural expressions, in the early days of the video game industry, these were much more elaborate in other ways, as products for young gamers, in a way modern and fun claims. It was approached as a replacement. From a once-in-a-lifetime toy.
However, it wasn’t until the late ’80s, especially the late ’90s, that users continued to love video games after adolescence.
Curiously, it’s normal to see people of all ages and social classes enjoying their favorite games on tablets and mobiles today, but not so many consoles that are permanently connected to the main TV. It’s important to remember that it wasn’t an extension 20 or 30 years ago when virtually every home had far less than the concept of a home or portable digital entertainment device.
People of all ages and social classes enjoying their favorite games on the tablet or mobile.
The current persistent generation of video games demands new experiences and that is what conditions the industry itself and makes it reinvent itself year after year, changing its monetization systems, exploring the limits of software and hardware and even looking for new immersion and entertainment systems. constantly.
However, and regardless of all the above, there is a huge number of players who continue to play today with their favorite games from the past. Does that mean that certain titles or genres peaked 20 years ago?
The nostalgia factor, an essential element
We are not going to fool ourselves at this point. Despite the fact that pixel art is on the rise and minimalist polygonal designs are increasingly gaining prominence, if we are willing to return to the technical finishes of 20 or 30 years ago, it is because of the charisma or nostalgia that some games give off with graphics it was still far from the standards of high definition and 60fps that are so popular today.
In some cases, we relate these graphics to specific stages of our past in the case of players who are more veteran, or we have internalized them as part of popular iconography, as occurs among younger users. What was I doing when I started playing the first ‘Age of Empires’? Is this the legendary ‘Blue Pokémon’ that has been talked about so much on the internet? Will ‘Counter-Strike’ still be as addictive as those afternoons I spent in the “cyber” with my group of friends?
The “Generation X” gamers knew exactly what it was like to take advantage of each game.
Nowadays it is very common that we get used to accumulating huge amounts of games in our digital libraries thanks to the promotions of premium subscriptions on consoles or the legendary offers of platforms such as Steam, GOG, or Humble Bundle, but gamers of generation X know perfectly what it is to take advantage of each game.
Not that they were better or worse. There were more demanding, more limited, strange, or simpler. They were simply other times. And despite the fact that the games that are held today, edited then, do so by the competitive bet, it is undeniable that there is an added intangible element that gives it a special charm, compensating for the limitations of the time.
A huge learning curve
Many times the industry evolves too fast and other times it does so without our realizing it and in a subtle way. However, there is a pattern that persists in all the titles that have survived the passage of time regardless of their technical section or their shortcomings with respect to the new batch of games: their competitive element.
It is not just about competing against other players, but about improving yourself. In classic arcade games, it is true that there was a leaderboard that recorded our score, and that made a difference, but players who currently dedicate their time to ‘Donkey Kong’, ‘Street Fighter II’ or ‘Age of Empires’ seek to perfect a very simple premise of these games: they are relatively easy to understand but they require an enormous amount of time to master.
That’s where the exploration component of the game’s own rules and possibilities comes in, and there is possibly no better system to put them to the test than by competing with other users who have spent years finding and entertaining but the efficient game system. The competition that ‘Counter-Strike’ or ‘Warcraft 3’ can offer has evolved dramatically since it began, and its players with it.
With the arrival of updates, adjustments, expansions, and balances, an increasing perfectionist and demanding system are created. In this way, ‘League of Legends’ introduces new characters and readjusts its game system every 20 days or monthly, according to its own professional players. This means that if we want to compete at a professional level we must dedicate total dedication and transform our game system to these rebalances. That, precisely, is what does not happen with the classics.
In other cases, like ‘Pokémon’ or the ‘Super Mario’ series, we compete against our acquaintances or against ourselves based on achievements or ways to get the most out of a game. Precisely that last premise has been the key to the last game of the popular Nintendo plumber with ‘Super Mario Maker’: graphics with a retro air, but offering the possibility of making everyone face our challenge.
But, at the end of the day, the life of the games themselves is limited by two segments that are basically the fundamental agents of the industry: the players and the developers.
Who keeps these games alive and how do they do it?
A couple of years ago when the titles of EVO 2016, the most prestigious fighting game event, were announced, it was announced that ‘ Street Fighter V ‘ would take over from ‘Street Fighter IV’ in the face of registrations. As a result, there was enormous discontent on the part of thousands of fans who wanted to measure their skills, polished and perfected with the fourth installment since 2008, but on the other hand, the record for entries in the same game was broken. This is not the product of chance.