Words On Wednesday

Words on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I’m a nostalgic gamer, and I hope I’m not alone.


Video Game Backwards Compatibility

The discussion on whether game consoles should be backwards compatible is extremely polarized.


There are certainly good arguments both for and against backwards compatibility. Those in support of backwards compatibility suggest that it allows collections of video games to remain useful, long after their original platform becomes obsolete. Early fans can, with a backwards compatible console, play the classics they grew up with.


Gamers who argue against backwards compatibility mainly cite the increased cost and limitations on hardware. If the creators of a new console are required to incorporate hardware that will also support older games, they are limited in how much they can stray from the predecessor. Furthermore, those who do not want backwards compatible consoles propose the idea that people who want to play games from an older generation should play them on that older generation’s hardware. “If new hardware supports older games,” they say, “it detracts from games that are new or exclusive to the latest hardware.”


Personally, I fall in the camp that supports backwards compatibility. Having been a primarily Playstation gamer since the early days of the PS2, I sincerely wish that my PS3 and eventual PS4 would play games from my large collection of PS1 and PS2 titles. Furthermore, I have a large library of PS3 games that I haven’t yet played, games that I feel obligated to finish before I upgrade to a PS4.


One recent gaming trend that I have been thoroughly excited for is the tendency of developers to release HD Remasters of old games onto new platforms. I believe the majority of games that I have played on my PS3 in the last year or so have been remasters of old PS2 games. This is a fantastic middle ground between the two camps, as it preserves phenomenal classics while demonstrating the graphical and processing prowess of newer hardware. I would be overjoyed for more developers to release more old titles recreated for the newest platforms. The limits of the HD Remasters are that developers must sacrifice time creating new titles to make them, and that not all older games will be recreated.


In response to the charge that old games should be played on old hardware, how many consoles do you expect me to keep sitting around? I currently have my PS3 and Wii hooked up to my living room TV. When I want to play classics, I can break out the N64 or the original Xbox. What about when I upgrade to the PS4 and WiiU, though? Am I going to have all these consoles hooked up at once? My TV only has so many ports. It would be so much easier if I could simply have the PS4, WiiU, and possibly latest Microsoft console hooked up and be able to play games from all previous generations. Instead of having to pull consoles out of the attic and fiddle with cables when I want to experience nostalgia, I just pop in the game of choice.


Sony (and possibly other companies) has lately been putting more and more PS1 and PS2 games onto the PSN store for purchase. I have mixed feelings about this practice, but it is a step in the right direction. If I own disc copies of games, I don’t want to have to purchase them over again in digital form. Yes, I did pay for the HD Remasters of many games, but those were upgraded versions of the originals. Simply buying the originals over again seems unfair to those of us who still have our games. As I said, I’m glad that the option is available, it’s better than not having access to the games at all and I don’t mind paying for a few particularly awesome games here and there (looking at you, Crash Bandicoot).


To accommodate for the increased hardware requirement to run both old games and new, I would gladly pay extra for a version of new consoles that had backwards compatibility. I would even be willing to purchase versions that have to be increased in size to contain the necessary hardware. If a PS4 were offered today with backwards compatibility for all previous Playstation games for… say $450 to $500, I would gladly buy it. I might would even purchase a similar Xbox One to play all the Xbox 360 exclusives I missed out on.


I realize more everyday, I’m part of a dying breed of gamers. Though there are exceptions, so many new gamers care only about the latest games with the best graphics. Developers pump out a new version every couple of years and the previous version is all but abandoned. Maybe I’m just a bleeding heart bent on nostalgia. Playing through some old school Super Mario World makes me feel like I’m 8 years old again, tweaking out on some Lucky Charms cereal over summer break.


ECHL Hockey Scores

I love ice hockey, but getting current scores could be easier.


For the most part, I’m not big into sports. I like NCAA football and ECHL ice hockey, that’s about it. Usually, Google Now makes it super easy to get sports scores. My phone automatically alerts me to upcoming games and current scores for any NCAA and NHL teams I follow. This is awesome, especially when I’m not at the games. ECHL isn’t yet supported, and that makes me sad.


I’m well aware that ECHL is a far smaller league, with far fewer people who would care about having the games available. However, with the plethora of sports available, it seems as though it wouldn’t take much more effort by Google to pull in some minor league sports. I am fully aware that the ECHL does offer an app to give score updates, but that seems to break cohesion with the rest of my sports updates. I want to look in one central place (Google Now) and have information on all upcoming and current games to all the sports I follow.
Until ECHL support is added, I’ll have to depend on the app or friends at Road Warrior games. I should be thankful that I do have the technology available to me, rather than depending on the next day’s newspaper for a score update. This is simply a minor request I have for Google.


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