Feature: Why 8 bit kicked ass

For some reason the 29 different FPS’ in the past year didn’t strike a chord with me, yet when I go into GAME they try and sell me one every time. I always tell them the 8 bit era will never be beaten, they don’t believe me “Why would that era beat this one?” the 16-year old employee asks. Why that’s simple I would reply…

5. Patience is a virtue

The modern gamer has it all, take the famed COD series. Black Ops was released world wide on 9th November 2010 selling something crazy like 5million in a day. Woo I got the game the same day as my American counterparts, that’s pretty sweet. It wasn’t always like that, Super Mario Bros. was release in 1985, Europe got it in 1987 (TWO YEARS!) and it wasn’t until 1991 that was got Super Mario Bros. 3, just a point out in 1991 we got the graphically superior Sonic the Hedgehog some two months before we got Super Mario Bros. 3. Can you imagine that happening now? Super Mario galaxy 2 released in June of last year is one of my favourite games but it was released in May in Japan and NA, that was two months…can you imagine waiting until Summer 2012 for this game? Exactly.

4. I was a gaming God because I was forced to be.

Lets pick a game from the 8 bit era…say Super Mario Bros. 1 (again), now I know a lot of people who would class themselves as hardcore gamers who have never completed this game. It’s a hard game that no matter how many times I complete it I still have trouble with specific bits in world 8. In the 8 bit era there was no internet so I couldn’t find out any tips or strategies, I had to explore every single brick and wall in the hope of finding a warp pipe or a fire flower or a one up. That exploration element as well as the timing on jumps and knowing when you can rush through a level is still pretty apt in most games today, aside from now I can save and check on the net. Mario didn’t save back in the day, if I got a game over it was back to square one and a huge grind out that gave great results at the end.

3. I wasn’t spoilt

I have had a Wii for the third incarnation since July of last year in that time period I have amassed around about 20 games (barely in a year) yet when I was a kid we would get two or three games in that period, one for my birthday, one for my sisters and one for Christmas. Games were a lot more expensive then (anyone remember £70 for a Megadrive game?) and by goodness would a game get its use. I hazard to guess how many time my Mario carts (as in game carts not driving round!) have been played through all these years. I wonder if in a time when you could get upwards of 20 games easily in a year that kids in twenty five years time will remember the magic of playing a game to death and not getting bored. Exactly.

2. Imagination was key

“The land of Hyrule is in chaos oh no As Link you’ll that’s me wooop be sent on a treacherous journey to return six precious Crystals to their origins in …” That’s from the Adventure of Link…what about Mario 1? “You’ll have to think fast” see the focus is on me here, me the player. This is my realm where now it’s Mario this Link that, there it was about me, they need my help. Look at Hyrule in OOT:

Hyrule: OOT

Not much to be left to the imagination, but look at Hyrule in Legend of Zelda:

Hyrule: TLOZ

That could be anywhere, your imagination runs wild as you picture yourself on the adventure in a forest near your home, enveloping you further into the game making the 8 bit more like a book than the current generations movie like qualities.

1. It was built to last

Jack Tretton stated that the PS3 was “a machine that we firmly believe is future proof and is going to carry us for the next 10 years.” yet already the original PS3 is out of production, the original Xbox was why? Because they broke down all the time. The NES and Master System would occasionally have a break down due to dust (blowing in cartridge anyone?!) but a simple clean up fixed that. Both my NES and master system (both released 1987 in the UK) still work with no problems.

The NES I thought I’d broken when I kicked it across the room accidentally drunk one day and it came with a huge crack on the casing. The fudger still works fine would you believe it?

There’s just something magic about plugging in your 8bit machine again and playing a familiar game bringing so many memories back to life.


Posted on 01/02/2011, in Features. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Some truer words have never spoken. I think casting my mind back to NES days, Mario 1 cost my parents £80. They must have had a lot of faith in those things!

    I can remember in Mario 3 where you would wander round the world map and go into those mushroom houses and play those card games. It would have something like 5 different setups for the cards in those “find a pair” games. I’d mapped out each one on a piece of paper (through trial and error!) so that if I turned over one card, I knew what the rest were. Genius!

    I’ll refer you also to a quote from Sheldon Cooper:

    “Oh yes. It runs on the world’s most powerful graphics chip, imagination.”

    This is something I still hold dear. Take a peak at some Dwarf Fortress or another rogue-link game and you’ll see what I mean!

  2. Muffin Top Merkley

    I love the fact that my NES and SNES are still in working condition many years later.

    Every once in a while, I’ll still hook it up and spend the day playing.

  1. Pingback: New to Nintendo Lee? «

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