Perusing ye olde Internets as of late, I’ve come across several articles reporting the details of Sony’s upcoming Playstation 4, including the system’s $500+ price tag, and that it can be controlled via smartphones or tablets. (/facepalm) Aside from a release date of November, 2013, the system’s price tag and integration with other Internet appliances has nearly made up the whole of the system’s hype. Well, what about the games, or any new technology in the system that might actually advance gaming in some significant way? Shouldn’t there be some kind of new and legitimately exciting game-related hype regarding this new GAMING system? (I’m sorry, but rehashing the same types of titles we had in the previous system — only with slightly prettier graphics — just doesn’t do it for me.)
And I’ll tell ya something else, I’ve just about had it with game consoles that have integrated marketplaces (for music, movies and non-gaming services like Hulu and Netflix), ads in the menus, and even Internet search engines like Bing…FREAKIN’ BING, for God’s sake! One of consoles greatest strengths over the decades was that they were solely dedicated to gaming (unlike those “pesky” and “troublesome” PCs), but with the last couple of generations (namely THE last generation), they’ve essentially become PCs — only with operating systems and hardware that you can’t customize or mod without fear of being banned from the system’s official online network (all the while being served advertisements and whatnot, of course).
At 43, I know I’m older than shite and prone to romantic waves of nostalgia, but for all the great games we’ve had over the years in the post-16-bit era, it’s always seemed to me like gaming lost some of its soul once it moved beyond the “fourth generation”. The early game consoles had to focus solely on the GAME aspect, and couldn’t rely on all of the superfluous riff-raff that we have these days for gaming “content”. As far as gaming goes, those old machines were just about as pure as could be.
Now, I don’t mean to come off like I’ve hated every post-16-bit system, ’cause that’s not the case at all. While it’s true that every generation of console gaming seems to keep me interested less and less, with each system I’ve had, there have always been small little windows of time where I’ve come across great games that had me “all in”. (Well, with the exception of a few systems…like the Nintendo 64, which I have pretty much always despised.) But damn, those windows seem to get farther and farther apart with every year, and I feel like I’m incredibly close to completely and truly giving up on console gaming for forever.
So, while gamers everywhere get all hyped up for the next generation of consoles being ushered in by the announcement of the PS4 (We can’t really count the Wii U, right?), I’m gonna go a different route and revisit one of gaming’s brightest lights: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
I think it would be fun to go back and take a serious dive into the 16-bit pool, re-playing not only the classic titles that I’ve always loved, but to also check out the many games that I missed along the way. I’m sure I’ll be both pleased and horrified in this endeavor, and will be covering it all in a feature I like to call…SNESfan. Stay tuned!