Monday, 20 October 2014

Why Do We Buy Old Games?

This is a 300 word article I wrote as an application to Rock Paper Shotgun. -oP
So you’ve just just built an epic gaming rig, you prepare to crank up those settings to ‘ultra’; you imagine the difference will be similar to Anakin Skywalker’s sensation of going from 0 to 588mph in his podracer. Shaking, you attempt to grip your £200 gaming mouse without accidentally pressing one of several (hundred) buttons; then you stare into the face-enveloping abyss of your quad-monitor setup. You click on Steam and… What? Baldur’s Gate is 50% off? Um.. ADD TO CART!

As a lover of old games which don’t like working on newer machines, I am guilty of doing this. Unfortunately I haven’t really got the time for digital deja vu; you know, with life ’n stuff. The truth is: if it wasn’t for digital download services acting as facilitators of our pixelated hoarding addiction, then we probably wouldn’t be revisiting old games.

These services have been a boon to the indie ‘scene’ (if anyone is still calling it that), as it’s now easier than ever to get your game out to the masses. Although, this isn't necessarily a good thing - as a quick perusal of Steam Greenlight will tell you. We love pixels, hell we love pixels so much we’re now starting to hate pixels (and the word ‘crafting'), so perhaps this torrent of modern, yet low-res 2D stylisation is a catalyst for our nostalgia.

There’s also very little risk in buying a game that we already know we’ll like, whereas investing in early access is probably, at it’s core, the biggest risk for us as the consumer. So for now I think I’ll close down Steam, finish browsing Kickstarter and dust off my copy of Theme Hospital; cranked up to ultra, naturally.