Time Traveling

Just a random thought as I drove home today:

If I was to go back in time, kidnap my younger self when he was a teen, and bring him to this glorious future of information and technology, I think he’d have the following reactions:

  1. Holy crap, I’m married?  To a girl?
  2. Um, HOW many kids was that again?
  3. What have they done to Star Trek?  Do I have to kill that Quantum Leap guy in the past so this doesn’t happen?
  4. YOU ARE SO DANG LUCKY WITH ALL THESE VIDEO GAMES!

It was reaction 4 that made me realize just how much I — all of us, really — take our games for granted.  We moan and complain when a class gets nerfed or when we have to wait another few months for the 5,421st MMORPG to finally launch, and we completely miss the big picture that my younger self would see in a heartbeat.

As a kid, I don’t think I ever envisioned a future where I could explore giant virtual worlds in 3D, with all sorts of bells and whistles and goodies just for a measly $15 a month.  I think, back then, I would’ve just been happy with the absolute bare basic MMO and still consider myself blessed beyond belief.  To be connected with thousands of friends across the world?  To have a persistent character?  To visit the worlds of Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan, Warhammer, Dungeons & Dragons?

It would’ve blown my mind.  And now I see a guy who is increasingly hard to impress, who has to work hard to retain the optimistic passion that I had in the past when it came to games.

We complain way, way too much in comparison to the great amount of entertainment that’s put at our fingertips for obscenely low (or no) prices.

About these ads

15 thoughts on “Time Traveling

  1. Pingback: Tamagotchi Craze | Kill Ten Rats

  2. I had a similar revelation last week, when I went to lunch with my teen daughter and we were talking about stuff like Zork, Netrek, Rogue and Atari’s “Adventure.” (See what you have to look forward to when you raise your kid in gamer culture? lol)

    At one point, she sighed and said to me, “It must have been sooooo cool, growing up when you did and seeing all this stuff develop!”

    That made me realize that it’s been a pretty awesome ride, and I definitely take it for granted sometimes. :)

  3. LOL. I used to play Dungeons and Dragons in the mid ’70s – just when the handheld electronic calculator was becoming available. I can clearly remember thinking: wouldn’t it be kewel if we had a computer thing that would generate the D20s, apply all the modifiers, lookup all the special rules etc.
    Then we could forget about the mechanics and just play the story…
    Which only goes to show: be careful what you wish for; it might come true.

  4. I’ve thought a lot about that lately. I’ve thought about what makes me happy in games, and when I realized that I was happier back in the day being glued to my TV playing a Final Fantasy or other J-RPG than I have been in years with MMOs, I decided it was time for a change.

    I’m still playing WoW with friends, but I wonder if I can recapture a few of those “Oh, wow!” moments like I had when I first played the FFVII demo that came with Tobal No. 1.

    The older I get, the more jaded and cynical I become despite my best efforts at being more wide-eyed and wonderstruck. I may just need to try harder.

  5. I can still remember the joy of playing on my first PC. It did not even have a hard drive, but two floppy disks and 512kb ram.. Four colors on the screen. If I knew then how games would be like now.. I have thought of how it would be to take my laptop back to that time, just to show off some simple graphics and games. Everyone would believe it was alien technology.

    Yes, we do take things for granted. Forgetting that most people did not even have a computer only 25 years back. And if you had one, there were only a few colors on the screen, with huge visible pixels.

  6. @Sharon: Was that an authentic “sooooo cool”, or did that come with eye rolling?

  7. I remember DM’ing Gamma World campaigns trying to draw as many pictures as possible, photocopying and building programs to interact with on my TRS-80 CoCo to augment the story. Wishing I could put it all on the computer and have it do it all.

  8. Pingback: “Gaming Brats” or “We’ve Come a Long Way From Pong” « Are We New At This?

  9. Gamma World!!! Boot Hill, anyone? Endless hours designing D&D scenarios.

    Started with a field trip to a science and engineering competition in 1977. Stumbling into a basement room filled with huge computers, several very cool, pale-faced grad students showed us a “game” they invented. You very clumsily plotted your course through the galaxies and would encounter planets, romulans & klingons that would chase you, strange star-clusters that might explode.

    It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.

    Every move, you would print out a page on a dot-matrix printer and it looked literally like this:

    ………………………………*…………………………..
    …………………………………………………………….
    …………………………………………………….()……
    …………………………………………………………….
    …..#……………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………

    with each symbol representing something in the galaxy. Just seeing that takes me back.

    Have we come a long way? Obviously, but in a way that wierd little clunky game stimulated my imagination in a way I don’t think I’ll ever feel again.

  10. Nope, even the teenaged me would still balk at paying a subscription. If anything, he’d be more pissed off, since he was playing console games almost exclusively, and would wonder how in the world anyone could be conned into continuing to pay for a game.

    These days, I still hate it, but there are other things I detest more.

  11. Gaming has grown up with us, as have our expectations and standards. Think back to the same past you were talking about; how many movies/tv shows were made in that time frame that would still be impressive today? Maybe a few gems, but most media from 10+ years ago doesn’t stand up to current standards.

    We expect more from our games than we used to and we get better games because we have higher standards. It’s not a bad thing at all.

    It may be fun to reminisce about old games, but how many of them could you actually sit down and play today?

  12. Pingback: Complacency is Bad « Procrastination Amplification

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s