8-Bit Memories: A Look Back at a Simpler Time

The Legend of Zelda

I’ve said in the past that I hate modern gaming. I’m slowly coming to realize that that’s not technically true.

What I hate is the triple-A-style shooter and the “throw every type of gameplay into the game in hopes of getting a broad demographic” thought process behind so many of them. Over the years, video games have gotten more complex, which has allowed for some amazing feats. That doesn’t always mean they’re better, though.

And sometimes, you just want to sit back with something simple.

There’s a certain joy in many of the old, retro-style games that’s hard to match with today’s gaming. Games like Shovel Knight and DuckTales Remastered work hard to re-create that very specific type of joy, and they do an admirable job of it. Yet there aren’t many games like the ones I grew up with — those exquisite platformers and pixelated JRPGs. With the NES, you had two buttons and a direction pad, and those limitations inspired developers to get creative.

The Legend of Zelda

Even when they failed, something amazing could potentially be salvaged from them. Review shows like The Angry Video Game Nerd showcase some of the worst dreck in video game history, yet the fact that people have gotten so much enjoyment out of a guy saying “fuck” about particularly shitty games suggests that even the shitty games had a certain charm.

During the 8-bit era, games felt new, the medium was expanding, and the resulting joy was wonderful.

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