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Next Gen Consoles are Killing the Nostalgia Factor

With the XBox One and PlayStation 4 announcements behind us, we are gradually learning more and more about Microsoft’s and Sony’s next consoles. Although the internet exploded in the past weeks over every aspect of the new consoles, I am still very excited for both. Gamers will no doubt learn about some fantastic games next week at E3 for the new consoles as well, which will only fuel the online fire. From the details that have been divulged surrounding both consoles, one thing seems pretty clear to me… this next generation of consoles is going to completely cut out any feelings of nostalgia people have while playing games.

XBox One and PlayStation 4 have some very advanced features, all of which will probably enhance the game playing/entertainment enjoying experience. However, for old school gamers who grew up through the progression of home consoles will recognize, small things that hold sentimental value are being cut out (probably because they provide sheer nostalgic enjoyment, but don’t enhance playing games at all). The first of the items being altered is the method of sharing gameplay highlights. I recall the day before games like Halo and Call of Duty recorded every online game and made them available to save locally. The good times of trying to explain to siblings and friends how a tremendous running riot in Halo online multiplayer, or a fluke pick-6 in a game of Madden are seemingly over. Not only can you save online and offline replays now (which you have been able to do for a while now), but the PlayStation 4 allows other users to actively view the game you’re playing. Both consoles feature advanced options to share content, which takes some of the fun out of explaining to people hyperbolic tales of gaming greatness. In this next generation, everyone will basically have access to anyone’s gameplay videos. Although this is great for players to share their tips, tricks, failures, and successes, it doesn’t carry the great nostalgia factor that word of mouth does.

The second nostalgic factor that next generation consoles are cutting out is the obvious enjoyment of just playing old games. Even with fantastic games being released all the time, gamers still love to pop in an old disc and play a game for sheer nostalgic joy. Games can take you back to a specific time in your life and that kind of pseudo time travel is sentimental. With the XBox One and PlayStationg 4 not being backwards compatible, gamers won’t even have the option of enjoying an old title unless they keep their old consoles up and running (in a few years just the act of turning on an XBox 360 or PS3 could be nostalgic by itself). Like many, I like to keep my old titles just in case the urge hits me to go back and play through it again, but that may no longer be an option in the future.

Finally, the third way, and arguably the strongest nostalgia evoking action that is being thrown out (thanks to the XBox One) is swapping controllers while playing local multiplayer. Local multiplayer alone carries a little sentimental value for anyone who ever crammed into a basement almost 20 years ago to play four player Goldeneye, or whatever the game of choice was. The act of trading controllers to properly match players to the best position on the screen is an action that only true gamers will understand and have appreciation for. Everyone had their specific color of N64 controller (neon/transparent purple for me) that they had to use during a session of Goldeneye multiplayer (or Halo, etc.)… and what inevitably always ended up happening was that the controllers had to be switched so that your quadrant of the television matched up closest to where you were sitting. This was always a big production and somehow was never sorted out before the game started. Crushing this great nostalgic memory is XBox One’s new controller which senses where you are sitting and automatically shifts each player’s quadrant of tv to the optimal position (meaning player 1 isn’t locked into the top left, but will be moved to whichever position is best). There will no longer be switching cords at the start of the game, or shuffling seats to get closest to your section of tv and that’s sad in a way.

All of these items that the XBox One and PlayStation 4 are changing will no doubt create a more seamless gameplay experience and enable more content to be shared with people worldwide (minus in regards to used games which won’t be able to be shared at all without an additional cost) and that’s great,  but at the same time, I am going to miss the little nostalgic actions that I grew up with while gaming. I, as well as countless other gamers, will just have to keep our old consoles in working order in case we feel the urge to battle over who is first player in Mario Kart 64.

Lucas has evolved in his video game preferences. With a foundation in predominantly sports game, action adventure games are now his favorite to play. He is a competitive swimmer and likes to play volleyball, basketball, and golf.

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