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Top 10 Things That Sucked About Retro Gaming

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Nathan Sharp Let's just face it: retro gaming wasn't as rose tinted as we all remember. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Things That Sucked About Retro Gaming For this list, we're looking at those things that, frankly, kind of sucked about retro gaming. These flaws can include anything from the games themselves to their marketing to their setups; as long as it was a significant factor in gaming at the time, it's eligible for critique. Special thanks to our users "MikeyP" for suggesting this topic on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Things That Sucked About Retro Gaming


Let's just face it: retro gaming wasn't as rose tinted as we all remember. Welcome to Watchmojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the top ten things that sucked about retro gaming.

For this list, we're looking at those things that, frankly, kind of sucked about retro gaming. These flaws can include anything from the games themselves to their marketing to their setups; as long as it was a significant factor in gaming at the time, it's eligible for critique.

#10: Irrelevant Commercials


In today's age, game commercials are practically an art form in and of themselves. The production qualities are outstanding, they're exciting, and, most importantly, they often show actual gameplay footage to let you know what you're getting into. Back in the day however, you'd practically be going in blind, as the commercials certainly didn't provide any help. They often included overly-enthusiastic actors, corny songs, and little to no mention about what the game is about or how it plays. Sure, they're entertaining, but they definitely fail as informative game commercials.

#9: Early 3D


At the time, 3D was the new and exciting addition to video games. You could fly planes around in three dimensions, or move the camera as well as your character. Put simply, it was revolutionary. However, that doesn't detract from the fact that early 3D – at least on consoles - was atrocious. While PC games had comfortably entered the realm of 3D graphics thanks to powerful video cards, the consoles struggled hard to maintain a balance between framerate, graphical fidelity and enjoyable gameplay. Then again, if you go back to the earliest forms of 3D visuals on the PC and Amiga, you’ll find the same problems the consoles suffered: awful graphics moving at awful an awful framerate.

#8: Early Copy Protection


In order to detract from theft, some early PC video games throughout the 80s and 90s came with a very annoying form of copy protection. These forms of protection required the player to have the original packaging that the game came in, as the answers to the protection's hints or codes were usually found in the manual or box. However developers started to get more cryptic with their copy protection methods, be it the code wheels such as the one found in The Secret of Monkey Island’s box. Or the Lenslok, a rather unreliable lens with prisms inside, that didn’t work on certain monitors that were too big or small.

#7: Bad Translations


Japanese games were popular back in the day, and as a matter of fact, still are. However, the difference between then and now is not the quality of the games, but the quality of the writing. Japanese developers often didn't have the time or the money to perfectly translate their games for a Western audience, and as a result, we were treated to some god awful scripts. Sure, the lines didn't make a lick of sense, and the stories often suffered as a result, but damn were they fun to spot and laugh at.

#6: Arcade Style Difficulty


Because home console games were often inspired by or direct ports of Arcade games, this affected the difficulty curve. Often games were difficult to the point of being unfair, and this can be blame on 2 things: first, they were often very short, thus the difficulty was there to artificially extend the life of the games. Also, the arcade mentality of trying to kill the player to get more quarters out of them still persisted at home: hey manI spent A LOT of quarters to buy this console, you can chill with difficulty, bro.

#5: No Online Guides


In today's age of instant online access, tricky sections of video games are as easy as booting up Google and seeking help, or watching a quick tutorial on YouTube. Unfortunately for gamers back in the day, no such gratification was granted. Sure, there were strategy guides and various walkthroughs in magazines, but that required purchasing the guide, flipping through it, reading what you're supposed to do, and trying it out for yourself, which was often difficult due to the cryptic game designs of the time. It's much easier to simply hop onto YouTube and check it out firsthand. Back then, if you were stuck, chances are you might stay stuck.

#4: No Patches


In today's gaming landscape, patches are extremely necessary. Not only does it seem like every game that comes out today is released broken and buggy, but patches are often used to fix up certain issues in a game, or to help improve it in some meaningful way. While many see this is a crutch that lazy developers and publishers lean on, this is still better than the opposite, because unfortunately for retro gamers, there was no such thing. If a game was shipped broken or glitchy, which did happen, then the player was stuck with that glitchy mess of a game which they just spent hard-earned money on. PC games started to bring in patches in the mid 90s, but have fun downloading each version of every update in order on your 56k modem.

#3: Gaming Was Much More Expensive


While it seems like video gaming today is an expensive hobby, it's nothing compared to the costs of the older generations at the time. For example, the Atari 2600, which was released in 1977, had a launch price of $199, which adjusted for inflation would be around $780 in 2016. The original NES launched in 1985, and its cheapest launch bundle also went for $199, about $440 today, indicating a downward (yet still pricey) trajectory. Some more examples, Street Fighter II Turbo on SNES retailed for $75, plus tax, Strider on the Genesis retailed for $80, While Phantasy Star IV on Genesis was $100. And don’t even get me started on the Neo Geo.

#2: No Saving


Think about this, if you wanted to say: beat Super Mario Bros 3 without using warps, you had to do it all in one sitting. While it's true that some video games in the 80s employed what was called “password saving,” it was extremely flawed. Not only were the passwords often long and complex, but they had to be written down, meaning they were easily lost, smudged, or written incorrectly. Eventually games started to include Battery Backup saving, first seen in The Legend of Zelda on the NES, allowing players to save their progress … until the battery went flat. This also fed into the problem we discussed earlier, apropos to difficulty and short length. Fun stuff!

Before we look at our most annoying pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Short Controller Cords
Trying to Find the Right Channel

#1: No Online Resources to Warn Us of Bad Games


Anybody who follows gamings these days knows that there are few surprises after you’ve bought a game. Today, you can simply hop onto Metacritic and see the numerical value to get a quick assumption on the game's quality, or read the 50+ aggregated reviews. Back in the day, there was no such thing. There were reviews in magazines, but again, that required actually buying the magazine and listening to one critics' opinion – if you missed the issue that they discussed that game, TS. It was either that, or word of mouth, which was rather limited. You mainly just had to buy your $50 game and hope for the best. Usually, this involved judging a game by it's cover – not a sure fire strategy.

Do you agree with our list? What annoyed you about retro gaming? For more criticaltop tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to Watchmojo.com.

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