I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and throughout my childhood there has been one thing that I can say has changed both the most and the least since then: video games. I cannot honestly say when it was that I got my first console, but I can tell you what it was. It was the original Nintendo, the classic gaming console that many people say has defined video games more than any other, as well as brought video games into the main stream media. I do not believe them wrong. Back then, I did not own many games. I can specifically remember only a few; the original Mario Brothers, Mario Brothers 3, Duck Hunt, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that is still today one of my favorite video games of all time.
Later, I got a Sega Genesis and a little later a Playstation. Both of these were amazing leaps in technology to my young mind. I remember staring wide-eyed at the semi-three dimensional looking Sonic the Hedgehog as I started him running across the screen. With the Playstation three-dimensional gaming became a thing for me, and the seemingly amazing graphics of the Sega Genesis compared to the Nintendo were quickly forgotten. Since then I have played every type of console that has come to market, though I have not owned many of them. Personally, I have become more of a fan of computer gaming over consoles. Even so, the technological advancements made in this interactive form of entertainment have been breathtaking. Just recently I played the not too long ago released Tomb Raider and found myself captivated by the stunning detail of the environments. The look of the forests, the ancient ruins, the wrecked ships were all astonishing. Then, out of a sense of nostalgia, I began re-playing the eternal classic Final Fantasy VII and found myself chuckling at the “terrible graphics” that had captivated me just more than a decade ago.
Yet despite all the ways in which games have improved over time, I find myself similarly fascinated with how little has actually changed. The controls have not changed all that much, save for adding a few more buttons and making them fit more comfortably in your hand. Environments are three-dimensional now, but overall concepts remain the same. Saving princesses, collecting coins, driving really fast, shooting Nazis; it’s all there. I continue to do the same things in games now that I did back when I was only seven years old, and I think that is fantastic. Not only does this give me a sense of familiarity, it also offers me a way of connecting with others much younger than myself by giving us a common ground. I adore talking with my friend’s six year old about how much she loves Kingdom Hearts or Mario.
If anyone ever needed proof of how modern technology has influenced the world, they need look no further than video games, now one of the most popular forms of entertainment on the planet. Sure, the games may look better now than they did two decades ago, but they remain the same in spirit. Like many, I consider games to be a unique form of modern art as well as a technological marvel of our time.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com