The saying “they don’t make them like they used to” is getting a whole new meaning when it comes to video games. Back in the day, games lacked all the flashy effects and graphics they have today so, in order to be successful, they had to offer their players something more than just visuals: actual atmosphere and insane amounts of fun. And they truly left a mark, as confirmed by the revival of some of the greatest retro gadgets like The C64, the PlayStation Classic Mini (complete with 20 PS1 games like Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms), and many others.
Today, ‘serious’ gaming divides people into two – maybe three – camps. First, there is the divide between PC gamers and console fans and second, there’s the divide between Xbox and PlayStation users, each of them considering their choice the better one. This is not something new, though – such “feuds” were pretty usual back in the day when we also had many competing platforms to choose from.
Those of you in your 40s with an affinity for computer games (not consoles, mind you), especially in Europe, probably remember the divide between Spectrum and Commodore users. While the Commodore 64 was clearly superior to the humble ZX Spectrum used by many in Europe, it had enough adepts to make it one of the most popular platforms in the world (we’re talking about the 1980s). Wikipedia only lists about 1,700 of the several thousand games available on ZX Spectrum, often released by developers that exist to this day (Epic, Activision, and Codemasters, to name just a few). At the same time, the variety of games available on C64 was equally broad, and the platform offered better graphics and sound, as well as better (and more expensive) peripherals like the Datasette, a dedicated magnetic storage device (while the Spectrum used normal audio cassettes to store data). The users of both were adamant their choice was the best. Ultimately, both parties succumbed to the evolution of technology and either became PC (most of them) or console gamers.
Another such feud emerged in the early days of true 3D game engines. ID Software’s Quake was the first game to use true 3D models, and suddenly all games were called “Quake clones”. Then another game – and a new game engine – emerged shortly after the release of Quake 2 (and its game engine) known as Unreal… and all hell broke loose. I’ve seen guys almost get physical upon which of the two games – and the two game engines – was best. Looking back on these fights, it was all in vain – ultimately, both game engines were replaced by more advanced ones. ID Software has released the sixth version of its game engine a couple of years ago, and Epic is currently at the fourth major release of its Unreal Engine.
Have you ever seen – or taken part – in a similar feud in the past? Please share in a comment below.
I remember the Sierra VS LucasArts feud for Point-and-click adventure fans.