Behind on the Latest Gaming Generation
I was five when a kid brought his Gameboy Advance to summer day camp. I’d heard about games you could carry around in your hand, but I’d never seen them up close. It had a cartridge in the back you could switch out for different games. That day he had a Mario game. He let me play for a few brief minutes before he took it back. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.
I asked my parents about getting one and was given an unequivocal no. Those games were too expensive and would more than likely become a fad and die out.
Two years later, my dad came home with a shiny new Dell desktop computer. He helped me set up my first Yahoo email account. I didn’t have anyone to send emails to, but it was my first foray into the world of technology. The next step? PC games. Zoo Tycoon 2 to be precise.
Then came the Harry Potter PC games. I played my way through Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Goblet of Fire (surprisingly, Prisoner of Azkaban was difficult to find). Then came my favorite; the one PC game I will never turn down: Harry Potter and the Quidditch World Cup.
With the option to play for any of the houses and then any world cup team, I played the game until I almost completed it. To put it in context, there are four house teams, nine world cup teams, and four brooms to play each match with. I played through the game with every team, played every practice match, and played every exhibition match. After sitting down and doing the math, I played 1,056 Quidditch games in total. Of course, with only an hour to play on Saturday and Sunday, it was slow going indeed. Unfortunately, the faithful Dell desktop my father bought so long ago was replaced, and with it, all the memory.
I heard in passing from classmates about the Gamecube and the Nintendo 64, but I never played on one. No, instead I puttered on with my small collection of PC games, eventually forgoing them for pitiful attempts at being an author at the age of twelve and plotting world domination.
A few years later, Nintendo blew our minds with the motion activated Wii. I was excited; my parents (who were never big video game fans) seemed intrigued. My siblings and I all asked if we could get one. We didn’t actually think they would buy it.
After the year ended, we found ourselves proud owners of a Wii. Of course, they bought it because you had to move to play it – can’t have kids be couch potatoes and all that jazz. It didn’t matter. My world seemed to shift.
We stuck to Wii Sports for a while, and the whole ‘you have to be active while playing it’ rule seemed to be holding. Then came Guitar Hero, Mario 2012 Olympics, and the various Lego games. It was like a dam had broken! I played through all the Lego video games; Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman were my favorites. My siblings and I took great joy out of super slapping each other to death (my sister in particular had no qualms about it) in the Lego universe. And then Mario Cart and Skylanders.
Despite this, I knew I was still somehow behind the curve of the video game world. I could hear kids talk about Call of Duty and Black Ops. So, I talked my dad into getting one Call of Duty game – specifically Modern Warfare 3. He even got me the Wii “classic controller” to play it with. I finally thought I was catching up.
Then came Assassin’s Creed. Honestly, it’d been out for years, but it was just coming to my attention in 2013/2014. I was so disappointed when I found I couldn’t actually purchase Assassin’s Creed for the Wii. I knew, despite all the games I could play on the Wii, it was still regarded as the “inferior” system. It was limited both in game availability and scope. Most of the available games seemed to be aimed at a younger audience. I’ll happily admit I adored Skylanders Giants, but why play that when you could play Portal or Assassin’s Creed? Who doesn’t want to go around sneaking and killing dudes without being seen? In a video game of course, be reasonable.
Then it happened; the moment I hadn’t realized I’d been waiting my whole life for.
I got an Xbox 360.
It was like some kind of light shone down and a choir of angels began to sing. I was determined to play, to finally know what the hell Minecraft was all about (blowing up mountains is far more technical and cathartic than I imagined), play Assassin’s Creed, and finally stop being behind everyone. And the perfect opportunity dropped into my lap: I broke both of my legs lifeguarding and was stuck at home by virtue of injury. I played through Assassin’s Creed in a week, Assassin’s Creed II in another.
When you finally get an Xbox, it’s like Christmas and your birthday all wrapped into one. There’s excitement, hyper childlike behavior, and an abundance of eager enthusiasm. You play through all the games you have. Assassin’s Creed I & II, Call of Duty, Sniper Elite III, and Black Ops 1-3. It was glorious. I felt powerful.
Until you remember the 360 is one generation behind.
Honestly there’s really only three bad things about being behind the latest console: The first is the limited storage given to you. The Xbox I got by virtue of my younger brother’s friends (shout out to those lifelong friendships) was old. Really old. It had 4 Gigabytes of memory total. I consulted my guru of all things tech and purchased a 1 Terabyte external hard drive. There’s one problem solved.
Unfortunately, not all storage issues can be resolved this way. I have a copy of Destiny, but it requires an internal hard drive to play. More work on my part, even with YouTube and my guru to help walk me through along the way.
This doesn’t even begin to cover the second set of issues: game access. I am limited in the games I can play on an older system.
Since I’m stuck in the older generation of gaming, I can’t play the games that most of my friends or classmates are talking about. It’s frustrating being limited by your console. No one likes being told they can’t have something, and when you don’t have access to the greatness of Overwatch or Halo, well you want to curl into a fetal position and cry until someone pokes you with a stick. It sucks. Nothing bonds like video games, but you can’t help but feel left out when after avidly discussing Skyrim, your classmate starts on Halo and you’re slowly pushed out of the conversation.
As a college student who often falls under the category of “rarely has money for anything other than stupid school fees,” you tend to get further frustrated. Consoles cost money. Of course, compared to pricing when the Xbox One was originally released, it’s far cheaper to purchase now versus a year ago. Regardless, I’m not looking forward to the days where I have 95 cents in my account and deciding whether to spend it on food or a scantron for class.
The final issue is hacking.
I am SO far behind anyone playing Black Ops. I use Black Ops as my example because I’m a baby gamer who loves the series and can’t think of another one because, again, baby gamer. Black Ops is difficult to play online since most people will exit the minute they see my level 5 waiting for the next round. Of course, some stick around because “Look, cannon fodder!” Then I was introduced to the concept of hacking.
“YOU CAN HACK THE VIDEO GAME?!” Was my first response. Upon further questioning, I learned people hack the game to make sure all their kill shots are head shots, to only play games with noobs on the opposite team, to win every round, or to unlock all of your weapons from the start (I was more offended by being able to unlock all the weapons from the beginning than anything else. I WORKED for those guns). The internet revealed lots of delightful ways to hack the game, and I resigned myself to getting my butt kicked more than anticipated.
But it’s not all bad being behind the current generation of gaming. In fact, there are some bonuses to it.
The great part about being behind? Knowledge. Knowledge is the BEST part about being a generation behind. I can Google any question about any game and get an answer in 1.6 seconds. Trying to access an Assassin crypt in Assassin’s Creed II? YouTube walk-through. Want to sneak through a big WWII Nazi facility without being caught? Step by step directions and another video walk-through. Wanna know how to kill the stupid dragon Alduin? Wikihow.
Heck, there are even cheats available online! Back when my dad played Sonic the Hedgehog on PC, he had to get cheats from word of mouth. Oh, the horror of real interaction! Now you can just Google it.
I can just type in a few words and have maps laid out, plans pinned up, and victories ringing in the back of my mind. Of course, there’s always the risk of a spoiler, but surprisingly I’ve run into very few of those. It helps if you look for something specific.
Additionally, I can learn how to modify my 360 to suit whatever needs I require. It’s not just about game knowledge – it’s about console knowledge. I could Google “How to make my 360 better” and find a video explaining everything I need to know. It’s awesome.
As I mentioned earlier, the price of the Xbox One has dropped over time, and by the laws of economics (screw you Macroeconomics) so too do the prices for 360 games. I can walk into a GameStop or a Game Over for a game sold lower than its original price. Of course, my preferred method is to buy it from people I know or buy stuff online. Online you can add discount bots to your computer and search for the best deals. Depending on the site or app you use, buying games can be a bit sketchy, but it’s a reasonable risk unless you’re buying a whole bunch at once.
Overall, I don’t mind behind a generation behind, especially knowing I’ll be buying a One at some point in the future. I’ve got a plethora of games to choose from and internet access. I don’t really need much else. Yes, I’ve got limited game access, and yes, there are occasionally horrible, stereotypical, screaming, Xbox users to contend with, but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. It’s not nearly as bad as you would expect.