Game Design

Next-Gen Nostalgia

You know, after being in the “next-gen” world for the better part of 2 months, the amazing experiences that were delivered on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 were likely some of the best games the industry has ever seen. It’s easy to look back at consoles from our childhoods and, with our nostalgia-induced confidence, claim that they simply “don’t make ’em like they used to.”

If you really look back at the last generation of consoles and examine the types of franchises we got, it’s pretty incredible. Gears of War, Uncharted, and Mass Effect all managed to go through an entire trilogy in the last console cycle, while one-offs like The Last of Us and Red Dead Redemption were all watershed moments in their respective genres.

Think about that for a moment. Some of the most definitive, immersive, and beautiful games we’ve experienced as an industry thus far happened last generation. To be nostalgic about gaming experiences that happened maybe 2 years ago is a powerful thing, and being fully capable of walking into a Gamestop and picking up games that will one day be considered “classics” for $10 today is pretty incredible. Though our industry keeps trending away from backwards compatibility and software emulation, the fact that these historical titles are as accessible as they are today is an interesting thought to consider.

On a day likely not far from now, we’ll look back on the last generation of consoles and recall the memories and excitement of seeing brand new worlds and characters emerge into popular culture, firmly placing their stake in our fondest recollections of gaming’s past. Maybe the future holds even better, life-defining games. Maybe it will actually deliver on the hype and the promises we’ve been buying into for months now.

Or maybe, we’ll look at our game collection a year from now, shake our heads, and say:

“They just don’t make ’em like they used to.”

Any thoughts?