This site is about acknowledging and remembering where the roots of gaming came from. Along the way, there were certain innovations, perks and characteristics that have either faded away or blended into the current generations of consoles. Back when these gaming extras were present, they could often be ideal to the game or system. Here are some those that either don’t exist anymore, or just have their place in some other technological fashion.
1. Custom soundtracks
When Ridge Racer on PlayStation gave you the ability to play your own CDs during a race… let me tell you, this was a game changer. Sure, it sounds like a novelty to be able to do, but that novelty grew to a really cool perk to look forward too, but not just in racing games, but especially racing games! The original Xbox came fully functional with a harddrive, ready to download tracks from any audio CD you put in it. From there, it could inject those tracks in to compatible games, like Project Gotham Racing 2. I cannot tell you how many playlists I crafted or CDs I burned for specific games that used this functionality. Eventually, this would become a standard for other consoles in the generation past the Xbox one form or another.
2. The hard to find glitches and bugs
Glitches that happened because of hours of experimentation, or even better, by accident. Like the Mega Man pause glitch or the infamous and numerous MissingNo. bugs. Large amounts of QA testing can catch most problems in a game, but when a game has one print run on a cartridge with no possibility of a patch, someone in the public is bound to break it, and those are often the oddest legacies a game can leave behind.
3. Console modding
While this is big in the retro scene now: adding more compatible or better outputting visual signals to an older console… there were times when having a modded console was pretty awesome. Region-locked consoles where particularly susceptible to the temptation of those wanting to play games outside of their console’s region. Modding your console was an answer for a select few. Sure, there were other nefarious reasons to mod your console outside of breaking the region lock… nowadays it’s less about modding the hardware and more about breaking the firmware on consoles.
4. The Vaporware
Remember Starcraft: Ghost? How about Project Overkill? You may not, but these were games that almost came out, or were cancelled during development. Now known as vaporware, some of these games eventually saw the light of day in one form or another. It was always cool reading up on the progress of development of games yet to be released in magazines and now in retrospect, a lot of them never made it or morphed into something completely different.
5. Near perfect games upon release
It is actually kind of annoying to hear people say that games where better “back in my day.” And an argument that stems from that sentiment is that games didn’t need patches when you first start up the game. Day one patches normally do help a game on launch day. Not having to worry about a download is not something I necessarily miss, but there was something magical about slamming a cartridge into your system for the first time. You didn’t have to worry about the game freezing your system, save-eating bugs, or whether or not you had enough storage space to run the damn thing. Among other things that can go wrong with a games these days, patches and hot fixes weren’t one of them. Gaming was easier and simpler, “things just worked.”