Evolution Of Gaming (Or What Replaying ‘Crash Bandicoot’ Has Taught Me)


Ladies & Gentlemen, I am a gamer.

I don’t not hesitate to call myself as such, I believe I have earned the title, I’ve been gaming for 14 years and I will continue to do so for many more. Now obviously being a child of the 90s I never grew up with the N64 or the SNES, no my console of choice was and still is the playstation, from humble beginnings of Spyro The Dragon and Crash Bandicoot on PS1 to the PS2 and the introduction of Grand Theft Auto and the sandbox game all the way to now, the PS3 where the FPS is king (and say what you want about the franchise, I think Call Of Duty has some fun games, sue me). I’ve dabbled in Mario for the Gameboy and I’ve got a good handful of PC games off Steam.

But I’m not here to talk about myself – well not all of it – no I’m going to talk about the evolution of gaming and what a simple replay of Crash Bandicoot has taught me in the past few days. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright ugly.

Poor, I know.

THE GOOD

We got rid of the lives system.

This is something that has always been a pain in the arse of a gamer, especially in the 80s, where you only had a limited number of lives to complete the whole game. Obviously this has evolved into being able to pick up lives in the game to just having unlimited retries allowing everyone to enjoy the game, not just the obsessive compulsive ones.

On a side-note, Crash really f*cks you on lives, you could end a gaming session with 50 lives all stock-piled but when you came back you were back to only 4.

Yeah, just keep smiling you furry little b*stard

We made it easier to save.

Again this is just a problem I’ve had with the first Crash, a lot of other PS1 games were really easy to save but it has gotten a lot easier. With Crash you could only save by one of two methods, complete a level by breaking every single box without dying or by finishing a bonus level that not every level had. It was tiresome and annoying and I can’t count how many levels I had to replay because I couldn’t save. Now this too has change through the years, we had the ability to save on the fly through the pause menu and GTA still has it’s save house – something that while annoying does allow you to see more of the game world – but nowadays everything is auto-saved, this allows for smoother game-play since you don’t have to pause every so often and it means that you don’t lose a lot when you die.

Hello my dear, I shall see you again in an hour.

We’ve made games easier.

This goes hand in hand with the fact that there’s no more lives, we just have to get from one end to the other and if we die we die. I know it’s a kids game and the lives are plentiful but Crash is pretty difficult at times. The slightest touch from an enemy will kill you, you can’t control where you’re bouncing half the time and don’t get me started on wanting to complete the game 100%. These days everyone can finish a game and if you want to go the full 100 there’s nothing stopping you, it gives you a sense of achievement.

Ah sh*t

THE BAD

We’ve made games easier

You know, sometimes I like a challenge, sometimes I want to spend some time on a game, I still get the sense of achievement but it’s all the sweeter because of the time it took to get there. With no lives system people just go through the motions, not being careful, not taking their times and missing a hell of a lot.

YA DANCER, YES.

We’ve lost our creative spirit.

Ever game nowadays is a goddamn shooter or at least has shooter elements in it. Nearly every game in this modern age can be described as Call of Duty with… and it’s bloody annoying, you can’t tell one C.O.D. rip-off from another. This gets so bad that a genuinely decent game like Spec Ops needs word of mouth to get it’s praise because it looks like a C.O.D. rip-off.

Now think back to the early days, you had all manner of crazy game types, you had super-fast blue hedgehogs, you had Italian plumbers with a  hatred for turtles. Two of the PS1’s biggest icons were an orange bandicoot and a purple dragon. People took risks, they made fun games with crazy characters, you just don’t get that anymore.

It’s an orange marsupial riding a wart-hog. How is this NOT cool?

THE UGLY

We’ve forgotten to colour it in.

Sorry to beat on a dead horse that every other gamer has beat to death but it’s true, a disturbing amount of games have gone grey and brown, only a handful of games actually have any colour in them. I get that they’re suppose to be gritty and realistic but there’s a time and a place. If every game is gritty, no game is gritty and it loses it’s appeal. Contrast with the early days like Crash or Spyro, both bright, both cheery, both fun. Remember that? Fun?

First level and already more colour than Black Ops

So there you have it, six reasons off the top of my head that prove whatever you want them to. You can use these in an argument to say modern gaming is better or you can use them to say it sucks, I don’t care, I’m just as happy throwing down some deathclaws in a marathon in Fallout as I am jumping on turtles in Crash Bandicoot.

Such a simple life.

For more Gaming Goodness check out Another 10 Games That Should be Considered Art