People have different tastes when it comes to video games. I guess perhaps that’s as obvious as saying “people like different types of food.” But there are some who talk about games like Final Fantasy VII and Ocarina of Time as if they are the objective Best Games Ever, the apex of gaming achievement. I, not so much. But then I’m kind of a wet blanket.
For my money, the Golden Age was the early to mid 1990’s. Most of my all-time favorites are SNES games – Final Fantasy IV and VI, the Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario RPG, Soul Blazer, ActRaiser, the Lufia games, and the Breath of Fire games, to name some. PS1 had some amazing titles, too. FFTactics, Suikoden, and Lunar stand out to me, in particular. FFVII was good, yes. But unless it was your first Final Fantasy game, don’t tell me it was a superior work, please. I know better.
That’s not to say there haven’t been great games since the SNES gave way and Nintendo began its decline. On the contrary, these days there are too many good games! Not enough time to play them all! I wish my manhood were bigger!
This glut of quality games is for the most part attributable to the rise of indie developers. Back in the day it was the Developers’ world; indies were pretty much nonexistant. Development kits were not cheap, and there were no easy means for small, garage indies to finance, advertise, and distribute such works. These days with the likes of Kickstarter and Steam, all manner of strange and wondrous titles are given a chance at life. Some, perhaps, should not be, but it is for the community to decide what will succeed.
For my part, I’ve watched a number of games throughout their development. I’ve bought into a few early development projects, like Starbound and Retro Pixel Castles, and I watch greedily as they grow. I contributed to my first Kickstarter just this month, when I was overtaken by the excitement of Halycon 6. How could I contain myself when presented by an ode to Star Trek inspired by the likes of Star Control II and FTL? Be still, my heart.
But the blade cuts both ways; I’ve been hurt before. Remember Star Command? Such wasted potential. Such wasted money.
The future may be bleak for mankind, but at least the future of video games may be bright. Unless we’re all brought to heel by the Islamic fundamentalists, or the atheist fascists, or the post-solar flare road warriors, or the Russians. Then shit.