Originally Sean Sands posted an article arguing that we are living in a golden age of gaming. Then Nintendoll posted her thoughts arguing against this statement, to which Mogg posted his response, which now leads to my thoughts on the issue.
During the "retro" days of gaming when NES was at it's prime I was there. I was also old enough to understand what was happening in the industry. If I look back and let nostalgia take hold I'll have nothing but warm and fuzzy memories of how awesome things were back then. The truth is that they were awesome, but it wasn't because games were better or the industry was creating an environment of greatness. It was because I was a young man with little to no real responsibility and video games were something exciting and new. I finally had the power to control what was on the television screen and it felt good.
We can skip all the talk about the classic games that fill our hearts with joy, every era of every form of media will have some gems in the pile of gravel. The truth is that it was a time of intense marketing and games filling the market whose advertisements were more entertaining than the games themselves. It's very much the same today except that now we are living in a unique situation where gaming has evolved into a culture instead of hobby of novelty.
What solidifies the idea that we are living in a golden age for me as a PC gamer isn't the amount of good titles that are released or features of new consoles. It's that I can spend around $50 for a good game and enjoy the experience of playing that game for years. I can do a simple internet search for "LAN Party" and find lists of times and places where I can go meet up with hundreds of other gamers and enjoy playing games together. I don't see how after all the talk of PAX and NARP's going on anyone can claim we are living in something other than THE golden age of gaming.
Remember when you first played Super Mario Bros. and you thought about how cool it would be if you could make levels for it? Well now, in this age, you can. Not only can you make levels for Super Mario Bros. but if you love Team Fortress 2 you can make levels for that which people will download and actually play. Hell, people are creating games by themselves out of their bedrooms and releasing them to the public for people to play.
Right now I'm sitting in an IRC chatroom talking about video games, while posting a blog about video games which will be read by other gamers, after which I will sign on to Steam to see what current sales there are on video games that I can dowload and play with the click of a button, and while playing those games I can speak through a microphone and actually speak to people playing the same game I am who live across the country.
This is the golden age. From here on out we need only sit back and smile waiting for the platinum age... I hope I'm alive long enough to see it.