Screw beer pong, hand me that controller
Gamers are a diverse breed. From PC aficionados and console fanatics, to retro devotees and casual admirers, there is no one-size-fits-all model of videogame hobbyist. Though we possess many differences, like game preferences, level of devotion, and platform of choice, we can all unite under a common flag of shared interest. There is one event, however, that my family celebrates. A monthly tradition that I believe just about every gaming fan can appreciate. I call it Old School Day.
Gaming celebration with a personal twist
The trip down retro lane is a cherished monthly spectacle among my siblings and I. Every few weeks we put our adult lives on hold to relive the games from our youth. If there is any day that we truly unite as a family, it's while bonding over the classics. As painfully sappy as that sounds, videogames have always acted as a supernatural Band-Aid, mending all pissed off sentiments and sibling-based grudges.
With the next generation of consoles on the horizon, you may be hesitant to turn back the hands of time, to accept the glory of Old School Day. There's no way that earlier generations can compete from a graphical standpoint and not all of the oldies were auditory masterpieces, yet despite these technological inferiorities, the games that defined past generations exude a certain charm that often propels them into superior status. Reliving them for yourself is almost certain to conjure up sentiments such as, "Why don't they make games like this anymore?" rather than, "Yikes, I'll stick with the Xbox." Purchasing the titles through XBLA or PSN is technically a viable option, but summoning the warm feelings of familiarity is that much better in its authentic form.
Conker-based inadequacies aside, dusting off your Atari 2600, Dreamcast, or other old console is guaranteed to fulfill your sense of humor as well. Things that were badass in the 1980s or 1990s are often hilarious now. Turok 64 death screams are absolutely priceless, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater has musical accoutrements that will transport you into the late '90s punk scene, and Gex 64 makes in-game references to the X-Files, Poltergeist, and Full House. Who needs a time machine when a gateway to your childhood is right within reach? The essence of forgotten trends and declining fads aids in sweetening any excursion into the past of gaming through hands-on reminiscence and a healthy dose of gut-busting laughter.
Beyond the arenas of personal achievement, hilarity, and frustration, hopping on the symbolic DeLorean in the name of Old School Day allows us to respect the pioneers within the industry, those instances of brilliance that set in motion what we now take for granted as technological commodities. Videogames as a medium have come so very far.
What started as a hodgepodge of pixels and simplicity has evolved into visual, narrative-driven masterpieces easily on par with cinema. Gaming may have been an obscure hobby decades ago, but whether you adhere to the pastime personally or not, it is impossible to ignore its significance on an economic, cultural, and political scale. The current discussions about videogames and gun control are a testament to that.
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