I don't game. People that know me are fully aware of the disdain I have for video games and the constant BIGGER-HARDER-MORE-VIOLENT cacophony that is spat at me from the media at large regarding the latest releases. This was not always the case. I was once an avid gamer, during the golden age of the Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis to my American readers). I had previously been a devotee of endless arcade machines (From Moon Cresta and Donkey Kong up to Mortal Kombat 3 I believe), consoles (Atari 2600, Sega Master System, NES and Sega Mega Drive).
I never owned a SNES but did play on friends' machines), and games on computers (Spectrum 48k, Commodore 64, Amiga 1200). After those halcyon days, something changed. I think it was the ever increasing introduction of new consoles and so on, coupled with a shift away from games I'd loved for years that lead to me leaving games behind altogether. I couldn't keep up, and by the time I was 16, games consoles were locked away in cupboards, in favour of guitars, rock clubs and films.
Now, at 31, I find myself craving those classic games again, but not the new ones, despite their incredible visuals and their multi-faceted gameplay. And yes, I know games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were hugely violent, but they were cartoonish and silly, rather than the drugs-and-hookers realism of Grand Theft Auto and suchlike. I guess I may well be looking at the wrong titles for me as a consumer, but right now I'm not convinced there's anything in the gaming world out there to suit me.
I can't face pointless 'crime' games, I can't bring myself to be even remotely interested in RPGs, shooters, or pretty much anything else that is currently dominating the games scene. I just don't have the patience, the money or the inclination.
That said, I've noticed that I am buying tons of games from the iTunes app store to play on my iPod Touch while travelling (puzzles, platformers and a few arcade style things), and a craving to dig out my old Mega Drive and NES, but I can't work out whether this is due to an urge to play some games or a wave of nostalgia for 16 bit and 8 bit graphics and games that were just a bit of fun, rather than a way of life.
I miss ridiculous games like the old Sonic titles, Zero Wing, Shinobi, Earthworm Jim, Afterburner, Alien Storm, Golden Axe, Toejam and Earl, Streets of Rage, X-men and their ilk (or if we head further back to the Atari 2600, BERSERK and Pitfall). I think the closest I got to an intelligent game was Flashback! So my question is; Am I too far gone to find a games console I'd like? I'm not too fussed about which one- I have no allegiances left! I'm thinking maybe the PSP or the DS would quench the games thirst I feel on occasion nicely, at a considerably lower cost to my bank balance and my social life than a full console may cause.
Then again, maybe I am indeed too far gone, and the relics of my gaming days should just remain little more than fading memories of countless days during the early 1990s yelling at Sonic to DO WHAT HE IS SUPPOSED TO. Bloody controllers. Plus, if I started gaming again, I wouldn't get nearly as much actual writing done, not to mention other stuff like showers, seeing friends and eating things other than pizza. Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to find a Frogger emulator.