Quite a creature is able to keep up with every new game released. Playing brand-new games is a rarity for most. It takes money, time, and a very powerful attention span. Most players pick and choose games that relate directly to their interests. It’s difficult to play the latest Uncharted game when you’re deeply committed to stunning successes such as Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball  and HuniePop.  Finding that real gem game requires the ability to go back or step out of your comfort zone. This guide will give you the tools necessary to play games you might have missed over the decades and avoid the common pitfalls that many experience.

The Trilogy

That shiny new fourth game in a series comes out and you know you want to play it. The easy choice would be to ignore all reasonable thinking and simply jump into it without going back to play the original trilogy. You then abruptly awaken, covered in sweat. Yet another filthy casual nightmare. As you calm yourself, you breathe a sigh of relief.

Everyone knows you can’t just play the newest game without going back. If you did, you take in all of the great things done to fix the issues with the previous games and render those games unplayable. Simply watching Lets Plays is equally reprehensible behavior. You must, of course, earn the ability to play the fourth game by fighting your way to them yourself; this is no small feat. No one wants to play the original Uncharted. No one. It’s unseasoned chicken flavor of shooting mechanics lose their charm when they’re surrounded by violently awkward textures on environments made of construction paper.

The solution is to understand your struggle and commit to your goal. Once you have knocked out the first game, the other games will come easily. You will be invested and as you play that second game you will be able to say to yourself “At least this isn’t as awful as that first game.” It will only become easier from there. The answer to your problems is to put the first game on its easiest setting as you play.

The Polygonal Mess

You pick up a PS1 classic in your local game store and rush home. Swinging open the door to your room, you reach into your closet and bring down your PS2, the greatest console ever made. Wiping off the dust that has collected from years of neglect, you power it on. Loading the disk on to the tray and closing it, you prepare for a wild nostalgia-fueled adventure. That’s when it hits you. Everything looks terrible.

Visually upsetting games are an issue. It’s difficult to play a game when you’re stopping to bandage your hands due to cuts from its razor-sharp polygons. There are a handful of games that are fine art and have art styles that hold up to today’s standards but often times older games get uglier as they age. Ugly does not mean unplayable. The key to enjoying a hideous game is a sense of humor. Seeing two collections of polygons lifelessly waggle at each other is not sad, it’s comedic.

The Snail-Paced JRPG

“Final Fantasy IX was the best Final Fantasy game and I’ll prove it!” you exclaim, thrusting the jewel case in your friend’s face. It wasn’t just nostalgia that made the game feel magical and full of life. Everything holds up just fine and now that seventeen years have passed, you can finally enjoy its incredible replay value while you show its beauty to your friend. You load it up and, oh no. The screen is cluttered with the game’s odd desaturated art style. The characters are not immediately interesting. The main character is basically a furry. What do you do?

JRPGs are some of the most beautiful dense works available to be enjoyed. They aren’t there to dumb things down for you. They are there to get a point across (be it one that is passionate to the point of insanity.) Xenogears isn’t going to hold your hand; it’s more likely to shove your hand in a fire and ask if pain is just a social construct. This is why forcing your friends to play these long-form games against their will is so important. While the games will on their surface be rough and immediately seem dull, the complex and interesting messages embed in the stories are worthy of appreciation, no matter how much time has passed. They are no different from reading classic novels. If they were good in the past, they’re still good. The best way to play these games is simply to do it. You’ll be rewarded once you get used to how things look.

 

Old games will always exist and they should always be enjoyed. Don’t wait for a remake of your favorites and don’t miss out on playing games that are now much cheaper than they originally were. No matter how much the industry would imply otherwise by endlessly promoting the online multiplayer experience, missing out on a game isn’t a bad thing. The best games will survive time and everything else will fade away, so enjoy those stories and learn to appreciate another era of game.