When I read the phrase: You have died of dysentery, in my mind I hear the Oregon Trail midi music signaling that the game is over and in my mind picture the MS Paint-worthy tombstone that reads “Chad Lies Here” in block text.
The phrase You spoony bard! brings to mind the various silly insults that Tellah shouts at the Bard (who we all by now know is just Edward in disguise) during their showdown in Final Fantasy IV. Another one that sends me right back to my early days of gaming is: Son of a submariner!
And when I hear someone say: "Finish him!" then I immediately feel that slight adrenaline rush that accompanies watching your foe die to electrocution, incineration, decapitation, or any other number of ways the victor celebrates a kill in Mortal Kombat.
Why Respect for Retro is Imperative to the Future of Gaming
So you’ve played Skyrim and beat Alduin, or maybe you’ve attained achievements such as the Winning Team or All Washed Up achievements in Assassin’s Creed 3, and you’re ready to play the next big game. Before you go off to try games like Elder Scrolls Online, Marvel Heroes, or even Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, here are some reasons why you should spend some time in old school retro games first.
- Great Storylines – Even Zork, which was one of the earliest adventure RPG games, has a great storyline. After all, it’s quite possibly the only place where you could be eaten by a grue! As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps that’s why each Iron Realms game has an accompanying art contest.
- Immersion – Remember coming in after school with the intention of playing games on your Super NES or Sega Genesis “for just a few minutes”? The next thing you knew, it was dinner time – or worse, time to shower and get into bed because you gamed right through dinner. There’s nothing like getting lost in a game when you need a break from “real life” and retro games, especially games that rely so much on user interaction, are perfect for this.
- Roleplay Value – How much does player interaction affect the outcome of the situation in a game? In retro games, once you get past the boxy graphics and silly puns, interaction could make or break a game. Take Pong for instance. You hit the ball and it bounced back, or you didn’t hit the ball and it sailed right past you, thus scoring a point for the other team. Even compared to boxy graphics in other games it just plain sucked. Now take for instance Zork. It starts off in front of a house. Do you go in the house? Walk up the forest path? No two decisions are guaranteed to give you the same results!
The Best Retro Games are Still Popular Today!
One of the first games I ever played was Achaea. No matter how many headshots take in Call of Duty, what feats of architecture I create in Minecraft, or how many coins I save up to spend in the Cartel Market in Star Wars the Old Republic, I always come back to Achaea. It’s not exactly a retro game, but I enjoy the familiarity.
If you want to be in control of your own adventures, sign into a MUD, like Achaea. It’s free to play, and because the credits are available for purchase via gold coin earned in the game, you never have to spend a penny of your real money.
You’ll find that playing MUDs helps you get back to the basics, and it reminds you of the awesome qualities that keep people logging back in over a period of several years or longer. And in addition to those classic qualities that have held up over time, you will find continually developing storylines along with new additions to the game, like the recently introduced cooking mini-skill.
While you probably won’t hear anyone say, “This is your fault. I’m going to kill you. And all of the cake is gone. You don’t even care, do you?”, what you will find is plenty of chefs willing to whip up a cake from any number of recipes. And features like SMELL and TASTE help you become even more fully immersed. Why not log in and experience the retro flavor of one of today’s most popular text muds now?
About the Author:
Chad Sterling has been gaming since 2007. Prior to discovering Iron Realms MUDs his adventures were limited to what he and his friends dreamed up with graph paper maps and a full set of dice. When he’s not taking classes at the local community college or playing online MUDs, Chad puts his navigation skills to use delivering pizzas all over town.