My name is Jere, and at the time of writing I am 20 years old.
The very first game I ever played was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Since my parents wouldn't allow me to have a Super Nintendo, I had to play it at a friend's house. At the time, I was seven years old. The very next year, they broke down and allowed me to purchase a Nintendo 64. Two years later, I found a brand-new Playstation at somebody's garage sale (for the low, low price of $50). From 1995 to 2002, those werethe systems that I experienced gaming on.
Now, I didn't mention my current age to be vain; I did it so you could see that from the time I played A Link to the Past, to the time I got my Gamecube, I had gone from age 7 to age 14. These are, roughly, the years I would choose as the years I changed most as a person.
These days I hear alot of people talking trash about gaming. I'm not referring to your normal, everyday, Joe-Schmoe person-- I'm talking about gamers themselves. They say thatit's all about the graphics, that gameplay has taken a backseat, that they don't make 'em like they used to. That may or may not be true, but I'm here to throw something else into the mix-- nostalgia.
I'm a personal fan of the Nintendo 64 / Playstation era of gaming. I think the games made for those systems are the best games, period. I'd take GoldenEye 64 over Halo, Final Fantasy VII over Lost Odyssey, and Ocarina of Time over Twilight Princess any day. All of these games are acclaimed (or would be, Lost Odyssey is bashed because it does very little differently from older RPG's). So why don't I like them equally? Indeed, the logical person would wonder why the OPPOSITE isn't true, since the newer games have the benefit of better graphics. The answer: I played the older games during my maturing years.
Here's an analogy to help: if you want to make an impression in cement, you do it while the cement is still wet. Putting your hand-print in wet cement is simple. However, I dare someone to impress their hand-print in dry cement. It requires crazy strength or something very durable with which to strike the cement. To bring the point back to the formative mind, a developing child is much more easily impressed by something because they aren't yet set in their ways. However, an adult that has stopped maturing (around the age of 18 ) will have a much harder time accepting new ideas or imprinting things onto their brain.
The impressions made by games on the young, developing mind manifest themselves throughout that person's life, even after maturity has been reached. I still get the urge to pull out my Nintendo 64 and pop in Mario 64. Twisted Metal 2 is another one I love to go back to from time to time. Because these games have endeared themselves so well to me, I perceive this new gaming generation as "lacking," because none of these new games seem so "classic."
Hence, nostalgia does count quite a bit when you are trying to find new, great games. The games we played as we grew up will forever remain in our memories as the best of the best, regardless of how good any new releases can be. Gamers who harp on the current generation as being lacking will forever be misunderstood by the gamers who are still growing up and are forming bonds with these games, just as I did with my N64 games and PS games.