Moving by increments, it appears a small tragedy is taking place in the wide and wonderful world of gaming. I myself am gobsmacked it could happen at all, but in this new age of gaming, with the next generation of gamers, not everyone sees it that way, if they see it at all.
I'm talking about classic games of course, defining games that are worth coming back to and playing again and again. While perhaps they are not worth coming back to in the eyes of the technological whiz master, there are a large number of people out there that will grow a little taller as they tell you they love their retro games and continue to come back to them to this day.
So why the melodramatic title?
I believe these treasures are dying because of the critical failure among new consoles in their lack of backward compatibility. After reading around on the internet, checking various blogs and discussions, it seems clear that no effort has been made to cater to gamers that like to keep games (in order to come back to them again at a later date) because of nostalgia or some other reason.
The end result of this (and it might be a long time in the future, but it will happen,) is that eventually consoles will die, and eventually the games with them, as nothing will be around to support them.
Console games will be the ones to suffer. While PS3 had limited backwards compatibility, PS4 and even Xbox One will have none, as far as I've ascertained.
Either of two things can happen here. Either collectors will be forced to keep one of each of their favourite consoles, which could be a ridiculous task for some professional and/or hardcore gamers, or they'll be forced to sell up older titles as the old machines die/get damaged/no longer get supported by company repairers.
And it's a real tragedy if you think about how many games are out there that can't be played on a PC. Exclusive titles, games that play better with a controller than a keyboard and mouse... How many people still have a CRT TV for PS2 and previous consoles, knowing the quality of the picture on those games is virtually unplayable on the new big screen TVs?
If it's important enough, make yourself heard. Write in, email, be persistent! Let your favourite company know how much it means to you! Don't let the following conversation happen 100 years from now:
"I need something ... fantastic. Epic. That's the word I'm looking for. I want to be a legendary hero."
Jim just grinned. "I know just the thing." He scanned the shelves for a moment, then nipped a box off the rack and handed it to his mate Bilo.
"Final Fantasy, eh?" Bilo squinted. "Is it extra large or something?"
Jim chuckled. "Nah, man. XL is roman numerals. What is it... thirty I think."
Bilo just stared. "You can't be serious." His buddy slapped him on the back, still chuckling, watching Bilo's expression.
"I read up about it. Apparently it's been going for years, like a series or something, though each is unrelated. They're all stand-alone, mostly."
"But... where is the rest of them?!" He quickly read the blurb on the back cover, drinking in the high quality screenshots.
Jim waved a hand distractedly. "I think they've got twenty-eight and nine back there in the second-hand section, twenty-six wasn't all that great. Dunno about twenty-five." He rubbed his chin. "I wouldn't worry about the others, too out-dated. Older consoles." He drifted away, Bilo watching him chat up the hot temp behind the counter.
He sighed. "Yea, guess I won't be seeing those games... ever."
A little extreme, but it could happen. Backwards compatibility is important, and with the new consoles being more powerful than ever, surely it wouldn't be too far a stretch to include the ability. The other alternative will never happen - the re-release of all older games into updated graphics and resolutions.
New technology is here, and it's only going to keep getting better. The addition of backwards compatibility should be a requirement of new consoles - otherwise new release games should be a lot cheaper, because they're only valuable as long as the console is.