Anyone interested in retro gaming, or anyone who gamed in a retro era may be familiar with some of the concepts below. Modern gaming is busy making it's own history and innovations, but what gaming relics have been left in the dust of the MMOs, DLC, FPSs, ARPGs and other futuristic acronyms that would make your original Moon Patrol player check into an asylum for sensory overload?
Here are some familiar ingredients that games of previous generations built their momentary empires upon. Some are good, some are bad, and some should never, ever come back... But the question is, which is which?
This is now a term delegated to the noisy, gaming arenas known as 'arcades'. There was a time though, where credits were a part of most games printed onto cartridges and disks alike. Like some Faustian bargain, losing your last life was not always the end of your existence – the key to your resurrection lie in the possession of an extra credit. This set of new lives comes at it's own cost though, for it is customary to lose your accumulated score, and start afresh from the ghastly, ominous figure of 0. A deal with the devil always has it's price...
The gateway to immortality.
Originally the only achievement available to players, the score figure was the only evidence available to prove your accomplishments. Typically indicated as a row of leading digits tucked away in a corner of the screen, the score has since gone the way of the floppy disk, the cartridge and text adventures. Sure, some games record endless player statistics and achievements, but the notion of a single, unquestionable score as a player's badge of honour is now archaic. It has also become a symbol of gaming in it's infancy, (but newsreaders and journalists are yet to catch up to the fact that you don't earn 'points' for shooting citizens in Grand Theft Auto!).
It's all there in black and white.
Hall of Fame
If only digitised gaming experiences existed outside of their local storage device, for at some point most gamers would be immortalised in the most revered and respected fashion possible: in a three-character name. Your local town square would feature a tall, wide and bronze-plated pillar, and chiselled for all time would be the three-characters of your choice – a representation of your personal greatness and community service. Alas, games these days may feature leader boards, but the transient and arbitrary nature of these boards lacks the real impact of the local arcade machine hall of fame – forever at the mercy of the power-outlet behind it.
TIM is 7 times better than SEP.
Though the idea of having a set number of lives does still live on in modern gaming, the ruthless rationing originally employed by game designers of old has never been more out of fashion. It used to be an institution of video-gaming that your experience and progression in the game be heavily limited by the amount of lives you have left, and that progress could only be made by either mastering the obstacles mounted before you, or by collecting 1ups or lives inside the game play itself through score or other magical means. 1ups take many forms, but the most popular seems to be that of a miniture of the game character itself...
In games, gambling gives life.