Older gamer? Turn to the retro side!

oldmanretroAs I get older, the time I have for gaming changes. Thankfully, retro gaming suits those changes exceptionally well.
It’s been an odd week for me as a gamer, and especially a retro gamer.
I desperately want to have more time to put into specific retro games. There’s the absolutely lovely NES Classic Mini that arrived a week ago (and no, I’m not saying that to rub it in anyone’s face; I too suffered through many hours of fighting EB Games’ frankly inadequate ordering system trying to get one that way only to repeatedly fail), as well as a library I’m reorganising and, finding as I do, so many titles that I should revisit.
Plus, Oblivion just went BC on Xbox One. It scares me just a little that Oblivion can now be considered “retro”, but retro it is. That game is one seriously charming little time sink unto itself.
The issue is that all too often I’m either too busy, or sometimes too tired to put in hours of gaming as I did when I was younger. Often both scenarios at once, because there’s always something more worthwhile I should be doing, not to mention hundreds of other entertainment options. I’ve also heard good things about this “sleep” phenomenon that suggests I should get some at some point.
Getting back on point, the younger-with-time-but-no-games vs older-with-money-and-games-but-no-time dilemma is a classic. I used to absolutely rinse games I had when younger because I had a small selection and lots of time. Now I have many games, and not enough time or energy to play them.
Energy is the other factor that isn’t often discussed here. It’s not great, but I do have to face the reality that I’ve reached that age where my gaming prowess has peaked. I’m generally better than my kids at games, but only just, and usually because I’m more patient with approaches than they are. That balance won’t stay that way long.
Anyway, this week I’ve mostly been enjoying the NES Classic Mini. Did I need one? Not entirely; while it does have some games that weren’t already in my collection, few of those were absolute must-have titles, so I could have foregone one. But it’s been a rough year, and I was very lucky to be able to secure one.
No, I didn’t pay an eBay scalper for one, and I’d say that nobody should; I was alerted to the fact that Nintendo UK was selling them along with a NES bag through its online store for slightly less (after conversion) than the Australian RRP. Cost me a little in shipping fees via a helpful relative, but a nice thing to have. Anyhow, I digress…
One thing that’s leapt out at me this week playing through the NES Classic Mini’s library is how many of those games really suit the older, more time pressured gamer quite perfectly for reasons that go beyond mere nostalgia.

Not everything retro is golden, mind you.
That’s a function of their largely arcade roots, because there’s a variety of skills and genres on display, but what it’s meant is that I’ve been able to slowly make my way through Super Mario Bros 3 on a world by world basis, not stressing that I needed hours of play time.
Likewise, I could blast up a few aliens in Galaga or Gradius, or give myself a nice tricky platform challenge in Ghosts N Goblins. Admittedly, the NES version of Bubble Bobble isn’t a patch on the Sega Master System version, but it’s still Bubble Bobble. It’s like pizza, I find; even when it’s bad, it’s pretty good.

NES Bubble Bobble gets all sorts of things wrong, but it's still Bubble Bobble. You have to love it. Or at least, you do if you're anywhere near me.
NES Bubble Bobble gets all sorts of things wrong, but it’s still Bubble Bobble. You have to love it. Or at least, you do if you’re anywhere near me.

Meanwhile, Oblivion sits there, on my not-quite-pile-of-shame. I’ve played a little over the weekend, but it’s a daunting proposition because the amount of time I know I can put into it is limited, which means that I can’t pay it proper attention. Sometimes, in these regards, simpler is way better.
It’s the same for things like fast reflex titles with complex command structures. No, I’m nowhere near too “old” to get into more modern games, and I can entirely understand and enjoy the form. Still, the multi-hour runs of my youth are years behind me, and that means I’m much less inclined to, say, jump into the latest multiplayer shooter only to be blasted away by gamers with far more time than me and faster reflexes to boot. I don’t much care about losing as long as I’m having fun, but often that’s not fun.
Whereas the prospect of quickly and easily firing up a game for just ten minutes of play that was built around the idea that you might only play for ten minutes because that’s all your 20 piece, artfully leant against the arcade cabinet* would buy you, has a lot of appeal.
I can handle the challenge, I can handle the timing, and as an added bonus, I’m getting my own kids hooked on gaming’s rich history, not just its heavily-hyped future.
Retro recollections are just random musings on retro subjects, usually whatever I’m playing at the moment.

*20c pieces (or whatever the local currency was) on arcade machines were a thing, once upon a time. Ask your parents.

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