You ever notice people don’t spend a lot of time in a software store pining over a game they wish to buy or in deep thought over if a game they are about to purchase is going to be worth it or not? While it is true that with the internet, video trailers and tons of promotion that many gamers know exactly what they are going to get out of a game I have also found people are just more willing to go with what everyone else is getting and not as willing to search out that unique game that might not be a major franchise.
I remember heading down to the only store within fifty miles that sold Amiga and Atari ST games. I would spend hours reading the back of software boxes and staring at the one or two screen shots to decide if I would pick the game up or not.
I miss talking about hardware and software with the store owner who actually knew what he or she was talking about. Today, many store personnel only know the basics and if they know a drop more it is confined to the system or game that they play. Back in the day the store owner not only knew about every system and software sold they were also involved in the community and could connect you with other people.
Sure, sometimes when picking a title it was hit or miss. A well written description and a nice screenshot could be misleading, but for the most part after spending so much time making your decision you more often than not ended up with a game that you enjoyed. Today they want you to play a game and sell it back to the store (at a loss) within a week. Many do not want a wall of software boxes standing like trophies as a testament to their gaming superiority. People want an orange envelope and the next flavor of the month.
In the software stores of old you could actually make friends. People talked to one another about which system they owned and what software titles they were playing. You would debate which game was worth the purchase because you would not be back for a month or maybe more. Now you walk quietly into the store, pick up your preorder and quietly walk back out.
Don’t get me wrong, modern day technology and accessibility has done wonders for gaming and the ability to download demos and read real user reviews is a wonderful thing, but I miss the days when we were true software hunters. It is like searching for that perfect spot for a picnic and knowing you found a gem. It is about telling your friends about the awesome game you found and getting them into it. It is about seeing your friend load up a game and wondering what it is and where did he or she get it.
Perhaps I’m getting a little too nostalgic in my old age. I guess when you used to travel over fifty miles for a TI-500 cartridge you realize it was more than just a system and a game it was a true hobby that you cared about. Now you just log in and download or click and have it mailed to you, simple, easy, but is it better?
There are still titles out there today that don’t get a lot of press. They are not sequel number 238 in a series of remakes based on a remake. These games are made by programmers who don’t have dual 32 inch screens and a coffee bar in the office. (Not that there’s anything wrong with a coffee bar) You can still be a software hunter searching out those rare titles that give you a great experience and a box you are proud to display in your office, room or basement. The question is, are you up for the hunt?