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Pixelated Roses

Sam Prescott | 18 Dec 2011 10:00
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E-waste is your fault, you know. You. With your pockets full of Angry Birds arcing and Doodles Jumping and your laptop so thin it could dissolve on your tongue.

Games weren't always displayed in follicle sharpening 1080p, but that doesn't mean they weren't any good.

It's my fault, too. Somewhere out there in the world is my old Game Boy Advance SP. I have no idea what happened to it, but I imagine it walking desolately along some forgotten highway with its thumb out. I saw the DS, and got buck fever. I just had to have it. You know what I mean. Then I saw the DS Lite and got even buckier fever. I snagged a DSi. I landed an XL. I threw myself from one iteration of that blockish, technologically-advanced castanet to the next. And it doesn't stop there. Oh, I still have my PS2. But you know what sits on top of it like a cooler kid holding it down to give it a purple nurple? My Xbox 360.

We're living in an age where the advancement of shiny new gadgets is relentless and uncompromising. As gamers, many of us have that urge to amass as many as possible, squirreling away vastly complex nuts for a distant winter. Consoles have an active lifespan of about five or six years (apart from the PS2 which is a complete outlier in this regard), then the next one comes along and we convince ourselves we need that, too. And when it's all said and done, it's not even the console itself that's responsible for satisfying the urge, is it? It's the games.

There's a name for this urge - FOMO. It means "Fear of Missing Out."

It's exceedingly easy to become ensnared by videogame FOMO these days: No matter how much you have, there's always more to get. You're addicted. You could seek help for it, maybe, but analyzing the collection of excuses you have for why E3 announcements make you feel all giggly and sweaty of palm doesn't get you any closer to a utopia where the whites of your eyes reflect back every neatly boxed and alphabetized game you could ever want to play.

But hang on: What would happen if we let up on all this a bit? What if we decided to concentrate not on where games are going, but where they've already been? What if we embraced the magic of the back catalog? Games weren't always displayed in follicle sharpening 1080p, but that doesn't mean they weren't any good.

This isn't some whackjob retro evangelism. There'll be no championing for a return to a simpler time or allusions to hurling rocks into looms. No demands that you buy an NES and tattoo 8-Bit Dude on your knuckles. The polite suggestion is simply this: Stop and smell the pixelated roses.

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