In response to "Youth Eternal" from The Escapist Forum: I don't think it is youth in itself that we want when we look back at old games we used to play or even nostalgia. I think that what we want is that sense of wonder, magic and amazement that we experienced the first time we played the game in question.
I remember my first run in with Morrowind, the water was oh-so pretty (and it better had be on my brand new Geforce4 Ti4600 card, top of the line at the time), the guards were stern and despite its' rather swampy surroundings Seyda Neen promised great times as I chose to be a Redguard. I had no real understanding of the mechanics in Morrowind (higher numbers better, use skills to level them, easy as pie) nor did I know anything about Morrowind, Vvardenfell or what awaited me once I set off for Balmora to do the starter quest.
Now, several hundred hours of Morrowind later I've finished the game twice and powerlevled more characters than I care to think about. I know where to get the awesome gear fast, what to exploit to get rich fast and I've seen most (not all) locations on Vvardenfell.
Fallout 3, Civilization 4, Heavy Rain, Dragon Age... The list of games that has given me that sense of "wow, this is awesome" feeling can be made quite long. But it doesn't break down to youth, what it breaks down to is that I am looking for that same amazement over again. That feeling you get when you are just slowly starting to grasp the story or the mechanics and carve out your own small victories. The game seems so huge, so incredible and you are only seeing part of it! As you get further in, you realize that there are flaws, the game is short or you find a build/weapon/strategy that turns every fight into a breeze. You start seeing things in a new light and realize that they aren't as fantastically awesome as you thought at first.
It can be seen in all things we do, from buying a new car or moving to a new (and better!) apartment or even getting a pet. We are looking for that thrill of something new, something we don't understand and have to learn about. The car has a dodgy transmission, the hot water only lasts for five minutes and the dog needs to be walked every third hour or it starts chewing on your pillow. But oh boy, wasn't the puppy cute when you got it?
Excellent article. My first system was a Super Nintendo. I remember playing Killer Instinct over and over just trying to beat my highest personal combo record. I also remember that Wow! Effect I got from playing it at a young age. The sprite characters were fascinating and it was the designs were the most beautiful things I had ever seen on a screen. After leaving behind the SNES and getting my first PSone, I got the same feeling playing Final Fantasy VII. Everytime, I left something behind to move on to something bigger and better. Now, about 15 years later, I'm playing TESIV: Oblivion nonstop! I think it's one of the best Role-playing games I've ever played.
It's amazing how things are though. My younger siblings just don't get it. I'll sit down and play Final Fantasy VII or Killer Instinct again and they look at me like I'm crazy! They say stuff like "That guy has no fingers!" or "That's not even 3D". But what they don't realize is that once upon a time, those were the Oblivions and Final Fantasy XIII's of the time. Sadly, those exact feelings will stay stuck forever in their respective generations and will probably be long forgotten down the road. That is of course, if we don't share those experiences with our kids. I wouldn't dare let them become ancient history.
In response to "Mega Man: A Transmission from Another World" from The Escapist Forum: Interesting article. I guess now is the time when we're done figuring games out and we just have to use them well. Thinking of games as tools, relatively new tools, we're finished with learning the basics about them, and now we just have to use them and figure out better ways to use them and more convenient shapes and sizes and stuff. I don't know if I'm being clear here, but what I mean is that we know games well now, and we just have to refine them and figure out ways that work better. I still don't know if I'm being clear... I hope I am, I seem to have run out of vocabulary.
Also, if the article is about the difference between Mega Man and Mega Man 10 (which it is), why is the picture a picture of X?
As others have said, there was such a thrill in picking something up off the game rental shelf at the movie store and not having any idea what you were getting beyond what the box showed. I was an early Nintendo Power subscriber so I had something of a lifeline but the mag's focus on strategy guides and big name titles, not to mention the news lag of print media, left me totally blind more often than not.
I would certainly miss this always connected world of instant information that we have now if it ever went away, but there is something to be said for that info deprived mix of excitement and dread.