How Modern Games and Consoles Can Learn From NES

Anthony examines how modern consoles could improve if they took cues from NES.

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 04/21/2014 09:00 6 Comments     ShareThis

1. Plug and Play

Remember when you could just plug your NES into a television, put a game in it, and it would play that game? You may be thinking, “My current systems already do that,” but take a minute to think about how restricted your gaming has actually become.

We’re in an industry where games could carry always online DRM to prevent us from playing a single player mode if we don’t have Internet access or if servers are down. Hell, if gamers didn’t rebel, the Xbox One would be enforcing DRM on all of its games! Other games have online passes that require gamers to input a string of letters and numbers just to unlock a mode that is already included in the game, which also punishes those that purchase used games by making them buy these codes separately. A ton of games also have ridiculous update and installation times that happen quite frequently.

Admittedly, not many of these problems exist on Nintendo platforms, but restrictions still do exist. I remember getting my Wii U for the first time during Christmas and being really excited to try it out, but then being halted by a three hour firmware update. Then when the update was finally complete, I had to sit through ten minute updates for each individual game that I had.

What do I have to do to play an NES game? Well, I put the game in and play it. There’s no BS attached, making it a lot more convenient to use. While things like installations and updates are improving, as you can now play games during download times on certain systems, the accessibility and ease of playing on NES is still superior to me in every way.

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6 Responses to “How Modern Games and Consoles Can Learn From NES”

  • 102 points
    Hawthorn says...

    You’re rebooting the issue numbering? O_O Does that mean those pages that preview the content of the issue will return? And the unique editorials?

  • 1507 points
    penduin says...

    Hand-holding in games has certainly gotten out of control, but even at their worst, Navi and her successors do have one redeeming quality.

    My free time comes in completely unpredictable chunks. I might fire up a backlogged epic I’m halfway through and then … crap, what was I doing again? Looking for a cave south of some town? Or maybe it was east? Was I collecting something? Backtracking with a newfangled ability? As much as I hate little miss “Hey! Listen!”, sometimes I do need to have my memory jogged.

    Now, all the unskippable spell-everything-out-for-you crap, yeah, that has to die in a fire. But a chirp every now and then from which you can optionally be reminded “hey, weren’t you going to go see what became of so-and-so?”, that can actually be useful.

    • 180 points
      Anthony Vigna says...

      I totally agree. I would just like it to be a lot less in your face. Like for example, Star Fox Adventures lets you know what to do and where to go if you choose to communicate with Slippy and Peppy. I really like that. God knows how annoying a constantly interjecting Slippy would be :p

  • 1285 points
    Robert Marrujo says...

    Good piece, Anthony. For me, the Plug and Play aspect is the thing I miss most. I can appreciate all the things that today’s system can do that the old ones couldn’t, but man, it was nice to just hit power and start playing. I turn my consoles on to play games almost exclusively; the rest is just noise.

  • 1379 points
    xeacons says...

    I remember telling my wife, “Remember when you could just pop in a game and play it?” Now we have to sit through ten minutes of installation with every disc. Luckily, the 3DS seems to be following this your code, and it’s success is proof.

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