Here on United We Game, one of the things that often come up in our posts and comments has how wonderful it is to be a gamer these days. With nothing less than a plethora of games at our fingertips and means by which to play them, it’s hard to imagine going back to time when gaming wasn’t so prevalent. I know I wouldn’t want to, except…well…there is one thing I kind of miss. The gaming-only console. For a couple decades, from arcade machines to the rise of home consoles, we lived with devices that served one purpose and one purpose only: to play video games. They weren’t music players, they weren’t video players, they weren’t connected to an information superhighway; they were just video game consoles.
If you were to ask me anything about the non-gaming abilities of any current console, next gen or last gen, I’d sound as dumb as a rock. Um…they can stream movies, right? And I think you can…uh…look at pictures or the Internet…maybe? Uh…oh, and you can chat with people. That’s something, right? The fact is that I could truly care less about the non-gaming “entertainment” aspects of any new or recent console. Can it play games? Yes? Good. Show me how to start a game, give me a controller, and I’m good to go. But wait! Don’t I want to connect to the Internet? No. Don’t I want to be able to switch over to the TV in the middle of game. No! Don’t I want to be able use apps? No, no, NO! I just want to PLAY A GAME! Is that alright with everyone??!
Sorry, sorry. I realize that this make me sounds stodgy and old-school, and sure, I can hardly deny how much improvements in technology have affected my own life. But sometimes, just sometimes, all I want to do is play a game free from load times, installations, and achievements. Because once you get rid of all the fancy accoutrements and shiny exteriors of your PlayStations and Xboxes and Wiis, what really matters to any gamer when it comes to a console is if it can play games. And let’s be honest, the Ataris, Nintendos, and Segas did just that, and they did it very well.
But if you grew up with multiple consoles and only one (maybe two) household TVs, you know the terrible struggle of limited inputs. Having to unplug one console in order to play another. And then here comes your mom and she wants to watch a VHS…er…I mean, DVD (oh hush, I could have said Betamax), so now you’ve got to save your game (if you can save it) and get the video player hooked up. Oh! Such first world problems! Even with today’s fancy TVs with HDMI inputs, they only go so far. And there are so many devices that can be hooked up to them. Once you’ve got your gaming console, cable box, streaming player(s), and computer hooked up to the TV, there’s not much left for anything else. (And who in the heck wants to deal with component cables anymore. Sheesh.)
Alright, so I jest a little there, but I do understand the push for more all-in-one gaming/entertainment devices. And as gaming moves into the all-digital realm, I’m sure their reign will only become more solid. But y’know what? If, by some stretch of the imagination/purse strings, Sony and/or Microsoft would consider stripping away all the non-gaming software/hardware of their consoles and present simple gaming-only devices to the world, I’d be more than interested. Again, the simple plug-and-play aspects of older consoles is really what made them so very accessible in the first place. Nothing to install, no accounts to set up. Just insert a cartridge and off you go into the world of gaming. It’s probably the only aspect of home gaming that I miss from ye olden days.
So who, then, has two thumbs and is closely watching Steam Box news? This gal! Seems kike a nice step in the right direction for gamers who just want to game.
If there anything you miss about old gaming-only consoles? Do you still have an old working Atari, Sega, or NES that still holds a hallowed place in your gaming setup? Or have you met the PS4/Xbox One with open arms while waving goodbye to the gaming past?