With this week’s heralded releases of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, it would seem that we can once again make the switch from calling the “next generation” of consoles to the “current generation.” Of course, I have no plans to suddenly ditch anything “last generation,” and neither do many of you, I’m sure. But, as we well know, the truth is that it probably won’t be too long before our PS4s and Xbox Ones go the way of our beloved PS3s and Xbox 360s – gone but not forgotten. And it’s with that sentiment in mind that I wanted to look back upon and pick out some of my favorite “last generation” memories. While I will always credit the PS3/Xbox 360 generation for changing my attitude towards the act of gaming, the PS4/Xbox One generation has distinctly changed how and whatI play. Take a gander here to see what I mean, and reminisce with me, why don’t you?
A NEW console, broken
It’s never that case that all memories are happy memories. And this first memory is definitely not a happy memory, but it is one that’s been firmly burned into my brain…and it’s one reason why we opted out of a Day-One XSX and/or PS5. The first “last gen” console we obtained was an Xbox One in early 2014. And, long story short, we had to send it back to Microsoft for repair less than three months after the purchase due to a known optical drive “grinding” issue. Yes, the Xbox One got off to a very rocky start in my house (you can read about the ordeals here and here), and our future with it looked very dim. Once we got the thing back, I pretty much ignored it until there came a time, as you’ll see next, when I simply couldn’t.
The first then-“next-gen” game I ever bought
They say you never forget your first, and that certainly holds fast here. With our Xbox One hassles long over, the first game I ever bought for a new machine of the last generation was Dragon Age: Inquisition on the Xbox One. And wow, was it ever glorious. And I mean that from the perspective of what I was playing back when the PS4/Xbox One released, in 2013…which, as far as I recall, at that point, was mostly stuff on the Wii! But I digress. After loving Dragon Age: Origins and not loving Dragon Age II (oh, how times have changed), I had mixed hopes for Dragon Age: Inquisition. Not surprisingly, the game and I got off to a rocky start, but we came to terms eventually. I’ve since bought and enjoyed the game through other means, but I’ve still held onto my original Xbox One copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition, even though I’ll likely never use it again. Nostalgia is indeed a powerful force.
Move over Xbox 360 controller, there’s a new controller in town
For nearly two entire console generations, you could not have convinced me that any controller was better than the Xbox 360 controller. Even as I sit here any imagine myself holding my own well-used and well-loved Xbox 360 controller, deteriorating analog sticks and all, I’m regaled with senses of comfort and ease. The thing just fit so perfectly in my hands that it felt unnoticeable as I was playing. All that changed when I got my own PlayStation 4 and started playing it regularly. That system’s DualShock controller, while not completely unfamiliar, as I had used one on occasion when my husband and I were sharing a PS4, left my Xbox 360 controller in the dust. Its responsiveness was unmatched; its weight and size were perfection. And I will never be able to go back to any controller with which I cannot easily take screenshots. (I’m lookin’ at you, original Xbox One controller.)
First-time adventures in online gaming
In the debate between single-player-only games and online multiplayer games, I was, for the longest time, camped firmly in the former. There was nothing one could say or do, no amount World of Warcraft-ing or Call of Duty-ing, to make me turn away from my single-player games. They were my bread and butter, my foundation, my one true gaming loves. While I don’t know if I’d call it a case of “better late than never,” all that changed in 2018 when, with much trepidation and whimsy, and a second PS4 in the house, I decided to join my husband in Neverwinter. Much to my surprise, I quickly became addicted to that game and played it solidly for several months. And as these things do, these adventures led me into finally obtaining and PS Plus subscription in order to enjoy more online nonsense in the likes of The Elder Scrolls Online, Grand Theft Auto Online, and Fallout 76. And you know what? I don’t regret a moment of any of it. (Except for…at times…Fallout 76.) I still love my single-player adventures, and I’m happy to be able to sprinkle in some occasionally online play for some extra seasoning.
What’s in a name, or a “generation”?
As I look back upon my time within the Xbox One/PS4 era, the one things that sticks out to me the most is that I spent most of that generation not playing its games. As I alluded, it really wasn’t until just a few years ago that I’d say I “officially” entered the current era of gaming. And as of then, the vast majority of my gaming has taken place on the PlayStation 4. But before then, I was utterly content in my own little world of games. The sheer fervor and frenzy of games and gamers during the last generation made me want to step away from “keeping up with the Joneses.” While I did play a smattering of new games here and there, from Dragon Age: Inquisition to The Last of Us to Uncharted, and played many older games that I never had before or had never finished, the likes of Metroid Prime, Pokémon LeafGreen, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and Chrono Trigger, just to name a few. If I hope to get anything out of the new generation of games, it’s looking forward to the new games I’ll happily add to my backlog, because no matter last-gen, current-gen, or next-gen, they’re all games to play and enjoy.
What are some of your favorite memories from the “last generation” of consoles?
Lede image taken by author during PS4 gameplay of Dragon Age: Inquisition (© Bioware)