Appreciation, it’s a funny thing, when you look back into the past you’re not always grateful for what’s happened, after all, there could be some traumatic events back there. But if you look, and you really pay attention, if you dig deep enough, you’ll be able to find things that may have seemed horrible or irritating at the time, but as you got older, they made you appreciate what you now have even more. As a gamer, I look fondly back on the 80s and the 90s because of the classic titles they brought to gaming, but the classic titles aren’t the only things I look on fondly, it’s the way those games were developed that really catch my eye.
Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Metal Gear, the list goes on, deliberately made games, fixed camera angles, the dreaded “tank controls” that we just love to hate in the modern day and a tight, scripted focus on game design. You couldn’t see anything the devs didn’t want you to see, couldn’t do anything the devs didn’t want you to do, couldn’t go anywhere the devs didn’t want you to go. We may have found that irritating at first, but looking back, those things just heightened the experiences we had as gamers.
Those tank controls we hated? Sure, they were restrictive in terms of movement, but that was the point, restricting your freedom of movement made you think about everything you were going to do and how you were going to do it, how long it’d take you to aim your weapon, how long to fire, how long it’d take you to circle around and run to a different room. Those limited controls made you reconsider whether or not engaging with the enemy was worth it, or whether or not you should back off and conserve your resources. The fixed camera angles restricted what you could see so tension was always heightened, you never knew what was around the next corner which let developers play with our expectations. We may not have appreciated the limitations put on us back then, but years later we can realize how beneficial those limits really were and what they added to the experience.

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