As weird as it may be to think about, video games have been around for a relatively short amount of time. The industry has changed drastically in that brief time frame, however. It’s evolved from the 8-bit systems of yesteryear to adapt more sophisticated polygonal art styles. The worlds we play in have expanded to become places more tangible and real. What we can do in these games is leaps and bounds more impressive than the restricted play areas of the 80’s. Titles are much more limitless in scope, and fans are all the more thankful for it. Gaming’s popularity today is the highest it’s ever been in history, after all.
Given the technical breakthroughs that the industry has experienced since its inception, there are lots of terms that newcomers to the medium have simply never come across before. A lot of the phrases found are non-existent in today’s gaming landscape. They should be remembered by players old and young though, if only to realize how far video games have truly come.
Classic Gaming Phrases – Cheat Codes
Many would argue today that games were a lot tougher back in the day. Whether or not this is true is a matter of opinion. Cheat codes may offer a convincing argument for the contrary, however. Though there were a lot of titles that gave players few lives, limited ammo, and more, many also offered cheats for an easier playthrough.
Essentially, cheat codes were a series of button commands that the player would input in order to trigger more resources or abilities. They were usually relegated to the title screen, though plenty of games gave fans the chance to enable cheats in the midst of a session. Perhaps the most famous cheat code of all was the Konami Code. It could be found across a wide variety of titles within the publisher’s roster. Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-Start was a command that users had easily memorized decades ago.
Classic Gaming Phrases – Tip Hotlines
Usually found within an accompanying pamphlet, video game tip hotlines were offered by publishers as a means of helping the player get through a particularly tough area in a title. Though the calls were fairly costly (a couple of dollars per minute), experts on the other end were readily available to guide fans wherever they may need assistance most. It’s a strange phenomenon to think about today, especially considering how no one uses their phone to actually call people anymore.
Classic Gaming Phrases – Continues
One could use the classic gaming phenomenon known as continues to support the argument that games were once more challenging than today. Adopting from their arcade forefathers, video games of the past gave users a limited set of lives. This was usually relegated to just three. Once the player ran out of lives, he or she may have been offered a continue screen. This typically would send the user back to the beginning of the level or stage. Once the player ran out of continues, however, he or she would have to venture back to the very beginning of the title.
In today’s world of unlimited lives and generous checkpoints, the concept surrounding continues may sound brutal. They were actually a blessing at times though, as many games were not as forgiving. A lot would just send the player back to the beginning after just one death. If the modern Dark Souls player really wants to give themselves a challenge, look for titles like Super Ghosts ‘n Goblins. There’s tons of “fun” to be had there.
Classic Gaming Phrases – Memory Cards
One of the joys of modern gaming is needing less equipment to pick up and play a game. The CDs of yesteryear couldn’t hold save data, meaning users had to purchase cards to hold their progress. On top of that, these cards weren’t very big. You could easily lose one in between your place and a friend’s house. What’s more is that only 15 games could typically be held on one card. If you wanted to save data for more games, you’d have to buy more cards.
The reliance on memory cards was meddlesome and stressful. What compounded the problem was when some games would take up more than one of the 15 blocks offered to players in the card. If you wanted to play Metal Gear Solid and had 14 blocks filled, you were out of luck. Thankfully, save data today is contained within the console or on a cloud server. Fans don’t have to worry as much as they used when it comes to the simple act of saving their games. It’s no wonder why video games have become more accessible.
Classic Gaming Phrases – Passwords
Perhaps a phenomenon more annoying than memory cards was passwords. At certain points within a game, the player would be offered the chance to jot down a series of letters and numbers. This sequence would later be used to allow the player access to wherever he or she left off at. The problem that arose here was the fact that some titles would only allocate a couple of seconds to scribble down the password. This code was oftentimes very long as well. If a user was to incorrectly write down just one character, they’d have to start the game from the beginning. The elimination of passwords from the industry was a blessing that should have came sooner, really.
What are some of your favorite classic phrases? Let us know in the comments below!