Hello and welcome back to WTFBBQ-this week we’re looking at old school vs. newschool, a balmier and less explosive topic, but still, one that can get some people looking for the fire exits.
Last week I mentioned oldschool versus newschool as part of the whole mess that often is hardcore versus casual. I admitted it’s not part of the argument, but like many nearby bystanders to a brawl, often gets pulled right in. What exactly is it and why does it matter to so many?
Well “oldschool” refers to either games or gamers, and largely refers to older stuff, or have been around for older stuff, ranging from actual games to the tech they were played on. It’s also a point of pride for some, which is kinda silly, because it’s like saying that because you waded through crap and happen to be older, you’re better than someone else. Think of it like a gamer version of elder worship, only directly related to how many years you’ve gamed, rather than your age overall.
“Newschool” is stuff that isn’t that. Depending on who you’re talking to, it can vary wildly on where stuff starts to get “new” and where stuff is still “old”. It’s not a term used much, probably because it isn’t the venerated status so much and people are afraid to claim it, which is also silly because newschool folks probably have a better perspective on what’s going on now in gaming because they’re not muddled by values and mores of decades past.
Now, I can see some readers might not understand that last bit, but let me put it here: I’ve played games and been a gamer since I was six and stepped on my first d4. I’ve played pong and learned to code basic on an Intellivision console with a disk drive and keyboard add on. I remember the scream of dial-up (and still get shudders remembering). So, when I’m looking at a game and trying to decide if it’s good or not, that all carries with me.
I do reviews, and I recommend things to friends, some of them are younger than I am, some of them haven’t been gaming as long, and I can miss the mark because of that. I often have to realign myself when doing a review and cut a lot of the gamer nonsense that I’ve picked up short. Why? Because If I don’t, nearly every game will be awesome.
Think about it, my points of reference are spawn camping for ten hours or more (sometimes in shifts of multiple days), with a very good chance someone will steal my spawn and I’ll have to start over again. Not knowing who had quests, wandering around in hostile territory, with bears clipping through walls when I was logged out and killing me. Over a month to get a level, only to lose it again with a death, along with all my gear and having to run back butt naked. These were NOT fun. They were frustrating and aggravating. The only thing that made it reasonable was the people I was around with.
I am firmly of the opinion, then, that anyone who longs for the “good old days” is lying. They’re faking their “old school”-which is stupid. Games are so much better now. You know where things are. You don’t spend a month grinding only to lose it all and start over. You don’t have a game that’s held together with spaghetti code and spit on servers that were glorified hamster wheels. You have so many choices now and aren’t stuck with less than a handful of terrible companies with terrible people telling off their customer base (well some still do that, but at least now you can walk out and go somewhere else).
So when I look at a game carrying all that on my back, I can’t fairly evaluate a game. Anything not that seems amazing, and my feedback and opinion becomes useless. Newer gamers don’t have to cut all that off. They know when something is good by today’s standards, and when it’s awful without having to mentally pack stuff away. They’ve got better reflexes because today’s games are faster, and often, tbh, they’re younger. They know what to expect and how to get around and have a lot easier time experimenting without being held back by prior experience. Hell, I still hate dying in an MMO. I can’t get past it because I spent my early online gaming years in games where that was not just bad, but set you back almost a year in progress if you weren’t careful. Newer gamers will just jump in and go where I’ll poke around for a bit before I even consider it. And yeah it takes me a bit to pick up on the new terms, but since I do hang out with younger gamers, that’s not as hard for me as if I only hung out with folks my own age or with my own experience.
Being new to gaming is great, it’s awesome. You’re fearless, you’re more up to date, you’re faster, and you’re not stuck in the past. You can adapt to new things and new ways, unlike me, who still refuses to use mods, even if they are better. You’ve got the patience to die over and over to get a raid down, whereas at three wipes, I’m so frustrated and ready to give up and that I often do.
If someone’s talking about oldschool and how great it is, they’re an idiot. Games now, and gamers now are better than we were. There should be no doubt about that, not ever. Being proud to be oldschool is like being proud you can code in Cobol. Sure it’s neat and might be useful, but it’s out of date, and really isn’t that pertinent to today’s tech. It’s just more stuff to clog your brain with.