Videogames are an ever changing landscape, trends come and go whether good or bad. Sometimes, the changes are down to the technology that powers the game - other times, it’s just what happens to be flavour of the month. This article is a non-exhaustive list of six things that videogames have stopped doing.
There was a time, when all you had were 100 hit points, and that was it. You had to stumble your way to the next med-pack in order to have a fighting chance against the hordes around the next corner. Whilst there are still some games out there that make use of a depleting health system in which you go from 100 to dead pretty quick, they’re few and far between these days. Instead, we get to go limp behind a small rock capable of stopping ongoing machine gun fire and pep ourselves back to full health ready to take on a small army solo.
Lives and continues
Much like depleting health, it’s increasingly less likely that you’ll come across a game where lives and continues are implemented. However, there are still some games that will have this mechanic in place, but they tend to be indie games that are striving to emulate the games of yesteryear. Largely, lives and continues were the domain of the arcades, where the idea was to limit the number of chances you were given before you had to put more money in the machine to continue from where you left off. Unless you’re Billy Mitchell, of course.
Beating a level in a game and being given that magical code to return to this exact point in time meant that you didn’t need to leave your console on until the next time you could play - and without the fear that something may happen to it in the meantime, like a power cut - or worse - your parents turning it off so they can plug the vacuum in! Games slowly transitioned to having the ability to save your game in its own memory, so you no longer needed to fill the back of the game’s manual “notes” pages with your passwords.
Which leads into another thing that no longer happens. With the move to digital delivery of games, manuals have been given much less love. I yearn for the days of going out with my parents to a local shopping center with my saved pocket money, deliberating which game I’d play more of - buying it - and then, on the journey home, reading the manual front to back to front so I knew what I was in for. You’re lucky if you get a single slip of paper advertising the inevitable season pass... not that it matters as much, since I’m the one driving to the store these days.
The “Konami Code”, IDDQD, rosebud, ABBACAB... chances are throughout your gaming history, you’ll have used some of these to either make a game much easier - or to eek out some extra playability from the title. Being able to noclip through a level allowed inquisitive types see how a level was built, which was invaluable if you were a modder. God modes allowed you to faceroll through the entire game without taking damage, such that you could at least see the story behind the game. Even those cheats that weren’t real had people vying for their authenticity, such as the oft rumoured “Nude Raider” cheat. (Hint, try it in Tomb Raider 2, it’s a blast!)
Remember when the internet wasn’t so much of a thing? You used it to talk to a few friends on MSN or AOL and read your emails. You very rarely downloaded a game using it. If you wanted to expand your time in the universe of your favourite game, you’d have to hope that there was a standalone expansion pack coming for it. Usually, for around £20, you’d get content roughly equal in size to the base game, or a bit smaller, and be able to continue your journey of epic discovery. These days - that content is cut from the main game and sold to you as day one downloadable content, or worse - a pre-order bonus... expansions do still come along, but there’s now 10 of them costing a fiver each. You might as well wait for the GOTY edition a year from now that comes with it all bundled for cheaper than what it launched at.
There’s more out there that games have either stopped doing - or we very rarely see these days, what mechanics would you like to see make a comeback? What do you miss from games? What mechanics can stay at zero health for all eternity? Sound off in the comments below.