To celebrate the 20th birthday of the Famicom (aka Family Computer),
a Video Game Exhibition was held in the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum
of Photography from December 4, 2003 to February 8, 2004. A book about
the event has been published and it is called "Family
Computer 1983-1994". What is interesting is that the text
is bilingual (Japanese and English) and the book should cover all
of the officially released games on the machine. It features many
interesting information such as the genesis of Nintendo's mascot character
Mario, or the origins of the Dragon Quest and the Final Fantasy sagas.
Also, the book includes a generous amount of interviews to top Industry
people such as Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima and Yuji Naka to name
While reading the interview to Hideo Kojima (the creator of Metal
Gear among other games), something he said felt almost like a punch
in the teeth
When asked if he could create something he would
be completely satisfied of, that's how he answers:
"I'm trying but there is a long way to go. What I like about
making games is that they don't survive. You can't play with old games,
as game machines are constantly changing. That means that people forget
about the games we make , which is good. The Japanese proverb that
says that you discard your shame when you travel, is what games are
to me. Games should only remain in people's minds and in the history."
What Kojima says is right, but to a point. There are so many games
released every year that it becomes really hard to keep up even with
games that are only 3 or 4 years old. This means that not many gamers
are willing to invest substantial time and money to dig into the past.
Also, technology deepens the rift between older games and newer ones.
There are multiple barriers to overcome if one wants to experience
older games. Luckily, not everything is as bleak as it sounds. For
one thing, gamers might want to uncover the origins of a particular
saga of which they played the latest chapter on the latest hardware.
Moreover, emulation provides another means to discover old classics,
with almost no hustle. Often, when gamers play a Rom on their PC and
they like the game, they will decide to purchase the original game.
This phenomenon might not happen on a regular basis but we must acknowledge
its existence! Finally, I do believe that games, old or new, can be
a work of art. Today, people are still able to appreciate and enjoy
B/W movies because of their intrinsic and artistic value. I think
the same thing can be applied to older games. In the end, my point
is that gamers should not forget about the past. On the contrary,
real "connoisseurs" shouldn't be afraid to look back. Some
rare treasures will make their trip a worthy detour.