Christmas is upon us and for most families around the world, this means opening presents on the evening of the 24th or the morning of the 25th. Though opening presents (or unboxing, as the new generations call it) is a tradition that will never become extinct, the following is a list of things that modern gamers will never get to unwrap ever again.
Though attempts to enjoy gaming without controllers have been made, we must accept the fact that controllers will remain a part of gaming forever. What gamers today don’t get to deal with and ask for on Christmas, though, are controllers with wires. Every new console purchase includes a wireless controller. However, before wireless technology was invented and improved on, wires kept gamers tethered to their consoles. Gamers today won’t have arguments with their friends and neighbors pulling too much on the controller cords when getting upset. Another thing they get to avoid is having parents walk between the gamer and the console only to step on the controller cables and at best, unplugging your controller and at worst, bringing your console to the floor with a thudding crash. For better or worse, cables are now gone from controllers today, though still available for those who choose to game that way. Modern gamers, though, grew up in a wireless world. Therefore, a controller with wires will not make it to their Christmas wishlist this year.
The Playstation called them Memory Cards, the Xbox called them Memory Units, and the Nintendo 64 called them Memory Paks but no matter what they were called, they all served one purpose...to save your game files. Before consoles relied on hard drives to save your game and game files, these memory cards needed to be inserted into the console itself for you to be able to save the game. On Christmas day of 1995, maybe you were gifted the Playstation (a.k.a., the PS1 or original Playstation). You were excited to use CDs as a game instead of a cartridge for the first time. However, your parents (and maybe you, for that matter) didn’t know what a memory card was. You could have received a copy of Rayman or Ridge Racer and played all night only to find out that without a memory card, you couldn’t save your progress at all. Your two choices were to leave the system on all night and resume your game in the morning or turn it off and start from the beginning again. This Christmas, gamers probably don’t have a memory card as an item on the list for Santa Claus, for even the Nintendo Switch, a console that uses a micro SD memory card, has it’s own internal memory and makes it an unnecessary item to request immediately.
The Nintendo 64 (N64) was the birth of many gaming industry staples. Among them was lovely device called the Rumble Pak. A rumble pak would plug into the same slot of your memory pak. This prevented an N64 gamer from saving a game in lieu of feeling rumble feedback in their controller. However, playing Goldeneye with the Rumble Pak allowed for a new level of immersion that console gamers could previously experience only in arcades. As console controllers improved, the rumbling force feedback became an industry standard and was included inside every controller beginning with the Dualshock for the Playstation 1. Today, gamers’ Christmas wishlist won’t be asking for rumble paks because they aren’t needed any longer.
Not everyone asked for a strategy guide for Christmas, but those who did and got one were popular at school playgrounds. Having a book that told you all the hidden items and best ways of approaching a boss made you a guru amongst your peers who may have been less fortunate. The internet, though, has made these practically useless. Strategy guide are made available for free at many websites and YouTube has gamers who do visual walkthroughs guiding you every step of the game. Strategy guides today try to get you to buy them by including DLC codes for unique costumes for your game’s protagonist, but let’s be real; few gamers are asking for strategy guides this Christmas.
The Smell of Carton and Cartridges
Ahh, the good old unwrapping of a cardboard box holding a cartridge brings back nostalgic memories akin to those of smelling grandma’s cooking. This Christmas, however, gamers who asked for video games will get to unwrap boxes made of plastic cases and contain a disc. Additionally, this will only be the case if the modern gamer hasn’t fully embraced the digital purchasing of games, so plastic cases and blu ray discs may also go the way of the dodo. However, just before the Playstation released in 1995 (North America), all games came in carton boxes and the boxes held game cartridges. There was no worry about scratching the game or having it not work. At most, our worry was about dust particles that may have prevented the game from working which would cause the older gamers to blow on the cartridge or even use cotton swabs to clean the metallic parts of the cartridge (something we know today to be a big no-no). The Nintendo Switch has made cartridges a thing again in major consoles, but they now come in plastic cases and have to share sales with their digital counterpart. Unless we are speaking of Nintendo Switch owners, chances are low that this Christmas, gamers will be unwrapping a carton box with a game cartridge in it.
With some of these features gone forever from the gaming industry, like the rumble pack, come a slew of new nuances to deal with. Wireless controllers force us to buy batteries or battery packs. To save our games and even be able to play them, we must have large hard drives that get smaller and smaller with the more games we buy. Let me know in the comments below whether you think these changes have been for better or worse to the gaming industry and how you deal with the new nuances. As always #KeepitTRO (True, Respectful, Original).
Noe Monsivais (Trobadour_XP)
is an English Literature teacher at an early college campus by day. He is a YouTube content creator and is currently working on getting his Masters in Educational Technology and Leadership. His favorite thing about people is when they #KeepitTRO (True, Respectful, Original). You can follow him and his crazy antics at: