I’ve been watching the development of the OUYA console with some puzzlement. On the one hand it seems to be selling but on the other hand… why?

It seems like it’s going to ship with emulators for a few old consoles (N64 and back). Even then, well, have you tried going back to play games from that era?

Personally I find I can’t get past how old they are. I don’t mean the dreadful graphics in this case - I actually mean the game design decisions. Since the 1990s games have developed a great deal (for better or worse) and going back is rarely that pleasant.

The recent comparison for me is Tomb Raider. Those games looked fascinating back in the 1990s. I got a copy of Tomb Raider 2 for a birthday one year, I seem to recall. That was amazing!

Well, it would have been if the game design wasn’t, well, shit.

37065You know what I love managing? Health bars and medipacks!

Really?

Of course bloody not.

Regenerating health is a wonderful bit of modern game design. I know lots of people don’t care for it but for me it gets one bit of bother out of the way. I don’t constantly worry about how much health I can afford to lose in the upcoming section, backtracking for pickups. Ugh. Good riddance.

Much like many other modern innovations (well, modern-era concepts that have now become widely used even if they originated in some obscure Spectrum game) old games could have implemented “suck your thumb health” but didn’t.

So which console games from that era would I care enough about to buy a set-top box for…

Nope. There aren’t any.

There were lots of great games but I’ve played them. I played them back then, when they were at their peak. I don’t want to go back and play the clunky mess that is Goldeneye (by modern standards). The remake for the Wii was a lot of fun but the original does not hold up.

Mariokart? I played that as a child and at university.

I’d like to play remakes of lots of the games from then. Polished versions that take out lots of the tiresome crap that brought them down.

Let me make custom playlists for Mariokart cups or how about in game maps tracking collectables?

Similarly some SNES games are probably still good but the rest, well…

New doesn’t always mean better but “classic” shouldn’t mean “beyond scrutiny” either. They were amazing in their time but would they really be all that good these days?

I’d rather play the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time than the version I played on my N64. I think the latter only cost me £8 though so I don’t feel ripped off like I did with Mario 64. Ugh, what do people see in that game?

Anyway, tangent over, who is buying the OUYA? What’s the appeal?

handsOUYA1

My confusion shouldn’t be mistaken for negativity though. I hope it succeeds because I have no idea what it’ll do to the landscape of gaming. I’m enjoying it shift and change and as such would love to see it add to the increasingly interesting world of game development.

Perhaps one day I’ll have a game launched on that platform.

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