I remember when I was young back when trees used to be black and white........
Game graphics used to be basic at best, usually as they actually where written in basic and running on a tape machine, (YES YES I am old and crusty).
But the immersion I used to feel in those games was total, when people dream of what VR would be like if it was perfect thats how some of us old gamers actually saw it and immersed we couldn't help it, it just happened.
I remember the old Star Wars Vector game, when I got into that sit down cabinet I would slide that 10 pence piece into the slot and listen as it rattled through the cavity of the mystical machine PRAYING it wouldn't get stuck or come back out the reject slot.
KACHING thud BEEEEP as the coin hit the magic vault in the belly of the beast resting atop the other 10 Pence pieces still warm and sweaty from young excited palms of my nerd peers.
Taking a deep breath I hold the control yoke in my left hand and hit the start grasping as fast as I could on with both hands in case Luke left me behind at the rebel base with the Bothans who history had shown didn't fare to well when left alone.
The single line graphics in one colour come on the screen, "RED 5 Standing by" I say, someone snigger's but I don't hear it everyone else is signing off "Red 3, Red 2" here we all go.
Its intense I battle my way to the death star as asterisks shaped missiles come at me, It can only go up down left and right but not in my head.
I miss a missile, as I barrel roll the laser beam slices in-between the wings of my xwing scorching the paint work.
I am in the trench I fight my way down to the end, my palms are sweaty my trigger finger hurts.... "ITS THE SHAFT......" I did it I blew the death star someone snigger's as I yehaa I don't hear it though.
I breath out and come back to the room unaware as I have been, reality comes back the arcade probably smelled funny but to me it always smelled of wonder, they used to have a distinct smell of coins and cigarettes and teenagers who have been out playing a little too long.
To me though the arcade smell wasn't any of those things, the arcade smelled of wonder and freedom from everything for a short glorious moment until the money ran out and I would be reduced to a onlooker status.
It was never the same watching some guy play, hey it was cool but you grok what I mean right ?
All this occurs to me as I just finished playing Red Baron on Microsoft's game room which used the same engine, I just played for a long time and I was back in that place again the Bi-Plane was real as was the wind in my hair thats actually just the small fan on the PC desk.
It also occurred to me that in the last couple of years I have not played certain games more than a couple of hours I own as the "Graphics Are Awful" so what the heck is it then.
Obviously Im not that shallow ( I hope anyway) the story's are just as good...... wait on the older games the story wasn't included at all on most arcade games.
The story was mine my imagination, what did I see, who was the hero and why was he delivering newspapers on a bike in such an obviously deranged neighbourhood (paperboy arcade game).
So has our expectation of the story now spoilt us but in the degree that we don't expect, the story's are so amazing and involving... okay okay not all of the.
Is it that the story is so included now that we don't use our imagination when playing to the degree we fixate on the little things like some guys head looks terrible or the walls are all bumpy (no I am not those guys).
Maybe we have just been spoilt, but if thats so how come I just spent an hour playing retro games and had the time of my life yet the same guy - me - has put games on the shelf as they look terrible.
I still get that immersion, Bioware games are the worst for it I am so involved and invested in that character even when Its a replay and even when I know what happens at certain parts of the company's games I am actually emotional moved and feel myself tears welling up.
"WHAT THE HECK ANDY" its a pixel not the dog, But it shows the immersion is possible with story and kick ass graphics.
I actually shed a single tear at the end of Dragon Age for my female rogue who made a big sacrifice, time to hand in that man card I guess.
Man I miss that kid in the Star Wars booth, I wish I spent more time with him doing things like that and less time letting him sulk or do listen to records.
He did give me one gift though that kid, he gave me the gift to totally drop into a book I am reading like its a movie unaware I am reading until I close the final page and am suddenly aware "That didn't just happen".
Good for you Red 5