Gaming before the internet

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VideoGameCritic
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Gaming before the internet

Postby VideoGameCritic » April 11th, 2021, 6:19 pm

The other night I was playing games with my old friend Eric and I was looking up a cheat code to a game we were playing (Separation Anxiety for the SNES). He asked where I was looking and I said gamefaqs.com, which is my go-to.

He then told me about a time in the 90s when he had a new game but he was stuck. What did he do? He drove over to the video game store (Games N Gadgets at the mall), picked up the "players guide" book. He didn't buy it; he just searched for the part where he was stuck.

I found that fascinating but it occurred to me that you didn't have many options in the pre-internet days. How in the world did you even know what new games were coming out? I remember when I picked up Sports Talk Baseball for the Genesis I had never even heard of it.

Magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro were HUGE back then. I remember I usually had a stack of them in my room when I was living at home. The guys would come over and spend a lot of time just pouring over them. We would hang on ever word and screenshot.

So I guess the internet is good for some things!

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AtariToday
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby AtariToday » April 12th, 2021, 5:34 am

Gaming before the internet sure was interesting! Most game purchases were initially based off of box art alone and boy was that a hard lesson to learn when you spent months of your allowance and birthday money on a stinker. Past that I remember going to the local library and reading every copy of Nintendo Power. Renting new games (and movies) from the grocery store was a big part of the decision process and word of mouth was king. I distinctly remember asking for recommendations from the teenagers (the older generation! haha) working behind the counter as I was convinced they would know for sure what was good or not.

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ActRaiser
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby ActRaiser » April 12th, 2021, 7:54 am

Ha!

I called the Nintendo hotline for answers. They were awesome.

206-885-7529

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Retro STrife
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby Retro STrife » April 12th, 2021, 11:51 am

In terms of pure difficulty, thankfully we had the Game Genie. I can't imagine the NES years without it.

But getting stuck on what to do.. that was a different story. I remember having Lion King on the SNES as a kid.. gradually getting better and making it really far into the game.. and then getting stuck in like Level 8 not sure how to get past a certain area. I tried and tried for hours. What'd I do?? I gave up!! Nowadays I'd just watch a Youtube video after about 4 minutes of annoyance.

Fortunately, by the time I got serious about gaming in the PS1 era, the internet was really picking up steam. Once I discovered Cheat Code Central (cheatcc.com), I was off to the races looking up codes, printing them on our crappy home printer, and running back to the SNES and PS1 games to try them out. I think that was the biggest code site back then, before GameFAQs took off.

LuckyWDFN
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby LuckyWDFN » April 12th, 2021, 1:30 pm

I bought Ecco the Dolphin when it first came out for Sega Genesis. The game is frustrating after the first few easy stages, but without the internet you really didn't know how difficult a game was or how far along you actually were in the game - especially within the first few months of the release. Was I a level away from winning? Or 20 levels away? You really had no idea.

I made it pretty far w/out help but became frazzled beyond belief at Asterite Level. In desperation, I called my local Funcoland and asked if anyone there knew how to beat the level. One of the workers there "heard about the level" and told me what he knew. I think I beat that level but the game became too difficult for me and I tapped out shortly thereafter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7Q_MflOXXA

RELATED - the VGC Ecco review needs the extreme difficulty icon

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pacman000
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby pacman000 » April 12th, 2021, 1:38 pm

In an amazing twist Cheatcc is still online!

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ASalvaro
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby ASalvaro » April 12th, 2021, 7:17 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:The other night I was playing games with my old friend Eric and I was looking up a cheat code to a game we were playing (Separation Anxiety for the SNES). He asked where I was looking and I said gamefaqs.com, which is my go-to.

He then told me about a time in the 90s when he had a new game but he was stuck. What did he do? He drove over to the video game store (Games N Gadgets at the mall), picked up the "players guide" book. He didn't buy it; he just searched for the part where he was stuck.

I found that fascinating but it occurred to me that you didn't have many options in the pre-internet days. How in the world did you even know what new games were coming out? I remember when I picked up Sports Talk Baseball for the Genesis I had never even heard of it.

Magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro were HUGE back then. I remember I usually had a stack of them in my room when I was living at home. The guys would come over and spend a lot of time just pouring over them. We would hang on ever word and screenshot.

So I guess the internet is good for some things!

don't forget BBS's with message boards were around since the early 80s

Voor
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby Voor » April 12th, 2021, 7:45 pm

Retro STrife wrote:In terms of pure difficulty, thankfully we had the Game Genie. I can't imagine the NES years without it.

But getting stuck on what to do.. that was a different story. I remember having Lion King on the SNES as a kid.. gradually getting better and making it really far into the game.. and then getting stuck in like Level 8 not sure how to get past a certain area. I tried and tried for hours. What'd I do?? I gave up!! Nowadays I'd just watch a Youtube video after about 4 minutes of annoyance.

Fortunately, by the time I got serious about gaming in the PS1 era, the internet was really picking up steam. Once I discovered Cheat Code Central (cheatcc.com), I was off to the races looking up codes, printing them on our crappy home printer, and running back to the SNES and PS1 games to try them out. I think that was the biggest code site back then, before GameFAQs took off.


I never did the game genie thing, but your point about turning to YouTube after only a few minutes really resonates with me. I think it’s more a product of having limited time for gaming and wanting to make the most of it. But I still don’t like it.

Side note: I really miss gaming magazines. So much effort went into them, and it sucks that they’re just gone.

ThePixelatedGenocide
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » April 13th, 2021, 9:38 am

Sometimes, I don't miss the old days at all.

It felt like on disc DLC when I had to pay Sega's hotline way too much for the character unlock codes to Eternal Champions: Challenge From the Darkside. And many NES games had a guide tax- who could solve Simon's Quest on their own? (The only game where most of the villagers you talk to are either liars or poorly informed - who knew 8-bits could be this realistic?)

Other times...

Mostly what I miss from the old days is the mystery. Whenever you saw a new game, the chances were good you'd never heard of it before. You had no idea how it played. Or the limitations of the medium and the genre.

Half of the experience were the things you only imagined happening.

Voor wrote:Side note: I really miss gaming magazines. So much effort went into them, and it sucks that they’re just gone.


There's still gaming magazines being made. And because they're made by fans for fans, the best of them feel a lot like the good old days, before there was a lot of money tied up in promotion and reviews.
Last edited by ThePixelatedGenocide on April 13th, 2021, 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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C64_Critic
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Re: Gaming before the internet

Postby C64_Critic » April 13th, 2021, 11:32 am

ASalvaro wrote:don't forget BBS's with message boards were around since the early 80s


This, to a minor extent for me and my friends. Otherwise, we all just would be playing the same game and we'd trade any information we figured out with each other at school. There simply was no way to get a quick hint/cheat/info if you were stuck in a game back then, it was basically word of mouth or you remained stuck.


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